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Fast Eddie owns up to slots haul

| Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gamblin' Gov. Ed Rendell failed to disclose a day of good fortune at the Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack last year to the state Ethics Commission.

Rendell last week was forced to update his financial disclosure forms after neglecting to note his $2,000 in slot machine winnings, The Associated Press reported.

The commission regards gambling winnings as income, and any winnings of more than $1,300 annually must be disclosed.

Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said the omission was unintentional and attributed it to a "clerical oversight." It quickly was corrected, as matters such as this usually are, after the pesky media began asking questions about it.

How did Rendell spend the windfall?

After paying taxes on the winnings, apparently there wasn't much money left. The governor reportedly gave two state troopers who serve as his bodyguards $100 gift certificates and gave his wife, Midge Rendell , some shopping money.

What• He didn't even buy himself a cheesesteak?

WOFFORD: DEM NOD NO SPECTER SLAM-DUNK. Even though he now is a Democrat, Arlen Specter should prepare for a dogfight to keep his U.S. Senate seat next year.

That's the opinion of former Pennsylvania Sen. Harris Wofford , who said as much in a lengthy open letter to Specter published Tuesday in the Washington, D.C.-based Roll Call.

Wofford cautioned Specter that the backing of President Barack Obama and Gov. Ed Rendell might not be sufficient to ensure a victory in the Democrat primary.

"Winning that election may well be harder than you, the governor and the president have foreseen," Wofford wrote.

"As the full-time chairman of the state Democratic Party during Bob Casey 's 1986 gubernatorial campaign, and active with the party ever since, I know how independent-minded the voters of Pennsylvania can be. On a number of occasions, primary voters in our party have gone contrary to the decision of the state committee or the governor."

Specter probably dismissed the warning as the rambling observations of a doddering old man. Having recently turned 83, Wofford is four years Specter's senior.

For those who may have forgotten, Casey appointed Wofford to the Senate following the 1991 death of Sen. John Heinz . Wofford defeated former Gov. Dick Thornburgh to fill the remainder of Heinz's term but lost the Senate seat to Rick Santorum in 1994.

REPUBLICAN REFUND. Specter's defection has proven costly to his campaign committee.

The senator has given back nearly $100,000 in contributions from donors who weren't happy about him taking up residence in Donkey Junction, reported Thursday.

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREGONE CONCLUSIONS. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Specter's party switch prompted Joe Torsella to end his bid for the Democrat U.S. Senate nomination.

Torsella, the former head of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, had raised about $600,000 for his Senate bid, thanks in large part to his good buddy and fundraiser extraordinaire Ed Rendell.

But his campaign was considered DOA the moment Rendell declared he would like to see Specter have an unimpeded path to the Senate nomination.

That still isn't likely to happen. U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Delaware County continues to make noise about entering the race, and state Rep. Bill -- wait, give us a minute -- oh yes, Kortz of Dravosburg is still a candidate.

SOPHIE RESURFACES. Our favorite campaign commercial of the primary season has to be the TV spot airing for Democrat Common Pleas Court candidate Susan Evashavik DiLucente.

We confess that seeing irrepressible former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff -- still looking relatively spry, even at 91 -- indomitably declaring "I'm choosin' Judge Susan!" was a treat.

Glad to see you looking well, Sophie. We bet your endorsement helps DiLucente in Tuesday's primary even more than that recommendation by those stuffed shirts at the Allegheny County Bar Association.

PETA WON'T LIKE THIS. What's this• Accusations of animal corpse abuse at a Monroeville council meeting?

Mayor Greg Erosenko and Redevelopment Authority member Georgiana Woodhall recently got into a spat over who dropped the ball in finding money for the moribund authority.

Former Mayor James Lomeo , who fought against creating the authority, stacked its board with fellow oppositionists.

Erosenko and Woodhall engaged in a protracted back-and-forth in which Woodhall accused the mayor and council of failing to fund an authority they said was essential to Monroeville's economic development.

Erosenko responded that Woodhall and the other board members are responsible for finding money for the independent agency.

After several rounds of finger-pointing, Woodhall said, "I don't want to beat a dead horse."

Erosenko responded, "Well, you're beating it."

SIGNS, SIGNS ... Although former state Sen. Robert Regola is a Republican, the Hempfield resident is not shy about whom he supports in the Democrat primary for Westmoreland County district attorney.

Alongside a sign in Regola's front yard supporting his judicial candidate of choice, Harry Smail Jr. , is another supporting DA candidate James Antoniono .

Last year, Regola was acquitted of perjury and firearms charges in connection with the 2006 death of a 14-year-old neighbor. He was prosecuted by incumbent District Attorney John Peck , who is up against Antoniono in Tuesday's primary.

Some of Regola's neighbors are displaying signs supporting the incumbent.

TROPHY HUNTER. New Westmoreland County Commissioner Chuck Anderson elicited some chuckles recently when he told Irwin Borough Council about his fondness for hunting.

Anderson, chosen by the county judges to succeed Kim Ward upon her election as state senator, has been making the rounds of county municipalities to meet elected officials. The retired Marine colonel, a Republican, said he's willing to have conversations about most issues, although he's pro-life and backs the Second Amendment.

To punctuate his hunting prowess, Anderson mentioned he has "heads on the wall" at his home.

That led Councilwoman Peggie Watson , also a Republican, to offer, in jest: "Animal heads, I hope."

-- compiled by Tribune-Review staff

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