When TJ Rooney stepped down as Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party I supported a reform minded successor. Last spring we here at TPP exposed a sham process for selecting a candidate to run for Jack Murtha’s Congressional seat after his death. The State Party rigged the process and we caught them red handed. Interestingly, now that another Democratic lawmaker dies at the hands of a surgeon (conspiracy theories anyone???) we’re seeing the same old crap from the new Chair. Jim Burn is supporting Tom Herman’s violation of the DNC Charter by agreeing to close Saturday’s meeting. Berks County Committee people in the 11th State Senate District will vote on a nominee to succeed the late Michael O’Pake. Burn and Herman want a completely closed process where they can present but one candidate for unanimous approval. No questions for the candidate or candidates will be allowed and no press is being allowed.
What are they trying to hide? Republicans held an open forum for the public last night where several hundred people turned out to ask questions of six men interested in the seat. It appears anyone interested was allowed by GOP Chair Andrew Fick to step forward and see what support they can raise. The Democrats, by contrast have been doing everything in the background. Committee people in the 11th have no idea what is going on and no one knows who might be expressing interest.
It is the job of the Chairs to insure a fair and open process for everyone. It is not up to them to determine who they think is the best or strongest candidate. That is up to all the Democrats of the district. Each of them has a right to express their support and ask questions of ALL interested in running so THEY can determine, for themselves, who they want representing them in Harrisburg. Its a simple concept, its called democracy.
Jim Burn promised he’d be better and that the nonsense of the past would end under his leadership. he has failed his first test in that regard. State and local by laws cannot violate the national Charter of the Democratic Party. If Burn’s legal adviser cannot determine that to be the case they need a competent new lawyer.
The Democratic Party is being shamed and embarrassed by this entire back room wheeling and dealing. As for the committee people, I warned you…