Democratic State Committee Wrap-Up

Pennsylvania Democrats met today in Hershey and narrowly endorsed Philadelphia Judge Joe Waters for Superior Court.  They also passed a resolution supporting President Obama’s common sense gun safety measures and sent one supporting a fracking moratorium back for revisions.  A proposed by laws change requiring all 67 county committees to adopt a uniform procedure for removing elected Committee persons is advancing.  I was told to leave the By Laws Committee meeting where it was discussed.  That, again, was a violation of the DNC Charter.

Numerous candidates held receptions last night.  Max Myers and John Hanger, both announced candidates for Governor next year, spoke with various State Committee persons for their long shot efforts.  Both Judicial candidates wined and dined the crowd and Lt. Governor candidate Brad Koplinski joined with the Young Dems for a late party in the lobby.

Former Congressman Tim Holden showed up today but wouldn’t say why.  When someone like that suddenly shows up it normally means they’re contemplating a run for some office.

Gubernatorial A-list candidates Rob McCord, Tom Wolf and Ed Pawlowski all milled around the hallways talking about their candidacies.  Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, while not availing herself of the chance to begin gaining valuable endorsement votes for next year, announced she is a candidate.  She hired State Party staffer Aubrey Montgomery immediately for her campaign.  Joe Sestak didn’t make an appearance.  If you’re a serious candidate you needed to be in Hershey this weekend.  The last two years there were only two meetings a year due to circumstances and a golden opportunity to begin talking to those who will be casting the endorsement votes in a year was critical.

Should Schwartz capture the nomination in what appears to be a strong field she wouldn’t run for re-election to Congress.  While legally able to do so from a practical standpoint she really can’t.  That’ll open that seat for State Sen. Daylin Leach.  While wholly supportive of Allyson Schwartz whatever she decides he is poised to succeed her if the opportunity arises.  Obviously it would be premature for him to come out and say so publicly.  Rep. Tim Briggs might be the obvious successor for his seat.  

When the Party went through its list of recently deceased members I half expected them to memorialize the current Governor’s deathly approval ratings (now 26%) and his chances for re-election.  Of course that’s why there’s such a strong field of contenders lusting for his position.

I was disappointed in Judge Waters.  He spent Friday telling people his opponent was anti-labor because some members of his law firm are.  In a large law firm you’ll have that.  What Waters did was guilt by association and showed me flaws in his character.  That would be akin to Mr. Wozcik saying that since Philadelphia Traffic Court Judges were indicted last week therefore Waters is also corrupt.  

Mayor Ed Pawlowski chatting with fellow Gubernatorial hopeful Tom Wolf:

Pawlowski and Wolf photo DSCN2521_zpsa47df23a.jpg

Democratic State Committee Friday Afternoon Sessions

I got to Hershey around 2 PM and sat through two Deminars which discussed circulating candidate’s nominating petitions and issue advocacy.  Election law attorney Adam Bonin conducted the first one on petitions and did a very good job.  That entire process is filled with land mines for candidates and though about fifty people attended I didn’t see many candidates there.  If you can’t get on the ballot winning an elected position is very difficult.

The second seminar had to do with building a campaign around a single issue and the battle over Voter ID was their focus,  It basically became a session where the State Democratic office staff gave themselves a (well earned) pat on the back for their efforts last year.

I milled around and spoke and chatted with numerous people.  There are some interesting ideas being tossed around for the early morning caucuses tomorrow.  A resolution against fracking is on the agenda and proposed by laws change which goes to the issues I had with Berks County Democrats in 2007 is proceeding.  Brad Kirsch from Bucks County is concerned about senior issues and Roger Lund of Gettysburg is concerned about the lack of openness of last year’s LGBT convention delegates.  I’ll be pursuing those two latter issues in more depth this weekend.

The Governor’s privatization of the lottery affects senior citizens directly and I haven’t seen much discussion over that point as yet.  Right now profits from the lottery fund programs for seniors.  The Guv is proposing using the billion dollars he expects to get from selling the state stores for education but that puts a $500 million hole in his General Funds budget.  The obvious place to get those funds would be the lottery.

The Women’s Caucus held a candidates forum between the two men looking for tomorrow’s endorsement for Superior Court.  With but 30 seconds to answer three questions there wasn’t much to discern from them other than individual styles.  The event was so short as to be useless.

Tonight receptions are being held all over the Hershey Lodge by various candidates.  That’s usually when things get interesting and people talk after downing a few drinks.