BREAKING: Burn Resigns as Dems Party Chair (VIDEO)

The PA Democratic Party’s long internal struggle is over.

Chairman Jim Burn is resigning.

Burn filmed a two and a half minute YouTube video to explain his reasoning. He started by acknowledging the controversy that has surrounded his tenure over the last year or so.

After winning the Democratic nomination, Gov. Wolf tried to install Katie McGinty as Chair. Burn resisted and Wolf chose to start a PAC to act as his own party-in-exile.

“The conversation about the future of the party and my future as your chairman has continued to resonate,” Burn said. “I had hoped that by now the conversation would have ended. Unfortunately it has not.”

Burn cited that lingering cloud over his head as his reason to resign.

“We can not afford to have the story be about Jim Burn,” he stated. “We need to move this conversation and I’m choosing to be the person to move this conversation.”

He will submit a letter of resignation at the party’s Gettysburg meeting on Sept. 12th. There was no indication about who Burn’s successor will be.

July 21st, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 33 Comments

33 thoughts on “BREAKING: Burn Resigns as Dems Party Chair (VIDEO)”

  1. Chris says:

    @anybody but Marcel. Yes, Wolf should have done those things, Dan did and none of this happened in 2010. Rendell was mad he didn’t get his choice and tried it again. The committee chose Burn and spit in Rendell’s face 2x.

  2. Chris says:

    @watcher, Onorato’s and Wolf’s people called the committee prior to the vote, could not sway the committee. Onorato said he was neutral and Wolf went to the press. Marcel tried to run too but couldn’t get the support he needed. I guess this is the only way he could win. I’m sorry, but it never made any sense to me that a committee would change chairs based on a candidates choice. Some of it’s members served for years and then are ordered by someone(who never served as a member) to appoint another person to head their committee(who was never part of the committee). How does that work for the betterment for any organization? The appointed person then leaves the post after the election. This process of ” If we don’t get who we want, you will get no money” has to stop. These chairs who are appointed do nothing for it’s members they serve, it’s in title only and they are given money and told what to do and who to hire.

  3. watcher says:

    @Chris– Huh? You say Onorato supported Kim Bracey, then say he stayed out of it. Which is it? Bracey didn’t run. Neither did McGinty. By that theory, Wolf stayed out of it too. Your statement makes no sense.

  4. Anybody But Marcel says:

    Chris — Regardless of Rendell, Wolf could have acted like a gracious mature man when his suggested pick for chair wasn’t chosen. He could have shown up at State Committee, spoken to people with respect, and shaken Jim Burn’s hand at the podium. Instead he acted like a spoiled little child and took all his marbles and went home, or rather he went over to the now-decayed “Fresh Start.” And the General Assembly went redder than ever due to his lack of coattails, now he’s dealing with the results. If Rendell is behind any or all this, shame on him and shame on Wolf for caving to Rendell and allowing it to happen in his campaign. People are tired of these self-aggrandized Democratic Party big shots, who would rather hang on to power and control for themselves than win elections.

  5. Chris says:

    I have to laugh at these comments. It is actually Rendell’s choice, not Tom Wolf. Onorato did not hand pick Burn, he supported Kim Bracey(also,Rendell’s choice). Just like Mcginty, Bracey couldn’t get the votes. Onorato chose to stay out of it unlike Tom Wolf. This is all about Rendell, always was…

  6. Anybody But Marcel says:

    Rules, not “tradition” is what should be followed. Wolf should have respected the rules, and should have respected the elected members of his State Committee who have the right to choose their chair under those rules. A lot of people thought Wolf was above petty politics and worked extra hard to get him elected specifically because he was different than the normal self-centered politician. Well, we won’t be so gullible next time.

  7. David Diano says:

    Mike-

    “Nonetheless, it was still Wolf’s choice to make”

    NO. NO. NO. It was his suggestion to offer. It was the State Committee Members’ choice to make. Those are the RULES!!!!

    The HDCC is run separately and has been a giant funnel of money to cronies and special interests with the election of candidates being one of the least important priorities. Hopefully that will change.

    Given the criticism of Fresh Start’s failure to help state rep candidates and the criticisms (fair or unfair) of McGinty as Chief of Staff, it’s not a foregone conclusion that she would have done better. But, the committee felt that Burn had done a good enough job during Republican wave years to earn another term over McGinty.

    It was their call to make, not Wolf’s.

  8. Mike Panza says:

    Hi David:

    I hear your thoughts, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. If every other Gubernatorial nominee in the last 20+ years has picked a State Party chair to serve during their campaign, Wolf should have been able to do the same. It’s common for the pick to serve 6 months between the primary and general election, as McGinty would have done. If the Gubernatorial nominee does not win the general election, State Committee usually elects their own pick for Chair at the winter meeting.

    Ironically, I did not support Wolf in the primary, and McGinty would not have been my own personal pick for Party Chair. Nonetheless, it was still Wolf’s choice to make, and I stand by my view of that.

    As for the state level HDCC/SDCC, I never said they weren’t ineffectual. I simply said I hold the State Party Chair *himself* responsible for the results of the last few years. You can’t blame ALL of that on HDCC. PA Dems lost control of significant seats in 2010 and 2014, plus lost control of 13 different counties in 2013 on Jim Burn’s watch.

    The buck stops here.

  9. David Diano says:

    Mike-

    The RULES and the decision of the ELECTED state committee members supersedes “tradition”. Had Wolf made a different pick, he probably would have gotten it. There was a lot of committee members who just didn’t want McGinty, who was going to quit the job after the election anyway to be on Wolf’s staff. The committee wanted someone who actually wanted the job for 4 years.

    Also, you completely ignored the terrible HDCC that has been completely ineffectual. Maybe the new HDCC leadership will do better than its predecessors.

  10. Mike Panza says:

    David Diano:

    Again, I was referring solely to offices we held (and subsequently lost) when Jim Burn became Party Chair in June of 2010. Burn was hand selected by the Gubernatorial nominee, Dan Onorato. Burn obviously was a huge supporter of Onorato. We lost the Governor’s office with Burn’s buddy Onorato.

    I do hold Jim Burn accountable for our losses on his watch. Why? Because that’s what a good, strong, party boss is supposed to do: maintain the offices you ALREADY HOLD, while trying to expand the map.

    As for 2014, PA tradition has always dictated that the Gubernatorial nominees of both parties are allowed to pick a State Party Chair. In 2002, Rendell choose Allen Kukovich after winning the primary, and then choose TJ Rooney after winning the general election.

    We got stuck with Burn after Onorato picked him in 2010. Wolf should have been allowed to pick his own State Party Chair, either after the primary or the general election.

    Burn was a terrible Chair, and I hold him 100% accountable for the current state of the party.

  11. contactsport says:

    Maybe some of you could consider that the former party leaders want to control the DNC convention. This has little to do with JB’s abilities as chairman. This is all about power. This is all about the convention and the contracts and kickbacks and who gets on stage to wave and bow. This is crap and a distraction which the Dems don’t need right now. We have elections to win, and issues to discuss. We don’t need this infighting, and we certainly don’t need it NOW. If this were anything serious, Wolf and Burn should come to some agreement that he would stay at least thru this election cycle. But there is too much at stake for the former leadership. they want their power back and they want to control the delegate selection and they want to control the glory. I expect there will be a huge fight in September. Again, not what Dems need but many will not go silently into the night to accept a top down chair after we have had a fair and flexible chair in JB. The blame for losing elections goes to HDCC/SDCC and the lack of support to our state rep candidates by Wolf

  12. Anybody But Marcel says:

    A total joke and a fake? Oh Fred, I see you are talking about Marcel.

  13. Fred says:

    Such a total joke and a fake. No one has ever taken him seriously. Good riddance.

  14. Mama Bear says:

    Good riddance. There are plenty of State Committee members that do not fawn all over Jim Burn. It takes more to run a party than just going to county dinners in the T.

  15. David Diano says:

    Mike Panza-

    The 2010 Gov and Senate candidates were selected in the primary before Burn took office.

    The 2014 loses fall into two areas of blame. The feckless HDCC failed to even field democratic challengers for about a dozen seats with parity or better democratic party registration.

    The rest of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Tom Wolf and his merry band of misfits for refusing to help legislative candidates as part of their “appeasement strategy” with the GOP, and for refusing to work with the state party.

    The state committee members were elected by the voters. They did not like Wolf’s recommended pick. Despite a traditional of accommodating the nominee’s pick, there was a strong feeling against her. Wolf should have respected the committee, and not acted like a spoiled child when he didn’t get his way.

  16. Mike Panza says:

    @Happy Valley, I was only using seats we held when Burn took office, and then lost.

    Certainly, we lost numerous other races in addition to this.

  17. Happy Valley says:

    @ Mike Panza

    Dems lost also
    –3 PA Senate seats last year alone,
    –Sestak’s Senate race,
    –2 of 3 state appeals court races, and
    –likely to lose at least 3 of 5 appeals seats this year.

    Burn’s loyalists haven’t heard him yell at women staff or caught him backstabbing candidates.

  18. Anybody But Marcel says:

    Well I guess the petulant crybaby Tommyboy Wolf (and his handlers) got what he (they) wanted. Looking forward to watching more Democratic State Committee meetings go down without no quorum like they did under Rendell’s last stooge TJ Rooney. No reason for the rank and file members to attend with Marcel as Chair; he’ll just force them do what his puppetmasters want.

  19. Mike Panza says:

    On this man’s watch (Since June of 2010) the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has lost:

    – The 2010 Gubernatorial race
    – 6 Congressional seats
    – 21 State House seats
    – 13 County Commissioner majorities
    – Plus 1 additional Congressional seat due to redistricting

    There are currently 80 Democrats in the Pennsylvania House. The last time the number was that low, Herbert Hoover was President.

  20. John says:

    If Marcel is elected new Party Chair I wounder if he will be wearing an Orange suit to Gettysburg??????

  21. state comm member says:

    My observation since watching from the sidelines with TJ and with
    JB is that many, many comm. members approved of JB being Chairman, I am not
    in the loop to hear about or know about any deals, JB always heard our ?”s
    and was very prompt with his thoughts and directions. As many other comm members wish him well, I do likewise and now will view from afar to see what/who takes over…..GO IN PEACE, J B , GO IN PEACE….

  22. OBserVER says:

    @DD yes, that…plus an appointment to a Congressional committee regarding election reform.

  23. anonymous says:

    @DD – I heard Obama offered him Secretary of the Navy…

    Oh wait… did someone else already use that lie?

    😉

  24. David Diano says:

    Observer-

    You are posting anonymously anyway. If you know the “deal” as you claim, just post it.

    At Allentown, I heard a rumor that the “deal” was a position on some committee for the DNC convention. No confirmation or specifics on the duties, but that’s what I heard.

    So, feel free to confirm, deny or substitute with your own “deal” rumor.

  25. jake o. says:

    Thanks for your service chairman, you have done a good job.The thing I like most is you got guts,more than I can say about others in the party,good luck in whatever you decide to do.

  26. David Diano says:

    The next chairman will have to deal with Pawlowski fallout. That doesn’t look like it’s going to be fun.

  27. OBserVER says:

    Go on the record? Come on, now. I think it’s up to Jim Burn to go on the record with what the deal was. Or the person who made the deal with him. I know what the deal was, but I’m not the person who should be revealing it.

  28. A Real Democrat says:

    What’s the deal? What was the deal? Put up, or shutup. Get me somebody on record. Go ahead and try.
    All the lies that the Isenhour/Rooney firm churn out really churn my stomach.

  29. OBserVER says:

    Stop the nonsensical talk that he didn’t take a deal. Are you serious????

  30. Isaac L. says:

    A Real Democrat – Jim Burn wasn’t offered a deal. The word on the street is he asked for one, was refused, and so refused to step down. The sad part is his successes are now moot as he’s effectively ended his political career in the Commonwealth. He benefited from the system in 2010 when Onorato named him and then he bucked that same system to his own detriment. The irony is, if he hadn’t gotten greedy, I could have seen him making a strong bid for judge. The whole thing is just a shame.

    Unknown – this is hardly a bad thing for the PA Dems. They can finally move beyond this saga.

    PoliticsPA named Marcel Groen the best county chair of either party not long ago. He certainly isn’t the worst choice.

  31. Delco Diaspora says:

    Marcel Groen is next chair…5 years later. I guess this is the only way he could win

  32. Unknown says:

    Kathleen Kane indicted by a grand jury. Rob McCord arrested, pleads guilty and cooperates with the feds. FBI raids in Allentown and Reading and subpoenas to longtime Democratic Party financiers (including Hillary Clinton’s staunch ally, Alan Kessler). A budget fiasco. Jim Burn resigns. Could it possibly get any worse for the PA Democratic Party?

    Unfortunately, it can. And it will.

  33. A Real Democrat says:

    “We won! We got Burn to go! State Committee is full of suckers who will elect whatever stooge is chosen by Governor Rendell, uh, um, I mean, Isenhour, geez, Wolf!, yea, that’s the ticket!”
    That’s the kind of glee coming from the sycophants in Harrisburg right now. Marcel’s got to be thrilled at the opportunity for more self-aggrandizement – just hope he doesn’t end up in a jail cell with his buddy Pawlowski.
    BUT big congratulations to Jim Burn who didn’t take a deal, didn’t beg for mercy from Rendell, but showed he’s the only real Democrat concerned about electing Democrats in this group of weasels and hangers-on. The rank and file are still with you, Mr. Chairman.

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