PA-7: Golderer Looks for His Opportunity
The pastor announced he was jumping into the race this week and yesterday I spoke to him about why he decided to take the plunge. In fact, the first question was literally why he wanted to run for Congress.
“A real aptitude and desire to be in service,” Golderer responded. “[To] use whatever leadership ability I might possess to improve other people’s lives. I feel like I’ve done a fair amount to make a difference and make people’s lives better.”
One of his principal worries is that voters are losing faith in the political system. “People are getting more and more cynical,” he observed.
Given he’s just days into the endeavor, this was a great chance to ask what’s it feels like to embark on an uncertain adventure.
“[It’s] very hard to put down things you have poured your heart and soul into” Golderer said of the local projects he has led and worked for. The most difficult aspect was convincing others that he could better aid the community through political service.
“There’s a lot of people I’ve yet to meet because I’m not a career politician,” he conceded. “This is a new arena for me and I’m trying to learn it as I go and be curious about it.”
The biggest burden, especially for first-time candidates, is the tremendous time and effort that must be spent to raise enough money to sustain a campaign. When asked about this, Golderer admitted it is not one of the easiest or most joyous parts of the job.
“It’s daunting and I think it’s one of things that makes people very cynical about our political process.”
Nonetheless he emphasized that “financial support follows vision”, asserting that fundraising was just an extension of the entire endeavor.
According to Jonathan Tamari of the Inquirer, the DCCC recruited Golderer to run in PA-7 despite the fact that two Democratic candidates have already declared. The pastor felt that they were looking for someone with a record of achievement outside the realm of politics.
“I’ve always been very passionate about our electoral process. I think that word traveled down I-95 to the DCCC.”
I asked him about being both a pastor and a Democrat during a period when the more religious members of society increasingly identify as Republicans. He pointed to former Congressman Bob Edgar, a minister who represented the 7th district from 1975 to 1987, as a role model. Like Rep. Edgar, he wants his actions to speak loudest.
“I have a desire to make a difference that happens to be motivated by my faith commitments.”
“What I’m interested in is the transformation of society,” he continued. “I’m interested in a more equitable and more just and more inclusive society. And I feel like more and more people are not just cynical about politics but about organized religions.”
Additionally, Golderer said that he is pro-choice and talked about advising people who were going through that decision. He also identified as a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary while also praising Bernie Sanders.
“I think Hillary will be the next great President, I really believe that,” he declared.
When asked what his main issues would be, Golderer identified increasing opportunity as the central goal of his campaign.
“Everything that I have worked on so far has to do with this idea of opportunity,” he answered while mentioning his two sons. “Do we believe that there will be opportunity for people that do not find themselves in the most fortunate circumstances?”
“The theme is opportunity,” he went on. “I want everyone’s child to have the opportunity to flourish and thrive. I feel like right now we’re teetering on the edge of people giving up on the idea that there will be opportunity for everyone.”
2014 nominee Mary Ellen Balchunis and 24 year-old wunderkind Lindy Li are also competing for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent GOP Congressman Pat Meehan is running for his fourth term. The 7th district includes most of Delaware County as well as parts of Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Lancaster Counties.