The Chester County Democratic Party decided to take an endorsement vote in their two-way primary to fill the open seat left by Rep. Jim Gerlach’s retirement.
The first candidate in the race is Mike Parrish, a veteran and businessman who declared even before Gerlach retired. The second, is a familiar face in the Democratic primary for PA-6, Dr. Manan Trivedi.
The popular Gerlach won the House seat in 2012 with a very respectably 57.19% of the vote, defeating primary care physician Manan Trivedi by 14 points in the process.
Well Trivedi is back, giving it a third try — and this time he won’t have to face Gerlach
“It is because of Manan’s lifetime commitment to fighting for working families and improving education, true Democrat values, that I fully support him,” Democratic committeeperson Diane O’Dwyer said of the CCDP endorsement. “And I am sure the Chester County Democrats endorsed him by such a large majority for those very same reasons.”
Their support is influential in this primary as in PA-6, 42.7% of registered Democrats live in Chesco, 27.0% in Berks, 23.7% Montgomery and 6.6% Lebanon.
“Through thick and thin, the Chester County Democratic Party and its members have always been a strong supporter of my candidacy,” Trivedi said in response. “I cannot thank them enough and am honored for their awe-inspiring demonstration through their endorsement. I know that working together will be a key reason we are victorious in May and November.”
But Parrish got a head start over Trivedi in regards to fundraising and collecting endorsements. He notably has the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Philadelphia Democratic Committee Chairman, Bob Brady (PA-1). Also, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a fundraiser for Parish.
He did earn some support at the Chester County Dems meeting.
Dave Burton, the Democratic Mayor of the borough of Malvern, nominated Mike Parrish from the floor. Burton said, “I’m supporting Mike because Mike shares our values.” He also said he was supporting Mike because of Mike’s background and his real experience with jobs and economy in the district, and he knew that Mike would win in November because of that experience.
But Parish has received flak from both sides of the political spectrum for his recent switch from the Republican to Democratic party. Having donated money to Tom Corbett’s governor campaign and both Mitt Romney and John McCain’s presidential campaigns, many of Parish’s opponents see him as an opportunist.
On the Republican side, Ryan Costello, Chairman of the Chester County Board of Commissioners, has announced his candidacy and appears to be running unopposed for the Republican nomination. The Chester County GOP has officially endorsed Costello for the seat.
PA-6 leans only slightly to the right, with a R+2 partisan voting index according to a Cook Political Report. That means that this could end up being one of the most contentious House races in, not only the state, but the nation.
Both parties seem to understand how close this race could be.
The National Republican Campaign Committee launched a mock Mike Parish website while liberal-leaning Democrats threw their support behind Parish before Trivedi decided to run, even though Parish is a moderate Democrat at best.
Whatever the outcome, a Gerlach-style majority of over 57% of the vote is hard to image for 2014.