Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims Announces Run For Lt. Governor

Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims
Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (image via Instagram)

After spending nearly 10 years in the Pennsylvania state House, openly gay Rep. Brian Sims has announced he is running to be the Keystone State’s next lieutenant governor.

The woofy Democrat made history in 2012 when he became the first openly gay man elected the Pennsylvania legislature. Now he’s looking to take his experience and move on up to statewide office.

Citing the values instilled in him by his military officer parents – taking responsibility, show empathy, have courage, and being authentic – Sims says he “wants to put those values to the direct service of the Commonwealth.”

“I have a lot of hope when I look at the people across the country that decided over these last number of years that they’d had enough,” says the 42-year-old lawmaker in his announcement video. “That they looked at a lack of leadership and thought that they could do better and oftentimes they’re right.”

”I want to be your next Lieutenant Governor,” says Sims directly to voters in his announcement. “We need adults in the room and I want to bring bold innovative leadership based on lived experiences and shared values to the Commonwealth.”

During his time in office, Sims has not been shy to call out folks for what he sees as stepping astray of their elected responsibilities.

Whether raising his voice for equality for women, LGBTQ rights and protections or personal accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sims isn’t one to stay quiet.

Last year Sims gave a fiery speech calling out his Republican colleagues in the state House after it was discovered a GOP lawmaker had tested positive for COVID-19 but kept on attending meetings.

Prior to public service, Sims was a star athlete who, as an openly gay captain for the Bloomberg University football team, led his teammates to a Division II National Championship game in 2000.

After college he worked as the executive director of Equality Pennsylvania and served as a member of the Victory Campaign Board.

Pennsylvania’s current Lt. Governor, John Fetterman, recently declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. He’s looking to fill the  seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey (R) who announced last fall he would not seek reelection in 2022.

For more about Brian Sims, visit his official campaign site here.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims

Penn Lt. Gov. Won’t Back Down From Displaying Pride Flag

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D)
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D)
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (photo: Flickr/GovTomWolfCC License)

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is currently embroiled in a battle for free speech after he displayed the rainbow Pride flag and the pro-legalization green leaf flag from the balcony of his Capitol office.

Fetterman, an LGBTQ ally, hangs the flags to encourage support for an amendment to the state’s constitution that would outlaw LGBTQ discrimination and for the legalization of marijuana.

According to NBC News, during negotiations for an omnibus spending bill late last year, Republicans (who control the legislature) quietly added a provision that bans ‘unauthorized’ flags on Capitol grounds.

Once Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed the bill into law, state employees removed Fetterman’s flags, folded them, and left them in his office.

The 6-foot-8 Democrat promptly put the flags back on display.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman with his flags
(image via Twitter/JohnFetterman)

He told NBC News “he’ll continue to do so if they’re taken down again until the state legalizes marijuana and outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“It’s unbelievable that they actually passed a law to bar me from [flying his flags], so if they want to send the antigay flag police to take them down, then go ahead,” he told The Advocate.

“They came earlier this year and took them down, and I put them right back up,” he added. “Now this week, they took them down again, and when I’m back in Harrisburg on Monday, I’m going to hang them back up.”

On Twitter, Fetterman shaded the Republican lawmakers writing, “The same party that collectively shrugged at its members being photographed at the January 6th Capitol Hill riot, really really has a issues with my weed and Rainbow flag flags but ok.”

A spokesperson for State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff told NBC News Republicans are just making an effort “to create some uniformity and decorum for what’s outside the Capitol.”

But Fetterman says the clause was a direct swipe and him and his flags.

“It’s flattering to be living rent free in their head like this,” he added.

For the record, the effort to expand the state’s anti-discrimination laws to include LGBTQ people failed this week by a vote of 90-112. Fetterman didn’t hesitate to call out the lawmakers who voted against the bill.

After graduating from Harvard University with a master’s degree in public policy, he ran for mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005 and won by a single vote. He would end up serving four terms as mayor of the Western Pennsylvania town.

He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016 but lost in the primary. The Democrat in that race would ultimately lose in the general election. Fetterman was elected Lt. Governor in 2019.

Now, several sources say he is now considering another run for the Senate in 2022 as Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has announced his retirement.

Wisconsin & Pennsylvania To Team Trump: ‘No’ And ‘No’

Donald Trump speaking to Axios (screen capture)

First, the Wisconsin Supreme Court threw out Donald Trump’s election lawsuit today. The response comes just two days after the Donald asked the high court to toss the certification of a contest he lost by nearly 21,000 votes.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “In the 4-3 decision, the justices said they would not accept the case he filed directly with them. The president can try to pursue the matter in a lower court, but Thursday’s ruling is a setback that shows he is near the end of the road with his legal challenges in Wisconsin.”

And then, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Congressman Mike Kelly’s request to declare universal mail-in voting unconstitutional in the state.

Kelly and other GOP plaintiffs were asking the high court to either invalidate 2.5 million mail-in votes or to completely erase the 2020 results in the Keystone State and order the GOP-controlled legislature to pick the presidential electors who will vote in the Electoral College.

Kelly and company got a one sentence response.


PA Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Another Trump Election Challenge

Donald Trump (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse – public domain)

Another loss for Team Trump as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed an election challenge led by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, who attempted to argue that universal mail-in voting violated the state constitution.

From NBC News:

Kelly, along with several other Pennsylvania Republicans, sought to invalidate millions of mail-in votes, which could have ceded a key state won by President-Elect Joe Biden to President Donald Trump.

The ruling said, “Petitioners sought to invalidate the ballots of the millions of Pennsylvania voters who utilized the mail-in voting procedures. … Alternatively, Petitioners advocated the extraordinary proposition that the court disenfranchise all 6.9 million Pennsylvanians who voted in the General Election and instead ‘direct the General Assembly to choose Pennsylvania’s electors.'”

The high court ruled no on all counts and said, “All other outstanding motions are dismissed as moot.” It said the claim could have resulted in the “disenfranchisement” of millions of voters.

The court also criticized Kelly and company for filing their lawsuit more than a year after the law establishing universal mail-in voting was passed by the state legislature.

Today’s ruling wipes out a lower court order that had blocked officials from certifying the Keystone State’s election results.

More than 26  election challenges filed by Team Trump have now been dismissed by courts in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

So. Much. Winning.

Trump Loses PA Challenge In 3rd Circuit Court Of Appeals

Donald Trump
Donald Trump on 60 Minutes (screen capture)

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed last weekend’s ruling dismissing the lawsuit brought by Team Trump in Pennsylvania that was argued by Rudy Giuliani.

Pennsylvania has already certified its election results which show President-elect Joe Biden won the Keystone State by 81,660 votes.

And Trump can’t blame the judge in this new ruling – it was one of his own nominees. The all-GOP panel agreed the case had ‘no merit.’

From the New York Times:

The 21-page ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals was a complete repudiation of Mr. Trump’s effort to halt Pennsylvania’s certification process and a full-throated affirmation of a decision last Saturday by Judge Matthew W. Brann of Federal District Court in Williamsport, Penn., who dealt the Trump campaign its initial defeat in the case.

“Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy,” Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote on behalf of the appeals court. “Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

Trump’s lawyers have already announced they plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court where Trump believes his 3 handpicked justices would give him a win.

BUT – most legal eagles doubt the high court would be willing to take up a case where the evidence is lacking and ultimately won’t change the outcome of the race. Even if SCOTUS were to take the case and rule in Trump’s favor, Biden would still have 286 votes in the Electoral College – far more than the required 270 to win the White House.

Rudy Giuliani Claims Trump ‘May Have Actually Won Virginia’

Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, told Republican lawmakers at a meeting in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that – in addition to believing Donald Trump won the Keystone State (he didn’t) – Trump “may have actually won Virginia” as well.

Trump lost Virginia to Joe Biden by a margin of 451,138 votes. If Team Trump had come within 1 percent of winning in Virginia, don’t you think those results would have been bandied about and challenged publicly these last few weeks???

At the end of the day, Rudy and his team did not present ANY actual evidence of vote tampering or voter fraud.

But keep talking Rudy…

Bloomberg reporter Josh Wingrove followed the event on Twitter here.

Trump Loses Pennsylvania Election Lawsuit (Again)

Donald Trump (via Axios – screen capture)

A federal judge has thrown out the Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania hoping to stop the certification of ballots there likening Team Trump’s arguments to Frankenstein’s monster, saying it appeared “haphazardly stitched together.”

From the New York Times:

A federal judge in Pennsylvania dismissed on Saturday night a lawsuit by the Trump campaign that had claimed there were widespread improprieties with mail-in ballots in the state, ending the last major effort to delay the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote results, which is scheduled to take place Monday.

In a scathing order, Judge Matthew W. Brann wrote that Mr. Trump’s campaign, which had asked him to effectively disenfranchise nearly seven million voters, should have come to court “armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption” in its efforts to essentially nullify the results of Pennsylvania’s election.

But instead, Judge Brann complained, the Trump campaign provided only “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations” that were “unsupported by evidence.”

GOP Leaders In Key States Decline To Intervene In Selection Of Electoral College

Donald Trump (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse – public domain)

One of the Trump campaign’s big ‘hail Mary’ moves is to try and flip the results of the presidential election by encouraging Republican-controlled state legislatures to disenfranchise voters in their states by picking members of the Electoral College that would vote for Trump instead of the Joe Biden for their state.

But GOP leaders in key states flipped by Joe Biden in this election cycle have told the Associated Press they have no plans to subvert state laws.

State GOP lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have all said they would not intervene in the selection of electors, who ultimately cast the votes that secure a candidate’s victory. Such a move would violate state law and a vote of the people, several noted.

“I do not see, short of finding some type of fraud — which I haven’t heard of anything — I don’t see us in any serious way addressing a change in electors,” said Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s Republican House speaker, who says he’s been inundated with emails pleading for the legislature to intervene. “They are mandated by statute to choose according to the vote of the people.”

The idea loosely involves GOP-controlled legislatures dismissing Biden’s popular vote wins in their states and opting to select Trump electors.

Team Trump was probably hoping that such ploys would become entangled in legal rabble-rousing that would end up at the Supreme Court where the Donald’s handpicked conservative justices might hand him a win.

In related news, the Washington Post reports “two prominent law firms have sought to withdraw from representing the Trump legal effort in Arizona and Pennsylvania.”

Postal Worker Admits He Lied About Mail-In Ballot Tampering

(stock image of a mail-in ballot)

A postal worker in Pennsylvania who claimed that a postmaster in Erie told post office employees to backdate ballots received after Election Day has reportedly admitted he lied.

His claims have been spread by high ranking Republicans as evidence of “widespread voter fraud.” This was supposed to be the Republicans big “gotcha.”

From the Washington Post:

A Pennsylvania postal worker whose claims have been cited by top Republicans as potential evidence of widespread voting irregularities admitted to U.S. Postal Service investigators that he fabricated the allegations, according to three officials briefed on the investigation and a statement from a House congressional committee.

Richard Hopkins’s claim that a postmaster in Erie, Pa., instructed postal workers to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day was cited by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) in a letter to the Justice Department calling for a federal investigation.

Attorney General William P. Barr subsequently authorized federal prosecutors to open probes into credible allegations of voting irregularities and fraud, a reversal of long-standing Justice Department policy.

But on Monday, Hopkins, 32, told investigators from the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General that the allegations were not true, and he signed an affidavit recanting his claims, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation.

The original allegations were reported last week by Project Veritas, an organization that has been caught spinning fiction into made-up ‘facts’ trying to demonize the mainstream media.

After being hailed as a hero among Trump supporters, a GoFundMe campaign was launched that raised over $135K for Hopkins – until the campaign was yanked down today in light of his reversal.

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee tweeted the revelations late Tuesday.