Chairman Schroy’s State Committee Endorsement Votes

Periodically, the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee will hold an endorsement vote before the May primary. The purpose of this vote is to see where the elected leaders of the Democratic Party stand and to put the weight of the Democratic Party behind a candidate going into the primary election.

Understandably, some Democrats believe that this stifles the voices of voters and artificially tips the scales in favor of better connected candidates, or even worse, props up a candidate who does not have a realistic chance of winning in November’s general election.

Let me start off by asserting that I believe the endorsement process is whole-heartedly fair and should be embraced by every county committee chair and state committeeperson in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Any motion to not endorse is inappropriate and leads to confusion amongst our base of supporters. It makes us look wishy-washy and as if we have something to hide.

A two-thirds majority is required to secure the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s endorsement. This means that the party is basically behind a single individual candidate, and there are enough of the various factions of the Democratic Party behind one candidate that all factions are essentially pleased.

This vote is not some first-past-the-post nonsense where a minority of the party gets to slip in a fringe candidate to suite their wishes. 66% of devoted, engaged, thoughtful Democratic Party county chairs and state committeepeople must agree.

Otherwise, there is no endorsement.

Further, the will of the voters ultimately triumphs. Despite a candidate hypothetically having the “establishment” backing in January, the nearly 4 million Pennsylvania Democrats in the Commonwealth still have their right to vote in the May primary. If they feel that their state committeemembers or county chairs made an error in endorsement, they can simply vote, volunteer, or donate to the candidate that they feel is superior.

After the primary we rejoin as a united front to defeat the Republican nominee in November. I genuinely believe all of our Democratic candidates are good people, good candidates, and good jurists. I will personally be satisfied with whomever is endorsed and whomever is nominated.

I just happen to like several candidates a bit more than the rest.

The endorsement process for the PADems is usually very close to the will of the Democratic voters, and the PADems typically endorse the eventual nominee. If you would like to reach out to me about this important upcoming vote on January 28th, feel free to reach out to me at CCSchroy@gmail.com or (717) 417-8841.

I firmly believe these candidates are the best to represent our party in 2023 for these critical judicial races.

Supreme Court – Debbie is Ready

For the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (SCOPA), I will vote for Debbie Kunselman.

Debbie has served on the bench honorably for 17 years. Beginning her career as a civil litigator, Debbie became the first female solicitor in Beaver County history, and then the first female on the Court of Common Pleas in her county. She was elected in 2017 to the Superior Court, and can win election in 2023.

As a party, we need to emphasize that running and winning statewide is a major plus. We cannot discount this huge asset, and Debbie’s credentials pair well with her ability to run and win a good campaign.

Superior Court – The Clear Top Two

Timika Lane and Jill Beck are the best two candidates for Superior Court.

Jill has done extensive work as a civil litigator and has fought tirelessly for marginalized communities. She previously ran for the 2021 nomination for the same office and unfortunately did not win.

Timika has served honorably in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and narrowly lost a spot on the Superior Court in 2021.

With the previous statewide campaign experience from these amazing women, victory in 2023 is much more likely.

Commonwealth Court – Bryan Neft

Neft has a nearly 30 year career in law under his belt, across many county’s in Pennsylvania. He’s previously served as clerk for the President Judge Emeritus of the Superior Court and has a deep commitment to fairness, equity and giving his clients a fair shot.

Coming from a working class family, Bryan has never forgotten his roots, and that’s exactly the type of Justice we need on any bench.

VOTE

Regardless of your thoughts on my endorsement vote this weekend, make sure you vote on May 16th. Our democracy requires a thriving, active, engaged electorate.

It is truly disheartening to see the voter turnout in “off-year” primary elections.

These judicial elections cannot be skipped. Important rights and liberty’s that have been hard-fought can and will be rolled back if Democrats do not show up at the ballot box in May and November.

Pay attention, get involved, vote, and help move America one step closer to that more perfect union.

Cameron Schroy,

Franklin County Democratic Committee

Chairman

State Politics Blog – Jan 15, 2023

The current count of state representatives by party is 101 Republicans to 99 Democrats. By the results of November’s election, Dems would have a 102-101 majority, but Rep. Tony DeLuca passed away, and Rep. Summer Lee and Rep. Austin Davis resigned their seats to join Congress and become Lt. Governor, respectively.

Together, the 101-99 Republican majority house elected Democratic member Mark Rozzi (Berks) Speaker. Rozzi, in a brief statement, said he would act as an “independent” and formally caucus with neither party (contrary to the claim by some Republicans, Rozzi never publicly stated he would change his party registration). It’s somewhat odd, given their numerical advantage, Republicans didn’t choose one of their own, but here we are.

This week, the Commonwealth Court ruled the special elections for three Allegheny state house seats will go ahead on Feb 7. House Republicans, led by Brian Cutler, could appeal to the state Supreme Court, but I believe the elections will happen as currently scheduled, giving Democrats a 102 (counting Rozzi) to 100 majority around the end of February or early March, when those Feb 7 elections are certified. The reason Republicans are expected to have only 100 at that point is another special election, for a vacant state senate seat, is expected to be won by a current Republican member of the state house on Jan 31.

So, as things appear, Democrats should hold a 102 (counting Rozzi) to 100 advantage until that (to be vacated) other House seat (in a + GOP district in rural central PA) is filled, likely during the May primary and certified in June. Numerous rank and file Democratic house members have claimed that once that happens, Democratic leader Joanna McClinton will replace Rozzi as Speaker.

The election of Rozzi as Speaker is important. He has issued few statements and answered fewer questions since his election, but his position is one that can exercise significant power. No vote, including the necessary Rules vote which will govern how the chamber operates, can come to the floor without his approval. After Republicans staged a photo op last week, Rozzi reportedly locked the doors to the Assembly chamber.

The Republican-majority state Senate passed a bill containing 3 constitutional questions (Expanded Voter ID requirements, Giving a simple state legislative majority the ability to overturn regulations, and Creating a one-time window for sexual abuse survivors to sue their abusers). While passed in one bill, those questions would appear on the May primary ballot as three independent questions. Republicans in the House would, likely, pass that same bill as is. A similar bill passed both the Senate and House last year, although that one included a provision designed to remove the ability of the state Supreme Court to identify any rights with respect to abortion procedures. Republicans seem to have no desire to bring that particular question up again, and it seems doubtful it would pass the slim majority GOP House if it were voted on.

In the meantime, Rozzi adjourned the House rather than let Republicans with their slim, temporary majority pass this same bill under their proposed Rules for the special session. Rozzi has appointed 3 members of each party (Republican Paul Schemel of Waynesboro is one of them) to a special committee to hammer out Rules so the Chamber can do its job and govern. If Republicans, as a block, want to demand a vote on the Senate bill before anything else, they can, effectively, shut down the state house. Likewise, as Speaker, Rozzi can simply keep the chamber adjourned until the special elections give Democrats a majority.

Rozzi, based on his status as a survivor and past support of the amendment, would apparently like to pass the Survivor amendment separately. If this does happen, I believe it would have to go back to the state Senate, which passed it in one bill along with the Voter ID and Regulation questions.

As I write this, the bipartisan Rules committee Rozzi appointed has yet to meet. We also have no insight as to how Rozzi will assign state house committee chairs and majority/minority members. It is possible, that without some sort of bipartisan consensus (at least one viewed so by Rozzi), that the state house remains out of session until Rozzi decides otherwise.

In other news, the state Senate has decided to indefinitely delay the impeachment trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. The Commonwealth Court recently ruled his impeachment in the house as invalid, given the proffered “charges” do not meet the constitutional and statutory requirements for impeachment. Apparently, being a Democrat and not liking their policies are not sufficient reason to impeach an elected official.

If you’d like to learn more about politics at the state Capitol, I suggest following Stephen Caruso and the other fine journalists at Spotlight PA. You can find them at:



https://www.spotlightpa.org/about/staff/

  • John Patterson, State Committee Member, 1/15/23

Statement from John Patterson on 2022 PA Dems Chair vote

On Saturday, I was proud to join with others and elect the first African-American Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party in its 230 year history. I’d like to take a minute to discuss my rationale for my vote.

Committee members were lobbied heavily by both Senator Street (who ran on his own accord) and Gerry Lawrence, an attorney from Delaware County, longtime State Committee member, and personal choice of gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro. I had the opportunity to speak with both. It was refreshing to hear both agree that for Democrats to win in November, we will need to run a 67 county campaign.

Where the two differed was in speaking to how they would organize that campaign and invest in those 67 counties. Senator Street believes that Democrats all over our state know how to turn out our neighbors to vote, and plans to raise funds specifically to donate them to county committees, including Franklin. A portion of a statement from Senator Street further summarizes my view that he understands the challenges Democrats will have winning elections this year and in the future:

“It has become clear that Black and Brown people in urban areas feel that the party has taken them for granted – that rural Democrats feel the party has forgotten about them – and progressive activists feel like they have no home in the party. I will focus much of my time as chair trying to engage these important Democratic constituencies helping them feel at home in the party.

Our party cannot simply be an extension of a statewide candidate’s campaign – it must prioritize engaging Democratic voters in every part of the state, building a foundation to elect good Democratic candidates on all levels of government, including school board members, township supervisors, county commissioners, and state legislators in the House and Senate.”

Ultimately, I voted to elect Senator Sharif Street because I believe he will be the most effective leader of our party this year and continuing into 2023 and 2024.

John Patterson
State Committee Member, Franklin County

Newly elected PA Dems Chair Sharif Street, his wife April, and outgoing Chair Nancy Mills