First Read

First Read – April 25, 2024

Haley takes 17% of the vote … Uncommitted in PA … Shapiro’s protest comments… and more

WEATHER: Philadelphia: sunny, high of 59; Harrisburg: frost, then sunny, high of 60; Pittsburgh: mostly sunny, high of 62. 


* There were plenty of closely contested primary races – some of which are still too close to call – with potentially power-shifting implications in Harrisburg. 


* Write-in votes in the Democratic presidential primary in Philadelphia this year exceeded those from the 2020 election by nearly seven to one as progressive activists had asked Democrats to write “uncommitted” on their ballot, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

* Gov. Josh Shapiro spoke out against universities in the United States that have failed to assure student safety during protests regarding the Israel-Hamas war, PennLive reports.

* A design change Pennsylvania officials made to prevent voters from making a disqualifying error on their mail ballots appears to have backfired, WESA reports.

* Nikki Haley won almost 17% of Pennsylvania’s primary vote Tuesday, or 1 in 6 votes, to Trump’s 83%, despite not campaigning for president since she ended her bid in early March, PennLive reports.

* A bipartisan group of state legislators from Allegheny County want to keep more neighborhood pharmacies in business by tightening regulations on the drug pricing market, WESA reports.

* Advocates are pushing the state House for limits on polluting industries that want to locate or expand in vulnerable communities in Pennsylvania, WESA reports. 

* The Democratic primary between State Rep. Amen Brown and progressive challenger Cass Green remained too close to call yesterday, prolonging the drama in one of the most competitive state House races in Tuesday’s primary, the Inquirer reports.

* A gap in protections for federal contractors creates a “serious risk” that will likely discourage whistleblowers from coming forward and embolden employers to retaliate against those who do, Spotlight PA reports.

* The Cumberland Valley school board voted 5-4 yesterday to put back on the schedule an anti-bullying seminar that directors initially scratched out of several members’ belief that the presenter, Maulik Pancholy, who is openly gay, would not be age-appropriate for middle schoolers, PennLive reports.

* Two Black Lancaster city voters say they were racially profiled at their polling location Tuesday morning after volunteers directed them to a line for free breakfast, LancasterOnline reports.


* The Inquirer has commentary by Gianna Luna and Anna Cadogan, who write: Our homes are in dire need of repair. We can’t afford to leave. We're teenagers, and even we can tell the city's housing voucher system is broken.

* PennLive has an editorial by Sam Breene, chair of the Venango County Board of Commissioners, who writes that oil and gas and the affordable energy they provide are the lifeblood of our economy. But our state and our livelihoods are under assault.


* The U.S. Supreme Court justices spent two hours yesterday morning debating whether a federal law about emergency treatment encompasses abortion care even in states with strict abortion bans, with no clear indication of how they may ultimately rule, the Capital-Star reports.

* An Arizona grand jury yesterday indicted seven attorneys or aides affiliated with Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign as well as 11 Arizona Republicans on felony charges related to their alleged efforts to subvert Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state, The Washington Post reports. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Keith Rothfus, former U.S. Rep. for the 12th District … and to Kimeka Campbell, founder and vice president, Young Professionals of Color Greater Harrisburg … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email their name, job title and upcoming birthday to

MOVING ON: State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania auditor general, has named Mike Mikus as senior adviser for communications strategy and has hired Westmoreland County Democratic Party Chair Michelle Milan-Mcfall as political director… Have a career change or life event to announce? Email us:


9:30 a.m. – House Joint Health and Liquor Control Committee meets, Room G50, Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg. Watch here.

10 a.m. – The Philadelphia City Council meets, Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia. Watch here. 

12:30 p.m. – Gov. Josh Shapiro and legislative leaders will highlight how his proposed 2024-25 budget investments will expand resources for Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and autism, Achieva, 711 Bingham St., Pittsburgh. Watch here. 

KICKER: “Right now, shadowy middlemen (are) working between the insurance companies and the pharmacies and unfairly directing consumers to the big guys.” – state Rep. Jessica Benham, via WESA 

NEXT STORY: First Read – April 24, 2024