Presidential nominating conventions are always chockablock with praise for the party’s pick.

Clout is more interested in the defectors — Republicans who spoke in favor of Democratic nominee Joe Biden last week and Democrats who spoke for President Donald Trump this week.

It wasn’t a close contest. Biden’s parade of GOP backers easily outpaced Trump’s smattering of Democratic support.

Among the Republicans for Biden were former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and former New Jersey Gov. and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman.

Then, on the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday, three former Republican U.S. House members from Pennsylvania — Jim Greenwood, Charlie Dent, and Bill Clinger — endorsed Biden, joining 24 other former Republican members of Congress from 18 states.

On Thursday, dozens of former staffers for the last three Republican presidential nominees — U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, and former President George W. Bush — endorsed Biden hours before Trump was set to deliver his speech to close the RNC.

How did Trump fare? State Rep. Vernon Jones, a Democrat from Georgia, told the RNC “the Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation.” And Bob Vlaisavljevich, the Democratic mayor of Eveleth, Minn., thanked Trump for his economic and trade policies.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat turned Republican from New Jersey, spoke Thursday evening. Van Drew pledged “undying support” to Trump in the Oval Office in December as he switched parties.

Pennsylvania GOP officials shrugged off “rogue” Republicans in a call with reporters Thursday.

“They went pretty way back in history to find a few Pennsylvania Republicans to come out,” said state Republican Party Vice Chair Bernie Comfort. “These are folks not working in the field now, and most of them in 2016 were not with Trump and they’re not in 2020. It’s old news. And it’s not going to move a voter. Not one voter.”

Greenwood, who served six terms in his Bucks County-based district and helped recruit former Republican members of Congress to support Biden, said Trump’s approach to politics and policy and his personal behavior drive away some Republicans.

“A lot of us are not only completely disgusted with his behavior and his personality, but we don’t see him as a Republican,” Greenwood said. “You may have some Democrats who are coming out for Trump, but it’s not because they don’t find Joe Biden to be a regular Democrat who adheres to the party.”

John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, Local 98 leader, as he departs the federal courthouse last year.
Matt Slocum / AP
John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty, Local 98 leader, as he departs the federal courthouse last year.

Local 98 sues over anonymous website comments

Last we heard of John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, the leader of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was declaring he has a story to tell about how he got indicted by the feds.

Dougherty didn’t tell that story during his appearance last month on Talk Radio 1210-WPHT’s Saturday Night Live With Philly Labor show.

Now Local 98 is coming after others with stories to tell. The union last week sued one of its members, Charles Battle, and his wife, Jeanette. It accused them of running two websites with variations of the name “The Truth About Your Local,” where anonymous commenters made “loathsome, false and defamatory statements” about the union and its officials, according to the lawsuit. The websites have been wiped clean.

Clifford Haines, attorney for the Battles, said he was surprised Local 98 sees “negative opinions” as defamation, given the tumult since the January 2019 indictments.

“But I will be interested in hearing about their complaints, and in particular the way in which this highly visible public entity has been damaged by a few shots fired across their bow,” Haines said. “I’m not sure they want their dirty laundry out in public, but it will be fun to find out about it.”

Joseph Podraza Jr., Local 98′s lawyer, and a spokesperson for the union did not respond to requests for comment.

Dougherty, City Councilmember Bobby Henon, and six other Local 98 officials are accused of embezzling more than $600,000 from the union. They have pleaded not guilty. Their trial is set for Oct. 26.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner last month about filing charges against a Philadelphia police officer.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner last month about filing charges against a Philadelphia police officer.

File under: Not going to happen anyway

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner signed a pledge this week from the Justice Collaborative, vowing to not seek or accept campaign contributions from law enforcement unions.

Let’s review.

Krasner has been in an almost constant state of verbal warfare with Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia. The FOP has a banner plane — message: “Support Philly Police. Dump Krasner“ — flying above Jersey Shore beaches every weekend until Labor Day.

Retired Philadelphia police officers in that union announced this month that they had raised $750,000 in just three weeks for Protect Our Police PAC, to oust progressive prosecutors like Krasner.

Krasner hit back last week in a fund-raising email, calling the group “disgruntled” retired cops who believe “no one should ever challenge the thin blue line, no matter the abuse and discrimination that occurs in our communities.”

Clout is betting Krasner never breaks a sweat living up to the pledge.