There’s speculation already about the special election which will be necessary to fill Mike O’Pake’s State Senate seat. Daylin Leach is in charge of the Senate Campaign Committee so perhaps a better effort can be done than those done by Democrats in the two previous efforts. Neither of those garnered more than around 35% of the vote. I don’t see that record being broken here unless former Berks Commissioner Judy Schwank runs. Democrats in Reading simply don’t vote and in a special election turnout will be beyond dismal. On the other hand Republicans remain energized and motivated. Outside Reading, Mt. Penn and Muhlenberg this is a GOP district. Erase the voters in Reading who’ll remain home and this bodes ill for Dems.
The entire district is within Berks County so only that County Committee will determine the candidate. There is no set procedure for filling seats so it will be up to County Chair Tom Herman who rides roughshod over rules, procedures and opponents. Tom Caltagirone and Mel Fishburn of IBEW really run things behind the scenes and no candidate will get approved unless they fell they’ll control him/her. Should someone outside wish to run they’ll simply determine a process which will freeze them out. I expect the Executive Committee, restructured to be Herman’s Duma, to rubber stamp a nominee and disenfranchise the Committee as a Whole. This will create even further dissension in a Party which Herman has already decimated. What remains of the Democratic Party in Berks is a small coterie of people the Toms control. They’ve driven everyone else out so this special election will be an enormous embarrassment for Democrats accustomed to cruising to 70% totals in this race.
Here’s a map of the district I pulled from the Senator’s web page: