Running as a Democrat for the GOP-dominated state Senate is hard enough, let alone when an incumbent Democratic senator appears to threaten to derail your campaign.
That's where Katie Muth found herself recently.
Muth is looking to unseat Republican Sen. John Rafferty in the Philadelphia suburbs. Her unexpected nemesis: Sen. Daylin Leach.
Their dust-up centers on an event last month at which Muth and Leach were to speak. Muth, a self-proclaimed feminist and rape survivor, preferred to not share the stage with Leach.
So Muth's campaign contacted the organizers of the event — a high school Democratic organization to which Leach's teenage daughter belongs — and told them exactly why she didn't want to appear with the senator. He was dropped.
Shortly thereafter, Leach fired off an angry email to Joe Foster, chairman of Montgomery County's Democratic Party. He called Muth "a dreadful person" and "a toxic hand grenade."
Leach told Foster in the Aug. 25 email that he had held up his "end of the bargain" and played nice. He hadn't said anything negative about Muth to donors or voters, he wrote.
Leach also claimed that Muth soon would be "irrelevant to our lives," while he would be a senator fighting for progressive issues "for many years to come."
"Our 'truce' is over," Leach proclaimed. "I will do all I can to make sure people know."
In an email sent by a campaign aide, Leach said he was upset because his daughter was upset. And he was conciliatory, explaining that he "desperately" wants Democrats to win the Senate majority and has "offered Ms. Muth support and assistance."
Muth — who said she didn't know that Leach's daughter was involved — is disappointed.
"I think it signifies a complete disrespect," she said of Leach's letter. "What is so upsetting is that someone could be so selfish and destructive as to think that harming me was the only option — that compromising my chances to succeed was somehow acceptable."
Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams hasn't faced a serious challenger since he first won election in 2011.
With sexual harassment allegations hanging over the Democrat's head, that might change.
Clout has learned that at least three Democrats are thinking about running for sheriff in the 2019 primary.
Rochelle Bilal, president of the Guardian Civic League, said that Williams shouldn't run and that she would "elevate" the office "to a different level." Dan Stevenson, a SugarHouse Casino exec whose brother is a business representative for the Electricians union, announced on Facebook that he has "begun the process of forming an exploratory committee."
Interesting. For one thing, the Electricians supported Williams before #MeToo issues surfaced. For another, so did the Guardian Civic League.
Retired cop Nick DiDonato is also pondering. He said that Williams "has disrespected the office."
Are the moves by Bilal and Stevenson a sign that Williams is losing allies? Or do they know something we don't — namely, that Williams isn't running?
We asked a spokeswoman for Williams. She said that she passed the inquiry "directly on to the sheriff." Sounds like an answer.
But Maurice Floyd, a political consultant who's known Williams for decades, insisted that "he's definitely running." He added that Williams, a ward leader and former state representative, is "going to be tough to beat" because he "has a lot of ties."
SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel is known for his ironic persona on Twitter. But has he gone too far?
During the Made in America festival last weekend, Nestel tweeted about performer Tekashi69, a/k/a 6ix9ine.
"Mr. Tekashi is delivering his melodious and inspirational messages of love and harmony to the waiting masses. Sing it, Sir!" he wrote. Nestel also said that 6ix9ine's song "Kooda" is "my jam."
The subtext, it seemed: Nestel was making fun of his dorkiness and doesn't actually like the 22-year-old rapper.
Nestel failed to mention something about 6ix9ine that isn't funny at all: In 2015, the artist pleaded guilty to "use of a child in a sexual performance."
There's a meta-irony here, given that Nestel has taken heat for going after turnstile jumpers on social media. And here he was making light of a sex offender.
Did Nestel know that record before he joked about 6ix9ine? He didn't respond to our question. He called his tweets "totally tongue in cheek."