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Terror Group Gets 'A' Rating From Better Business Bureau?

Consumer watchdog accused of running "pay to play" scheme with grading system.

ByABC News
November 11, 2010, 3:46 PM

Nov. 12, 2010 — -- The Better Business Bureau, one of the country's best known consumer watchdog groups, is being accused by business owners of running a "pay for play" scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don't.

To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group.

"Right now, this rating system is really unworthy of consumer trust or confidence," said Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal in an interview to be broadcast as part of an ABC News investigation airing tonight on 20/20.

In an official demand letter sent to the national headquarters of the Better Business Bureau Thursday, Blumenthal called on the BBB to stop using its grading system, which he said was "potentially harmful and misleading" to consumers.

Click Here To Read Blumenthal's Letter

"The BBB accreditation and the BBB ratings systems is not about generating money," said BBB national president and CEO Steve Cox. He said the A minus grade for Hamas was given in error. "Plain and simple, we made a mistake," Cox told ABC News.

Errors seem to abound at the Better Business Bureau. As reported by an anonymous blogger the BBB also awarded an A minus rating to a non-existent sushi restaurant in Santa Ana, California and an A plus to a skinhead, neo-Nazi web site called Stormfront.

Each listing cost $425.

"They ran the credit card and within 12 hours they were an approved, accredited member," said the anonymous blogger, who runs a site called bbbroundup.com.

"They're more interested in the money than their credibility," he said.

The BBB's Cox said the three listings were all mistakes made by sales people.

"That's an inaccurate statement that business people are able to buy A's," Cox said. "We have more than 500,000 non-accredited businesses who have A ratings," he added.

Yet, as part of the ABC News investigation, an ABC News producer with a camera was present as two small business owners in Los Angeles were told by Better Business Bureau tele-marketers that their grades of C could be raised to A plus if they paid $395 membership fees.

Terri Hartman, the manager of a Los Angeles antique fixtures store, Liz's Antique Hardware, was told only a payment could change her grade, based on one old complaint that had already been resolved.

"So, if I don't pay, even though the complaint has been resolved, I still have a C rating?"

Hartman then read off her credit card number and the next business day the C grade was replaced with an A plus, and the one complaint was wiped off the record.

In a second case, Carmen Tellez, the owner of a company that provides clowns for parties was also told she had to pay to fix her C- grade, based on a two-year old complaint that she says had already been resolved.

The C minus became an A plus the very next day after she provided her credit card number for the $395 charge.

"If I'm paying for a grade, then how are the customers supposed to really trust the Better Business Bureau?" she asked.

CLICK HERE to follow the ABC News Investigative Team's coverage on Twitter.

Cox said the examples provided by ABC News were violations of sales policy and not a standard way of doing business.

"The BBB is not operating fraudulently," Cox said.

In his demand letter to the BBB, the Connecticut attorney general said, "I am deeply concerned that certain BBB practices threaten its reputation and effectiveness as a reliable resource for consumers."

Allison Southwick, media relations manager for the BBB, said that the BBB had worked with Attorneys General across the country, including Blumenthal, to fight fraud. "We disagree with his characterization that BBB does not adequately disclose the fact that Accredited Businesses financially support BBB," said Southwick. "However, we are always interested in hearing from our partners in consumer advocacy and are pleased to accept constructive feedback from his office and other consumer advocates."

"We have made good progress in working with his office on these issues, and anticipate that we will satisfactorily address his concerns," said Southwick.

The Better Business Bureau, a non-profit group that began 98 years ago, instituted its A plus through F grading system just two years ago, replacing a "satisfactory/unsatisfactory" ratings system.

One of the first to raise concerns about the new grading system was New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. Weiner was investigating complaints to his office about the popular precious metals dealer Goldine. Some customers had alleged they were ripped off after responding to Goldline's television ads, which appear in heavy circulation during conservative talk radio and television programs.

Goldline responded to Weiner's criticism in part by pointing to the stamp of approval the company had received from one of the nation's most respected consumer groups.

"We are proud to be rated A+ from the Better Business Bureau," Goldline VP Scott Carter said at a congressional hearing convened by Weiner in September.

Weiner told ABC News he considered Goldline's A plus grade to be suspect.

Weiner and other critics say they believe the BBB has used the new grading system as part of an extensive tele-marketing campaign to increase membership and revenue.

CLICK HERE to follow ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross on Twitter.

An ABC NEWS examination of filings with the federal government revealed that at least 25 of the Better Business Bureau's top officers had salaries in excess of $100,000.

The head of the Los Angeles Better Business Bureau, William Mitchell, was paid more than $400,000, according to the Better business Bureau.

"I think the Better Business Bureau changed course and lost its way by adopting a system of pay to play that maybe enhanced its revenues but also greatly diminished its credibility and honesty," said attorney general Blumenthal, who was elected to the United States Senate from Connecticut last week.

"It's very troubling and it could be illegal because the failure to disclose to consumers could well be deceptive and misleading," he added.

The ABC News investigation found numerous examples of well-known companies that are not members of the Better Business Bureau being branded with F grades, often apparently based on scant evidence or a small number of complaints.

The five-star Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston was given a F rating after only two complaints.

"A million customers served, two complaints resulting in an F rating, seems to be somewhat unusual, to say the least, " hotel general manager Erwin Schinnerl told WCVB-TV in Boston.

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck told ABC News that parts of his food and restaurant empire have received an F grade because he refused to pay to join the Better Business Bureau.

CLICK HERE to follow the ABC News Investigative Team and Brian Ross on Facebook and join in on the discussion.

"You know, if you become a member, you're sure to get an A, but if you don't pay, it's very difficult to get an A," said Puck, who has been a regular on the ABC News program "Good Morning America" since 1986.

"I think where you have to join an organization to get a good grade is wrong," Puck said.

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.

Errors seem to abound at the Better Business Bureau. As reported by an anonymous blogger the BBB also awarded an A minus rating to a non-existent sushi restaurant in Santa Ana, California and an A plus to a skinhead, neo-Nazi web site called Stormfront.

Each listing cost $425.

\"They ran the credit card and within 12 hours they were an approved, accredited member,\" said the anonymous blogger, who runs a site called bbbroundup.com.

\"They're more interested in the money than their credibility,\" he said.

The BBB's Cox said the three listings were all mistakes made by sales people.

\"That's an inaccurate statement that business people are able to buy A's,\" Cox said. \"We have more than 500,000 non-accredited businesses who have A ratings,\" he added.

Yet, as part of the ABC News investigation, an ABC News producer with a camera was present as two small business owners in Los Angeles were told by Better Business Bureau tele-marketers that their grades of C could be raised to A plus if they paid $395 membership fees.

Terri Hartman, the manager of a Los Angeles antique fixtures store, Liz's Antique Hardware, was told only a payment could change her grade, based on one old complaint that had already been resolved.

\"So, if I don't pay, even though the complaint has been resolved, I still have a C rating?\"

Hartman then read off her credit card number and the next business day the C grade was replaced with an A plus, and the one complaint was wiped off the record.

In a second case, Carmen Tellez, the owner of a company that provides clowns for parties was also told she had to pay to fix her C- grade, based on a two-year old complaint that she says had already been resolved.

The C minus became an A plus the very next day after she provided her credit card number for the $395 charge.

\"If I'm paying for a grade, then how are the customers supposed to really trust the Better Business Bureau?\" she asked.

CLICK HERE to follow the ABC News Investigative Team's coverage on Twitter.

Cox said the examples provided by ABC News were violations of sales policy and not a standard way of doing business.

\"The BBB is not operating fraudulently,\" Cox said.

In his demand letter to the BBB, the Connecticut attorney general said, \"I am deeply concerned that certain BBB practices threaten its reputation and effectiveness as a reliable resource for consumers.\"

Allison Southwick, media relations manager for the BBB, said that the BBB had worked with Attorneys General across the country, including Blumenthal, to fight fraud. \"We disagree with his characterization that BBB does not adequately disclose the fact that Accredited Businesses financially support BBB,\" said Southwick. \"However, we are always interested in hearing from our partners in consumer advocacy and are pleased to accept constructive feedback from his office and other consumer advocates.\"

\"We have made good progress in working with his office on these issues, and anticipate that we will satisfactorily address his concerns,\" said Southwick.

The Better Business Bureau, a non-profit group that began 98 years ago, instituted its A plus through F grading system just two years ago, replacing a \"satisfactory/unsatisfactory\" ratings system.

One of the first to raise concerns about the new grading system was New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. Weiner was investigating complaints to his office about the popular precious metals dealer Goldine. Some customers had alleged they were ripped off after responding to Goldline's television ads, which appear in heavy circulation during conservative talk radio and television programs.

Goldline responded to Weiner's criticism in part by pointing to the stamp of approval the company had received from one of the nation's most respected consumer groups.

\"We are proud to be rated A+ from the Better Business Bureau,\" Goldline VP Scott Carter said at a congressional hearing convened by Weiner in September.

Weiner told ABC News he considered Goldline's A plus grade to be suspect.

Weiner and other critics say they believe the BBB has used the new grading system as part of an extensive tele-marketing campaign to increase membership and revenue.

CLICK HERE to follow ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross on Twitter.

An ABC NEWS examination of filings with the federal government revealed that at least 25 of the Better Business Bureau's top officers had salaries in excess of $100,000.

The head of the Los Angeles Better Business Bureau, William Mitchell, was paid more than $400,000, according to the Better business Bureau.

\"I think the Better Business Bureau changed course and lost its way by adopting a system of pay to play that maybe enhanced its revenues but also greatly diminished its credibility and honesty,\" said attorney general Blumenthal, who was elected to the United States Senate from Connecticut last week.

\"It's very troubling and it could be illegal because the failure to disclose to consumers could well be deceptive and misleading,\" he added.

The ABC News investigation found numerous examples of well-known companies that are not members of the Better Business Bureau being branded with F grades, often apparently based on scant evidence or a small number of complaints.

The five-star Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston was given a F rating after only two complaints.

\"A million customers served, two complaints resulting in an F rating, seems to be somewhat unusual, to say the least, \" hotel general manager Erwin Schinnerl told WCVB-TV in Boston.

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck told ABC News that parts of his food and restaurant empire have received an F grade because he refused to pay to join the Better Business Bureau.

CLICK HERE to follow the ABC News Investigative Team and Brian Ross on Facebook and join in on the discussion.

\"You know, if you become a member, you're sure to get an A, but if you don't pay, it's very difficult to get an A,\" said Puck, who has been a regular on the ABC News program \"Good Morning America\" since 1986.

\"I think where you have to join an organization to get a good grade is wrong,\" Puck said.

Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.

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all she wrote in Pennsylvania","articleContents":{"dateLine":"","authors":[{"displayName":"Geoffrey Skelley","headshot":"https://s.abcnews.com/images/538/GEOFFREY-SKELLEY-abc-gmh-12152023_1702667577474_hpEmbed_1x1_240.jpg","link":"https://abcnews.go.com/author/geoffrey_skelley","url":"https://abcnews.go.com/author/geoffrey_skelley","unit":null,"bureau":null,"linkTracking":{}},{"displayName":"Kaleigh Rogers","headshot":"https://s.abcnews.com/images/538/KALEIGH-ROGERS-abc-gmh-12152023_1702668561922_hpEmbed_1x1_240.jpg","link":"https://abcnews.go.com/author/kaleigh_rogers","url":"https://abcnews.go.com/author/kaleigh_rogers","unit":null,"bureau":null,"linkTracking":{}},{"displayName":"Monica 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Here’s a recap of what happened tonight in Pennsylvania:","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":1,"content":"In the solidly blue 12th District, ABC News reports progressive Democratic Rep. Summer Lee is projected to defeat Edgewood Borough Council member Bhavini Patel by about 20 percentage points, with 99 percent of the expected vote reporting. Lee’s win is an early indication that The Squad’s criticisms of Israel won’t necessarily weigh members down in the primaries to come this summer.","idAttr":""},{"type":"ad","provider":"teads","position":"incontentTeads","id":2,"devices":["desktop","mobile","tablet"],"kvps":{}},{"type":"paragraph","id":3,"content":"Meanwhile, in the 10th District, former news anchor Janelle Stelson is projected to win the Democratic primary with 44 percent against a field of five other candidates and 99 percent of the expected vote, ABC News reports. She’ll face Republican Rep. Scott Perry, a former chair of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, in a slightly GOP-leaning seat that may be competitive.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":4,"content":"In the 1st District, another seat that could be in play, Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick held off a challenge from the right in anti-abortion activist Mark Houck, leading by 26 points at this point with 91 percent of the expected vote. ABC News reports that Fitzpatrick is projected to win that race. Fitzpatrick will now face off against Democrat Ashley Ehasz, whom he defeated by 10 points in 2022, but it may very well be a closer race in this swingy district this time around.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":5,"content":"And over in Eastern Pennsylvania, three Republicans squared off tonight for the opportunity to run against — and potentially unseat — three-term Democratic Rep. Susan Wild in the 7th District. But it was state Rep. Brian Mackenzie who came out on top and is projected to win according to reporting by ABC News. He’s currently leading with 42 percent of the vote, and 85 percent of the expected vote reporting, perhaps in part thanks to the nearly half a million dollars spent on his behalf by the Koch Brothers’ PAC. Mackenzie and Wild will now be gearing up for a tight race that is set to be one of the most competitive House races in the nation, so expect a lot of attention — and money — to be paid to Lehigh Valley.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":6,"content":"Neither candidate faced primary opposition in the U.S. Senate contest today, meaning that Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick will face off in November. In the open-seat race for state attorney general, former state Auditor Eugene DePasquale is projected to win a five-way Democratic primary, while York County District Attorney Dave Sunday is projected to handily win the Republican nomination, according to ABC News. In the contest for auditor general, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta is projected to defeat Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley in the Democratic primary and face incumbent Republican Tim DeFoor in the fall, according to the AP. And the race for state treasurer saw a bit of a surprise in the Democratic primary, as the AP projected that substance abuse and mental health counselor Erin McClelland will defeat state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro despite Bizzarro’s endorsement from the state party and sizable fundraising edge. McClelland will face incumbent Republican Stacy Garrity in November.","idAttr":""},{"type":"ad","provider":"yieldmo","position":"incontentYieldmo","id":7,"devices":["mobile"],"kvps":{}},{"type":"paragraph","id":8,"content":"Finally, in notable races for the state House and Senate, we watched Democratic primaries in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas — which will set up key contests this fall, as Democrats fight to hold onto their narrow, one-vote majority in the state House and flip the Senate to secure a state government trifecta. Incumbents mostly fended off challenges from more progressive candidates in these races, notably Rep. Amen Brown in West Philadelphia, and Rep. Abigail Salisbury, who won against a Summer Lee-backed candidate, Ashley Comans.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":9,"content":"—Geoffrey Skelley, Kaleigh Rogers, Monica Potts, 538","idAttr":""},{"type":"ad","provider":"teads","position":"incontentTeads2","id":10,"devices":["desktop","tablet"],"kvps":{}},{"type":"inline","idx":11,"id":"1"}],"inlines":[{"id":"109556868-1","type":"image","imageSrc":"https://s.abcnews.com/images/538/pa-primary-2-ap-gmh-240423_1713883712280_hpEmbed_3x2_992.jpg","imageAlt":"PHOTO: Voting booths are set up at a polling place in Newtown, Pa., Apr. 23, 2024. ","caption":"Voting booths are set up at a polling place in Newtown, Pa., Apr. 23, 2024. 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That was a losing strategy in 2022, and we may see more competitive statewide races as a result this fall.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":1,"content":"The 1st District race I noted earlier is a good example: Anti-abortion Republicans suffered a notable loss with Houck's decisive defeat in favor of incumbent Fitzpatrick, one of the most moderate Republicans in the U.S. House. So far, abortion has been a winning issue for Democrats, and it’s likely to be a defining issue in the race this fall — so Republicans are likely glad Fitzpatrick prevailed in this purple district.","idAttr":""},{"type":"ad","provider":"teads","position":"incontentTeads","id":2,"devices":["desktop","mobile","tablet"],"kvps":{}},{"type":"paragraph","id":3,"content":"—Monica Potts, 538","idAttr":""}],"inlines":[],"headline":"Final thought: I agree with Meredith","id":"109556226","linkText":"","pageType":"SinglePage","subHead":"","hasConnatix":true},"featuredVideo":null,"featuredImage":null,"dateModified":"2024-04-24T03:00:29Z","datePublished":"2024-04-24T03:00:41Z","renderingHints":[],"contentFlag":null,"wordCount":119,"readTime":"1 min read","config":{"showAds":true,"showComments":true,"showSponsoredLinks":true},"displayAdKeyValues":{"tag":"abcnews/538","objid":"109556226","pgn":"538","pgtyp":"story","lang":"en","sp":"abcnews","programmatic":"true","bundleId":"com.abcnews"},"metadata":{"timestamp":"2024-04-24T03:00:41Z","dateModified":"2024-04-24T03:00:29Z","sourceLine":"ABC News","title":"Final thought: I agree with Meredith","description":"","canonicalUrl":"https://abcnews.go.com","noIndexNoFollow":false},"canonical":"https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-i-agree-with-meredith-109556226?id=109523463","articleUrl":"https://abcnews.go.com","section":"538","announcementType":"","tracking":{"word_count":119,"media_on_page":"","article_id":"109523463","article_headline":"Pennsylvania primaries 2024: Lee and Fitzpatrick survive, matchups set for November","content_type":"liveblog post","position_number":-1,"global.TagID":"aclick_news06a","liveblog.post_headline":"Final thought: I agree with Meredith","liveblog.post_id":"109556226","by_line":"Monica Potts"},"inlines":[],"date":{"date":"2024-04-24T03:00:41Z","preFormat":"MMM DD, h:mm A z","postFormat":"MMM DD, h:mm A z","useShort":false,"text":"2024-04-24T03:00:41Z","threshold":4,"thresholdType":"hours"},"relativeDate":{"date":"2024-04-24T03:00:41Z","preFormat":"relative","postFormat":"MMM DD, h:mm A z","useShort":false,"text":"2024-04-24T03:00:41Z","threshold":4,"thresholdType":"hours"},"shareURLs":{"fb":"https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-i-agree-with-meredith-109556226?id=109523463","fbLabel":"Share to Facebook","fbAppId":"4942312939","twitter":"http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Final thought: I agree with Meredith - ABC News - https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-i-agree-with-meredith-109556226?id=109523463&via=ABC","twitterLabel":"Share to Twitter","twitterAmpLabel":"Final thought: I agree with Meredith - ABC News via @ABC -","email":"mailto:?subject=Final%20thought:%20I%20agree%20with%20Meredith&body=https%3A%2F%2Fabcnews.go.com%2F538%2Flive-updates%2Fpennsylvania-primaries-2024%2Ffinal-thought-i-agree-with-meredith-109556226%3Fid%3D109523463","emailLabel":"Email this article","emailType":"customemail","canonical":"https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-i-agree-with-meredith-109556226?id=109523463","shortLink":"https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-i-agree-with-meredith-109556226?id=109523463"}},{"id":"109555921","authors":[{"name":"Meredith Conroy","metaDescription":"Meredith Conroy is on ABC News. 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To “learn from loss” is to change tack after certain efforts proved failed. The failed effort in 2022 was when the GOP nominated Doug Mastriano for the governor's race, who proved to be too extreme for the state. In Pennsylvania today, the GOP avoided nominating some of the more extreme candidates on the ballot in the 1st and 7th Districts.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":1,"content":"—Meredith Conroy, 538 contributor","idAttr":""}],"inlines":[],"headline":"Final thought: Did Pennsylvania Republicans learn from loss?","id":"109555921","linkText":"","pageType":"SinglePage","subHead":"","hasConnatix":false},"featuredVideo":null,"featuredImage":null,"dateModified":"2024-04-24T02:55:21Z","datePublished":"2024-04-24T02:55:49Z","renderingHints":[],"contentFlag":null,"wordCount":90,"readTime":"1 min read","config":{"showAds":true,"showComments":true,"showSponsoredLinks":true},"displayAdKeyValues":{"tag":"abcnews/538","objid":"109555921","pgn":"538","pgtyp":"story","lang":"en","sp":"abcnews","programmatic":"true","bundleId":"com.abcnews"},"metadata":{"timestamp":"2024-04-24T02:55:49Z","dateModified":"2024-04-24T02:55:21Z","sourceLine":"ABC News","title":"Final thought: Did Pennsylvania Republicans learn from loss?","description":"","canonicalUrl":"https://abcnews.go.com","noIndexNoFollow":false},"canonical":"https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-did-pennsylvania-republicans-learn-from-loss-109555921?id=109523463","articleUrl":"https://abcnews.go.com","section":"538","announcementType":"","tracking":{"word_count":90,"media_on_page":"","article_id":"109523463","article_headline":"Pennsylvania primaries 2024: Lee and Fitzpatrick survive, matchups set for November","content_type":"liveblog post","position_number":-2,"global.TagID":"aclick_news06a","liveblog.post_headline":"Final thought: Did Pennsylvania Republicans learn from loss?","liveblog.post_id":"109555921","by_line":"Meredith Conroy"},"inlines":[],"date":{"date":"2024-04-24T02:55:49Z","preFormat":"MMM DD, h:mm A z","postFormat":"MMM DD, h:mm A z","useShort":false,"text":"2024-04-24T02:55:49Z","threshold":4,"thresholdType":"hours"},"relativeDate":{"date":"2024-04-24T02:55:49Z","preFormat":"relative","postFormat":"MMM DD, h:mm A z","useShort":false,"text":"2024-04-24T02:55:49Z","threshold":4,"thresholdType":"hours"},"shareURLs":{"fb":"https://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-did-pennsylvania-republicans-learn-from-loss-109555921?id=109523463","fbLabel":"Share to Facebook","fbAppId":"4942312939","twitter":"http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Final thought: Did Pennsylvania Republicans learn from loss? - ABC News - https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-did-pennsylvania-republicans-learn-from-loss-109555921?id=109523463&via=ABC","twitterLabel":"Share to Twitter","twitterAmpLabel":"Final thought: Did Pennsylvania Republicans learn from loss? - ABC News via @ABC -","email":"mailto:?subject=Final%20thought:%20Did%20Pennsylvania%20Republicans%20learn%20from%20loss?&body=https%3A%2F%2Fabcnews.go.com%2F538%2Flive-updates%2Fpennsylvania-primaries-2024%2Ffinal-thought-did-pennsylvania-republicans-learn-from-loss-109555921%3Fid%3D109523463","emailLabel":"Email this article","emailType":"customemail","canonical":"https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-did-pennsylvania-republicans-learn-from-loss-109555921?id=109523463","shortLink":"https://abcnews.go.com/538/live-updates/pennsylvania-primaries-2024/final-thought-did-pennsylvania-republicans-learn-from-loss-109555921?id=109523463"}},{"id":"109555909","authors":[{"name":"Tia Yang","metaDescription":"Tia Yang is on ABC News. 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And in perhaps the surprise of the night, the AP has projected Erin McClelland as the winner in the Democratic primary for state treasurer. McClelland overcame what seemed like a prohibitive fundraising deficit to best the party’s preferred pick, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro.","idAttr":""},{"type":"paragraph","id":1,"content":"And with that, we're about ready to wrap up! 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