The Big Talk Topics of the Day

CHAMBERSBURG – Every weekday morning on First News, the local – live morning radio information show with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen features the big talk topics and opinion from local Attorney Clint Barkdoll.

On June 21, the Big Talk on First News covered the Pennsylvania election audit, the Chambersburg Area School Board meeting, a possible Trump/Desantis run for 2024 and Charlie Gerow’s attempt at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Mansion.

Listen to the full audio here:

PA election audit

Could an election audit for Pennsylvania happen?

David Argall, State Senator from Berks and Schuykill counties, has changed his opinion on the audit since former president Donald Trump issued a statement that said Argall should help make it happen.

Initially, Argall had said he was not going to move forward with an audit, but he has since moderated his position.

A few weeks ago, Seth Grove, a Republican in the House who chairs the committee that would oversee an audit, said absolutely not.

Barkdoll said, “It’s still not clear what the path is on this. It’s not clear how the Senate would pull this off. One possibility is could they just independently bring in an outside service, at the expense of an outside service or private funds to do this? Which is sort of what they’ve done in Arizona. My guess is that’s the path they’re looking at, but it’s not clear who this outside service and where the money would come from to do it. These things cost a lot of money. You’re talking millions and millions of dollars to do an audit and it takes a lot of time and a lot of manpower as well. I think if they’re going to do, they’ve got to pull something off this week. They can’t just keep pushing this ball down the field and suddenly we’re into July and August and if it takes 30 or 60 days to do it. We’re suddenly going to be up to the next election anyway.”

Jansen added, “They do indicate that the subpoena route, just like in Arizona, would be what they’d be considering. He said some time in the next one to two weeks, they’ll make a statement or come to some conclusion. Certainly there’s outside groups who are very interested and would probably be willing to fund it, but they have to be careful because we know how the narrative gets spun so easily that this is just rogue and nobody should pay attention to it. So it’s trying to do it and trying to do it in a way that is evident to people that it’s sound.”

Ryan wondered, “Do you think that if Maricopa County returns some information there that would give fuel to the fire, here’s what we found and there are problems here. Do you think that would help in the argument?”

Barkdoll said, “Yes, but I think that cuts both ways. That audit, they’re saying by June 30 they’re going to release the results. If those results are released and it just confirms the already reported certification, I think then that goes the other way. Does it undermine what some of these other states want to do? But on the other hand, if they release results that show that there’s all sorts of problems, all sorts of findings, I think that probably bolsters any claim to do something in these other states, including Pennsylvania.”

Initial discussions in Pennsylvania have been that they will selectively do this in just a couple of counties, like Arizona did.

Barkdloll pointed out, “This is not a statewide audit. They would pick a handful of counties to do this in. It’s not clear which counties they would be or how they would be chosen, but presumably, they would go places that had much bigger vote turnouts. These would be populated areas of the state is where I would imagine they would target.”

Chambersburg Area School Board meeting – it’s time to step in and comment

The Chambersburg Area School Board will meet tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. in the administration building on Stanley Avenue.

Jansen said, “We see around the country, parents standing up worried about Critical Race Theory. We know the problem is people define that term differently. There was a little bit of a dust up between myself and the Chambersburg Area School District over that definition. I still have grave concerns that they are not necessarily paying attention to the details of some of the training and now that I’ve taken a little bit of that training that I know some were engaged in, I’d like to at least briefly introduce the idea of possibly having a more in-depth discussion, maybe putting this on the agenda in the future. So I’m planning to step in and make a comment about that. As many concerned citizens and parents around the country have been doing with their own school boards.”

Barkdoll said, “I think it’s a fair point. As you’re seeing this get injected more and more into curriculum across the country, school boards need to hear from people. I think it’s fair game to show up at a meeting, make these comments known. We know that the plans are being put into place for the next school year. So now would be a very good time to bring these things to the board’s attention. It’s still not clear to me locally though, really, where the boards are on this. To the extent it’s been brought up, they don’t seem to engage a whole lot in it. They don’t say much about it. Now that budgets have been passed, maybe now would be the time to bring it up and try to get them engaged in more of a dialogue about it.”

Jansen said, “The point is we all care about what gets to our teachers and what gets to our children. It’s not about choosing sides or being political. It’s about making sure we’re taking the right steps to get us to a healthy place in these discussions and I think more dialogue is very much merited right now.”

Could a Trump/DeSantis ticket for 2024 be possible?

With an early straw poll for the 2024 presidency showing DeSantis edging out Trump by a marginal point, what does the future hold for the Republican Party in 2024?

Barkdoll said, “DeSantis is emerging clearly as a future star of the party although he has made comments that I think he will defer to Trump in the sense of if Trump runs again, DeSantis is going to sit it out. If Trump does not run, I think you’re going to see him jump in and I think he could very well be the nominee. He is very popular in Florida and the more he gets out around the country, and the more people see and hear him, the more they like him.”

Ryan predicted, “It’s Trump/DeSantis for four and then DeSantis for eight as president. The next 12 years locked up.”

Jansen pointed out, “The more we’re finding out about things that were leveled against Trump during his whole presidency that turn out not to be true, I think whatever you think about the election and the election results and whether that should be something looked at or not, putting that aside, people are saying Trump did not get a fair deal. Not from the press, not from some of the intelligent agencies that seem to have put stuff out that was misleading and so that makes them more favorable to him to say he was handed a raw deal and he should be given another chance.”

Barkdoll added, “DeSantis, he is very Trumpian in a lot of ways. His policies, the way he kind of does things and says things. I think your theory, Pat, there’s merit to it. Now some would say how can you do that? They’re both from Florida. It would be unprecedented to have a ticket from the same state, but Florida is a key state and I think things have changed to the point that I’m not sure that that is as critical anymore that you have the geographic diversity on a ticket. I think that very well could happen. You could see Pence replaced with DeSantis. They run as a ticket. DeSantis in his own right more and more is becoming a national profile type candidate.”

Charlie Gerow announced his candidacy for Pa Governor

Charlie Gerow has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next Governor of Pennsylvania.

Barkdoll said, “Charlie has been running for office for years in Pennsylvania. He has run for Congress multiple times. He lives in the Carlisle/Harrisburg area. He’s in his late 60s. Very, very established Republican. He’s had his hand in Pennsylvania Republican politics for decades. You name the statewide campaign, you can be he’s been involved in it. He runs a consulting firm. He has a television and radio program. Very well known. But he also is very much in what I would say the Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, Tom Ridge kind of wing of the Republican Party. Very establishment. Very center left I would say. He apparently thinks there’s a path. And again he runs this consulting and polling firm and he apparently is looking at numbers that thinks there is a path for a candidate like him, particularly to peel off Republicans, and moderate third party voters and even Democrats in the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh areas, which a Republican candidate would need to win at the governor’s level.”

Jansen pointed out, “My problem with him? He has two initiatives, one to be able to recall the governor. I think a lot of people might agree with that. The other though, no, no, no. He wants to allow Pennsylvanians to have ballot initiatives by voters to pass laws? No. That is mob rule. It is very bad. It’s bad in states where they do have it. No. That should not be something we want here in Pennsylvania.”

Barkdoll agreed. “I think this is very much the mold he is in. He comes from that kind of thinking. And can he raise money? Will he have the money it takes to run a statewide election?”