Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Conor Lamb campaigned with Bobby Henon and indicted Local 98 official. Allies call that ‘stupid.’

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a western Pennsylvania Democrat, is spending a lot of time campaigning in Philly. Some familiar Local 98 faces at recent events prompted concern from allies.

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, appears at Philadelphia City Hall in January.
U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, appears at Philadelphia City Hall in January.Read moreMatt Rourke / AP

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb has been a frequent Philly visitor, trying to win over local Democratic leaders in his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But two events left critics — and some allies — scratching their heads.

Lamb held a meet-and-greet Feb. 11 with Northeast Philly ward leaders attended by former City Councilmember Bobby Henon and political consultant Billy Miller.

Henon, still a ward leader, was convicted on federal corruption charges in November with John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, leader of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

And Miller, who has worked for Local 98 and served time in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2018 to evading taxes, now works for Lamb’s campaign.

Henon and Miller stayed out of a group photo taken at the event but can be seen on the periphery in photos posted to Lamb’s Twitter account.

Lamb also met last week with South Philly ward leaders at the Penrose Diner, accompanied by Miller. Local 98 political director Marita Crawford, now under federal indictment with Dougherty in a related case set for trial in September, stopped by. (We’re told she was at the restaurant for a separate meeting.)

Lamb’s campaign called Miller “a valued member of our campaign staff who is working to connect Conor with voters, elected officials, community leaders, and party activists.”

“He’s served his time,” Lamb campaign manager Abby Nassif-Murphy said in a statement. “Conor believes in second chances, he believes in enfranchisement for former felons, and he believes that means not just the right to vote but the right to work on campaigns and participate in our democracy.”

But even a few people supporting Lamb, a former federal prosecutor, were confused by the choice of company.

“This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” a Democratic source who was at the Northeast Philly event said. “This guy’s nuts. He comes to the city of Philadelphia, they’re bringing him around convicted felons. It’s hurting this guy who we’re trying to help.”

A Democratic insider who attended the South Philly event called it “strange that a candidate for U.S. Senate would have the same players from Local 98 … tagging along with him.”

Members of the building trades joked about Lamb’s former job as a prosecutor in their endorsement of him earlier this year. Local 98, which is backing Lamb, has grown into a political juggernaut in Pennsylvania politics in the last three decades.

Crawford and Miller have a habit of turning up at campaign events that later wind up in Clout. In 2018, Nancy Pelosi came to Philadelphia to campaign for Democrats, posing for a picture with Miller, who was awaiting sentencing, and Crawford, who was under investigation.

Bill McSwain’s crime plan: Less voting in Philly

Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain’s Philly event this week had it all — signs from his campaign for Pennsylvania governor calling for “law and order” and supporters waving “back the blue” banners, including one in a “Let’s Go Brandon” hoodie.

The West Chester Republican vowed Tuesday to push for an amendment to the state constitution abolishing the right of Philadelphia voters to elect their district attorney. He wants the city’s top prosecutor to be appointed by the governor, while the state’s 66 other counties would continue to elect their DAs.

That would normally be an unusual approach to politics, promising to disenfranchise more than a million voters in a city that makes up 12% of the state’s electorate. But the Republican primary is packed with candidates who want to push aside Philly voters to tout tough-on-crime talking points.

McSwain mocked proposals from his Republican competitors — including an effort by State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman to have the state House impeach Philly DA Larry Krasner — as “political theater with no chance of success.”

McSwain denied trying to disenfranchise voters since an amendment would have to be approved by the state General Assembly in two successive sessions and then approved by voters in a statewide ballot question.

Krasner, who has clashed repeatedly with McSwain, denounced the proposal as “fascism” and called his campaign “a joke.”

“It is stunning that this candidate, who has done nothing to improve the lives of Philadelphians, thinks he is entitled to take away their vote and instead pick a representative for them,” said Krasner, who easily won a second term last year.

Carlos Vega, a former prosecutor who lost a primary bid to defeat Krasner last year, showed up to hear McSwain’s pitch.

Clout sensed a vibe — “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Vega, who briefly huddled with McSwain after the event, didn’t want to discuss the idea of an appointed district attorney.

“I’m not being interviewed,” Vega said. “I’m off duty.”


I grew up south of Philadelphia, near mushroom capital of the world Kennett Square. That’s where my dad said don’t be treated like a mushroom or you’ll be kept in the dark and fed manure all day long. That’s what’s been happening to a lot of people in Pennsylvania.”

Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speaking to Somerset County voters Wednesday. For Oz, “south of Philadelphia” is code for growing up in Delaware. He might have felt compelled to mushroom around that fact since he is famous for owning a mansion in New Jersey that overlooks New York’s skyline.

Clout provides often irreverent news and analysis about people, power, and politics.