Now playing: drama in the Pa. Senate
The GOP-controlled state Senate votes tomorrow on a leadership slate and a York County pol who is not Tom Wolf could play a role in the outcome.
THERE'S a successful York County businessman recently elected to public office looking to shake things up in Harrisburg - and it's not Gov.-elect Tom Wolf.
It's Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner, an outspoken, farm-raised, hard-line conservative bent on being heard.
He runs trash-hauling and trucking companies, so he's no stranger to getting his hands dirty, moving things around or trash-talking.
In a recent interview with Dom Giordano on WPHT (1210-AM), Wagner said he plans to spend time in the Senate "sitting in the back room with a baseball bat . . . and leadership's gonna start doing things."
I suppose it's possible he means he's on deck for fellow wealthy York County biz guy Wolf and a progressive agenda to deal with the budget, the deficit, pensions and a fair-funding formula for public schools.
Then again, Wagner, in a letter to the York Daily Record in September, wrote, "You can take this to the bank - from me - if Tom Wolf is elected governor, nothing will get done over the next four years."
So there's that.
Wagner's been in the Senate only since April after becoming the first-ever write-in winner of a Pennsylvania state Senate race.
He won a spring special election, beating the GOP's preferred candidate with a write-in campaign, and last Tuesday was elected by wide margin to a full four-year term.
He also pumped what two GOP Senate aides say was $200,000-plus into a western Pennsylvania Senate race in which newcomer Camera Bartolotta, owner of a Duke of Oil drive-through quickie-lube, beat incumbent Democrat Tim Solobay.
Oh, and Sen.-elect Bartolotta is also an actress with recent roles in the 2012 classic "Lucifer's Unholy Desire" and the 2014 thriller "Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies." I am not making this up.
But back to Wagner.
These days he's at the center of an effort to oust Senate GOP Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, whom he has called "the No. 1 obstacle" to pushing a real Republican (read: more conservative) agenda.
So I guess Wolf-bonding is off the table. Don't know for sure. Wagner did not respond to a request for an interview.
That could be because he's busy changing the Senate from a reasonable backstop to the more-conservative GOP House into more of a partner for the more-conservative GOP House.
If this happens, Philly could be annexed to Jersey, gun ownership could be mandatory and union membership might become a misdemeanor punishable with fines.
I'm exaggerating, but not by much.
If you're sensing Wagner isn't shy or subtle, you're right.
In June, he compared union leaders to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin, later amending his remarks to mean only in the sense they all use or used "power and control" to achieve their ends.
In late September, he sent Pileggi a letter chiding the GOP leader for acting too soon on legislation allowing Philly to hike its cigarette tax and bottling up bills sponsored by conservative senators while also coddling unions.
Last month, he was quoted in the Harrisburg Patriot-News as blaming unions for school-funding woes and calling Philly teachers' health benefits a "problem . . . we have to adjust."
Now, an alternative to Pileggi has surfaced. Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre County, current Appropriations Committee chief, was endorsed last week by Senate President Joe Scarnati to replace Pileggi as head of the GOP caucus.
This is unusual stuff, especially for Republicans, especially in Harrisburg.
Leadership elections, by secret ballot, are scheduled late tomorrow morning.
If Pileggi loses, it could mean (seriously) much less clout for moderate southeastern senators, a badly fractured GOP Senate with some very PO'd members and a steeper climb for Tom Wolf to get, well, anything he wants.
On the other hand, a new Republican Senate regime might sponsor a couple of interesting movie nights. Wagner'd probably pay for the popcorn.