DSC Roundup: The Campaign for Chair

Democratic State Committee officials have the chance to install a new leader for a four-year term today.

The election would end months of uncertainty and provide stability in a crucial election year after the last several chairs have seen their terms end in controversy.

But there is also a possibility they could punt, delaying a decision until after the election.

Four candidates are in the running: Sheri Morgan of Franklin County, Chuck Pascal of Armstrong County, Jacque Whaumbush of Philadelphia and current Vice Chair Nancy Mills of Allegheny County.

Mills is running on an unofficial ticket with vice chair candidate, state Sen. Sharif Street of Philadelphia, and treasurer candidate Alex Reber of Dauphin County.

Mills has long been considered the party leaders’ choice.

She has promised to be an independent chairwoman if elected, but some within the party feel her ties to the governor are a weakness and could give the state’s No. 1 Democrat too much power.

Interim Chairman Jack Hanna is moving out of state and had agreed to take the leadership position only on a temporary basis after the resignation of former chair Marcel Groen.

Groen was ousted by Wolf for inadequate handling of sexual harassment allegations against other top state Dems. Groen’s predecessor, Jim Burn, made waves after he refused to step aside for Wolf’s first pick, Katie McGinty.

Democrats said they want to move beyond these issues, but some expressed concern that hard feelings over Saturday’s vote could derail down-ballot campaigns, especially at a time when Democrats look to capitalize on building momentum heading into the fall.

“And some are just upset they’re being told what to do” by Wolf, one member said.

While there are whispers of a resolution asking for a delayed vote, some see the upside: Postponing a vote for a new chairperson would make Mills the interim chairwoman without giving her a four-year term. This would keep the governor happy and would give the committee a chance to make their selection for a permanent chair after election season ends and the committee meets in winter.

Some said this option might be appealing, especially considering a large portion of the state party’s membership is new — one attendee estimated as high as 35 to 40 percent — and those members do not know much about any of the people running to lead them.

While some see the benefit of this plan, the four candidates drew a large and enthusiastic crowd to their forum Friday evening.

Some of those in attendance said they were aware of the possibility of a delayed vote, but there were also those who want to focus on the big picture for November and urged members to get beyond past personal disputes.

Sen. Street, for his part, said he believes the Pa. Dems will move forward.

“They’re more concerned that if we don’t come together, if we don’t get our act together, we’re going to miss an opportunity,” he said. “We could have a little Trump sitting in the governor’s mansion.”

Some committee members agreed the governor has not “played politics” well as the state’s top Democrat, and has tried to exert too much control.

But there is also overwhelming support for his performance as governor.

Some said they believe this weekend is a chance for a collective airing of grievances before they come together to support a new chairperson, and that will help the party as a whole moving into November.

June 16th, 2018 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Senate | 30 Comments

30 thoughts on “DSC Roundup: The Campaign for Chair”

  1. NortheastYoungDem says:

    None of the elected officers will make a difference. They’re all clueless hacks, some of them voluntarily so. I’d much rather take Marcel Groen. At least Sheri Morgan, Chuck Pascal, and Jacque Whaumbush acted and sounded like Democrats should. We’ll win the war eventually.

    1. StevenTodd says:

      I’ve known Alex Reber for about ten years. He is one of the more knowledgeable and dedicated Democrats I’ve ever met. I’d bet same is true of the other two.

      Best luck to all. Even though I campaigned for Sheri, I look forward to you and your wise appointments to run a sound party.

  2. kate says:

    Question – can a State Committee Staffer openly campaign for the Chair? Wouldn’t that be a conflict of interest? Are there consequences for this persons actions? I watched this all unfold on Friday night and I was appalled.

    1. Friend of democracy says:

      Yes, it is a conflict of interest. I am making a written complaint about this type of thing to the National Committee and to the Pa Party. I am using the PA Dems recently adopted Code of Conduct to guide my complaint.

      1. StevenTodd says:

        At the County level, any registered Dem can run for Chair. I would imagine it is that way at State too, but I don’t know. If it is so, then I can’t see what the grounds of complaint would be.

        To file a complaint, you’d have to sign the thing, at a bare minimum. Or I would hope so.

        1. kate says:

          The grounds of the complaint is – PA Dems Staff were told to stay neutral, but you had a party staffer openly campaigning for one of the 4 Chairs. Not good, not good at all. This is not the first time this staffer has done this.

          1. John says:

            How was the staffer???

  3. Baaaaaaaa says:

    Congratulations to all PA State Committee members on electing its first Goat to lead the party! Does this mean we will be voting @ next State Committee meeting to discontinue the trademark Donkey? Decisions, Decisions……

  4. Kay says:

    I can’t believe State Committee voted this 78 year old hack to lead the party forward. Was she elected because she was Wolf’s choice?
    She was awful here in Allegheny County, tried to rig a vote 10 days before her re-election bid….She is unknown here in AC to people uninvolved in the party. I tried to google her speeches and could only come up with 1 lame Steve Irwin Political animals interview for which I watched for 10 seconds before I was thoroughly bored. I have seen her on Nighttalk about 2 times and turned that off too.
    This is what you voted to move the Democratic Party forward??
    I can assure you this Super voter D will not be voting to re-elect Wolf. It’s quite clear now that he needs to go so we can have 4 years to reorganize our party from bottom up.

    1. David Diano says:

      After November, Wolf won’t need the PA Dems any more and will probably ignore them (and stop sending money as well).

    2. Don Providence says:

      Elect Wagner to pwn the establishment Dems, good strategy. You just summed up why State Committee is worthless; you wonder why no one pays any attention to it…

  5. JimmyPage says:

    Is it just me or has anyone ever seen Chuck Pascal and Angus Young in the same place at the same time? I heard ACDC was playing Hershey Park.

  6. Privileged few says:

    During the first ever executive officers candidate forum, a prominent DNC member sitting in the front row, rushed the stage wagging her finger while screaming and calling one of the Chair candidates a liar. Guess the PA Democratic Party Code of Conduct does not apply to elite, establishment types. Shameful and possibly libelous.not

    1. PapaBear says:

      Sounds like batshit Peggy Grove is off her meds.

    2. Bruce slater says:

      Does anyone really believe that the Peggy Groves of State Committee will allow a fair and open process when it comes to electing a chair or DNC members.

      1. Peggy Groves Fair Election She Won says:

        Peggy rambled on how she basically won an election that had the most diverse candidates ever, in the most fair election EVER held.
        Friday at new officers meeting she belittled a memeber for making a comment. Note to organizers. Don’t let her run any sessions or hold any position. She should be embarrassed of her actions, however I doubt she’s even cognizant of what she’s doing and how it hurts the party.

  7. SwampFox says:

    The Second biggest losers in all this (PaDems being #1) are Fitzgerald and Doyle. They threatened County Committee people to support Nancy for County Chair and it blew up in their face. Nobody in the State Party really knows either of them nor did they ever care to know them.

    They propped Nancy up in Allegheny County and ran the County Party into the ground while she smiled and spoke incoherently.

    Now, they can’t do shit and Nancy is out there where her two clown sponsors have no juice or relevance.

    And now that the Doyle/Fitz clown car is no more in Allegheny County, they have nothing to hold onto but each other.

    That grinding sound you hear is the DSA sharpening their knives for both these fading losers.

  8. yerkiddenright says:

    They shoulda elected The Prtriot News’ John Micek. He’s been carrying the party’s water for years.

  9. StevenTodd says:

    …And Nancy wins. As I feared.

    1. Tales from the dark side... says:

      Yes Steve, the crypt keeper won….

  10. David Diano says:

    Every honest/informed PA Dem knows that Wolf doesn’t give a sh*t about the down-ticket candidates, despite the obvious problems he’s having with a nearly veto-proof GOP majority. (Which begs the question if Wolf has any goal beyond being Gov, and having no legislative accomplishments.)

    The PA Dems are something that Wolf has to put up with, and use for his own ends. Wolf wants lackeys, puppets and sycophants running the show for his benefit. Kissing Wolf’s @ss should be the last consideration in making a choice.

    At the meeting, the outgoing treasurer recommended that the PA Dems follow the rules and hire a CPA to audit the books.

    Interim chair and treasurer were unable to get to the bottom of uber-gate, and the $3,000 uber ride (possibly a bus) and the multiple charges/rides over $500.

  11. StevenTodd says:

    I wish the three Bernie folks had gotten together prior, to see if some might have stepped down to help
    The other. I fear that those three might now split that vote, handing it to the establishment and Nancy. I hope that does not happen.

    1. Kathleen M Albright says:

      I think you are right, and as one of those candidates reminded quite a few people that he had 30 years experience in State Committee, it has me questioning any endorsements grom this person in the future

      1. kate says:

        Question – can a State Committee Staffer openly campaign for the Chair? Wouldn’t that be a conflict of interest? Are there consequences for this persons actions? I watched this all unfold on Friday night and I was appalled.

        1. StevenTodd says:

          At the County level, any registered Dem can run for Chair. I would imagine it is that way at State too, but I don’t know.

  12. Adriana Aspinwall says:

    Since Ms. Mills lost her Allegheny County Chairmanship. it will be interesting to see how many of the county’s state committee members who are also county committee members will support her for Chair? I am predicting all.

    1. Answer Desk says:

      All but 3

  13. GlamourshotsNancy says:

    Our party will not move forward by installing Nancy Mills. She still believes in 1950’s style politics. Her becoming chair at any value further verifies the State party’s irrelevance.

    1. WesternChaos says:

      State Committtee is negligent in its duties if it elects Nancy who was overwhelmingly rejected by over 600 committee people in her own back yard.

  14. MickyBlueEyes says:

    Everything was running smoothly until Wolf was nominated for Governor. He then followed the half-assed advice of Mary HappyHour and tried to push the Party around. It’s been a shot show ever since, plain and simple.

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