DR. VALERIE ARKOOSH , the least-known of the four Democrats seeking the city/suburban 13th District Congressional seat in the May 20 Democratic primary election, is preparing to air campaign commercials and is already getting help from medical colleagues.
A political-action committee for the American Society of Anesthesiologists reported spending $210,390 last week to air radio ads for Arkoosh.
The ads seek to capitalize on Arkoosh's status as the only nonpolitician in the race. She faces former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies, state Sen. Daylin Leach and state Rep. Brendan Boyle in the primary.
The radio ads make repeated references to "career politicians" looking out for lobbyists, "fat cat donors" and other special interest groups.
That stood out to us because the ASA makes plenty of political contributions to many multi-term members of the Congress, a/k/a career politicians. And the group is a registered lobbyist with the U.S. House.
Asked about that, Dr. Jeff Mueller, chairman of the ASA's political-action committee, released a statement yesterday saying the group sees candidates like Arkoosh as an "underrepresented and much needed voice in Congress."
Arkoosh on Tuesday filed a campaign finance report for the first quarter of 2014 that showed her leading the pack in cash on hand as of March 31, with $687,530. She's already used about 60 percent of that to book television commercial time in the closing week of the primary.
Leach has $654,202 in the bank while Boyle has $398,237.
Margolies, who held the 13th District seat for one term from 1993 to 1995, trailed in cash on hand at $159,789, after spending more than she took in - mostly on campaign consultants - during the first three months of 2014.
A closer look at the Margolies report shows she had only about $2,800 in the bank reserved for the primary. The other $157,000 in her campaign account is reserved for the general election.
Ken Smukler, a Margolies consultant, said last week's fundraising visit by former President Bill Clinton boosted her coffers to more than $200,000. Most of that new money was reserved for the primary, he added.
Clinton's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, announced yesterday that she is pregnant. She is married to Margolies' son, Marc Mezvinsky.
The state Commonwealth Court on Tuesday overturned a Philly judge's ruling last month to dismiss primary ballot challenges for 27 Democratic committee candidates in South Philly's 36th Ward.
That means the battle rages on between 30-year-old real-estate developer Ori Feibush and the ward leader, 83-year-old former City Council President Anna Verna.
Feibush, who fielded 120 candidates for committee posts in the 36th and two other South Philly wards, challenged the nomination petitions last month for 37 committee candidates aligned with Verna.
The Commonwealth Court ruled that the local judge wrongly rejected Feibush's challenge to 27 ward committee candidates for technical reasons, but properly dismissed the challenges to 10 more because they were not served with notice of hearings about the challenges.
The three wards are at the heart of the 2nd Council District. Feibush is challenging Councilman Kenyatta Johnson for that seat next year.
A Common Pleas judge is expected to reconsider the ballot challenges to the 27 candidates on Monday.
Feibush plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court the decision to allow 10 of Verna's committee people to remain on the ballot. He says they were not served because they don't live at the addresses they listed on their nomination petitions.
"I can't stress enough that, if I was the Democratic Party, I'd be embarrassed right now," Feibush said of the sloppiness he discovered in the petition process.
Verna seems more amused than embarrassed.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to laugh," she chuckled when we told her of Feibush's plan to appeal. "This is really unbelievable."
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Richard Tamaccio, a/k/a Nikki Allen Poe, to not associate with members of The Panic Hour, a marijuana-legalization group that holds Smokedown Prohibition events at the Independence National Historic Park.
Tamaccio, a pro-pot activist on federal probation since December for an incident at a Smokedown event in May, is the Libertarian candidate in the May 20 special election for an at-large City Council seat. He is running under the stage name "Poe," which he uses for activism and comedy.
The judge told Tamaccio, who tested positive while on probation for marijuana, cocaine and Percocet, that he can't promote The Panic Hour, Smokedown events or illegal conduct on any social-media platforms.
Tamaccio's attorney, Brian Collins, said the order does not prohibit the candidate from campaigning for the legalization of marijuana.
"The judge is trying to be sensitive to the fact that he is a candidate and is promoting a legal reform platform," Collins said.
Tamaccio told us via email: "I can't wait till probation is over so I can staff my City Council office with Panic Hour employees."
On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN