Sharif Street is a city kid, raised on urban politics. But he can talk some bull.
That’s not a barnyard reference to political prevarication. The 46-year-old state senator from North Philly can speak authoritatively about the quality and importance of manure in rural Pennsylvania, where agriculture has long been one of the state’s leading economic drivers.
Street, who ran unopposed in November for a second term, is now seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.
Serving as vice chair of the state’s Democratic Party, Street logged hundreds of thousands of miles traversing Pennsylvania over the last four years, drumming up voter enthusiasm. Along the way, more than one farmer has tested the city kid’s knowledge on issues like retention ponds, the best way to split wood, and, yes, manure.
Street recalled one farmer pointing to a field ready for planting and asking which type of manure — hog, cow, or chicken — would be best for his crops. Street said he surprised the farmer by expounding about the various benefits and drawbacks in what farmers call “nutrient management.”
Pro tip: Chicken poop is best, even if they don’t produce as much as cows and pigs.
The larger lesson: Street says President Donald Trump was terrible at governing but excellent at marketing, speaking plainly to people who are sick of political jargon. He thinks Democrats need to speak more directly to white, rural voters, explaining what concerns they have in common — education, health care, wages — with people in cities.
That, he hopes, can forestall midterm election losses in 2022. History holds that the party controlling the White House pays a political price two years later.
And where did Street learn so much about manure? He credits Saturday and Sunday trips in his youth to farms and rural markets with his father, former Mayor John Street, who grew up on a farm in Montgomery County and was always eager to talk agriculture.
“He never stopped talking about it,” Street said of his father’s interest. “I never thought it would have any value.”
Now he knows better. Street says he’ll form an exploratory committee for a Senate run sometime in the spring. He’ll make a decision on formally entering the race closer to the end of the year.
The seat is open because Sen. Pat Toomey, a Lehigh Valley Republican, is not seeking a fourth term. A stampede of Democrats and Republicans is expected to enter the race. Clout wonders if any of them have been thinking about it as long as Street.
We found him on a list of 23 “young achievers” published by Ebony magazine as they prepared to graduate from high school in 1992. Street, then a Central High senior, was described as an “aspiring public servant” who planned to “eventually run for a seat in the U.S. Senate.”
“I guess I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Street said, laughing about Clout’s archival find.
John Fetterman says Josh Hawley’s ‘soul is dipped in dog—’
Speaking of excrement, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has some thoughts on Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican leader in the effort last week to overturn the presidential election.
Fetterman, a Democrat also sizing up a Senate run, appeared Tuesday on The New Abnormal, a podcast from the Daily Beast. He recounted his procedural tussle last week with state Senate Republicans about seating a Democratic member who had been reelected. Then he zeroed in on Hawley’s Ivy League education, noting the Missouri Republican’s attempt to block certification of the election results was “garbage,” considering that he stuck to it after last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.
“You know, I don’t care what your political beliefs are,” Fetterman said. “If you’re willing to damage and endanger over your ambition, your soul is dipped in dog—. I don’t know how else to say it.”
Fetterman, who appeared with his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, said his announcement last week that he’s exploring a Senate run prompted more than $500,000 in donations from more than 15,000 donors from all 50 states in four days.
“This hateful rhetoric is another deadly virus. It is time to remove it from its host. To heal we need accountability and truth. That begins by acknowledging the president’s dangerous lies and their deadly consequences. Removing Donald Trump is the beginning of restoring decency and in democracy. What happened last week will not be forgotten and what we do this week will long be remembered.”