The 11th SD Special Election

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:

9 thoughts on “The 11th SD Special Election”

  1. While we’re waiting to see who will be picked, we can eliminate a few names.  On the Democratic side:  Berks County Commissioner Barnhardt, Berks County Democratic Party Chair Tom Herman, and Former Berks County Democratic Party Chair Bill Evans can not run.  On the Republican side:  Berks County Commissioners Scott and Leinbach, State Rep Sam Rohrer, former State Rep Dennis Leh, and Berks County Republican Chair Andrew Fick can not run.  All of the above live outside the district.

  2. Republican aspirants will be further motivated because the Rs control the PA Senate and have done so for more years than one wants to remember…even through 16 years of two Democratic administrations.

    More than a few of the Ds serving in that body (including Mike O’Pake) were enormously frustrated by their more or less permanent minority status.

    Whoever the ultimate Democratic candidate, he or she will likely find fund raising difficult since holding that seat will not be a senate game-changer nor have much effect on the minority’s already dismal numbers.

    The only hope is for the Berks Republicans to put up a clone of Delaware’s recent U.S. Senate candidate.

    Matt Thomas

  3. Also, what’s to prevent someone from moving into the district in order to qualify to run? Is there a minimum residency period requirement in PA? The idea is hardly unprecedented elsewhere.  

  4. Jozwiak lives in or near Leesport. I used to work there and would see him chewing the fat with the old Dutchies at the Turkey Hill on Rt. 61 in the morning when I got my AM coffee. I believe that his mother still lives in West Reading and if her house is in his name he could possibly use that address, depending on what constitutes a legal residence. Medaglia lives in Wyomissing if I am not mistaken but he may also have recently moved to West Reading. I’m sure one could check the Berks Assessment Office to see where these folks live if one was really curious.  

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