Dem Winter State Committee Preview

Hershey LodgeDemocratic winter state committee: where people who want to be Governor buy you drinks!

Democrats have a lot to celebrate – especially compared to 2011’s dreary winter meeting. The party took every statewide office and 3 new state Senate seats in November, and Gov. Corbett’s numbers have all of them chomping at the bit.

Committee members and activists from across the state will gather in Hershey to plot their effort to take the Guv’s mansion (and the state House and congressional delegation, where they got shut out).

They’ll also endorse for Pa. Superior Court.

Republicans are also meeting this weekend, a little ways down the road in Harrisburg.

Stories to watch:

2014 Gov-stakes

Who attends this weekend will go a long way toward indicating who plans to try and challenge Gov. Corbett next year.

Will Allyson Schwartz show up? Joe Sestak?

State committee meetings are a great place for prospective candidates to network, and between the open bar receptions and good old fashioned schmoozing expect to see several of the possible candidates. The two declared Guv candidates (John Hanger, the former DEP Secretary, and Max Myers, the Cumberland County pastor) are hosting receptions.

Brad Koplinski, the Harrisburg City Councilman running for LG, is hosting a hospitality suite with the Pa. Young Dems.


This will be an interesting referendum on the east-west balance of power in the Pa. Dems. For some time, Philly Judge Joe Waters has looked like a lock on the Pa. Superior Court endorsement. But in the final hours before the weekend, Allegheny County attorney Michael Wojcik threw his hat in the ring. Waters has not one but two receptions on the agenda, and Wojcik just announced his own hospitality suite.

Here’s the full schedule:


Party business
2:00 pm to 2:30 pm – DEMINAR: Circulating Petitions 101 – Crystal A Room
2:45 pm to 4:15 pm – DEMINAR: Coordinating around Issues: Voter ID Case Study – Crystal A Room
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm – Credential Table – Confection Lobby
4:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Women’s Caucus Silent Auction – Confection Lobby
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm – Caucus Chairs Meeting – Magnolia C Room

Candidates Forum and Open Table “We The Women” presented by the Women’s Caucus
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Second Star Society Members Only Victory Dinner
Aztec Room Chocolate Ballroom
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

This is the big, official dinner. State officials will speak.

“A Sweep is Sweet in Hershey Celebration”
Nigerian Room Chocolate Ballroom
8:00 pm to 9:30 pm

This is a dessert reception for state committee members (who get in free) by Chairman Jim Burn.

John Hanger for Governor reception
Cocoa Suite 2
9:30 – 11:00 pm

First Pa. Society and now Dem state committee, John Hanger is pushing the reception circuit. Meet the former DEP Secretary and environmental advocate who wants to challenge Corbett.

Max J. Myers for Governor “Restoring Pennsylvania” reception
Cocoa Suites 3
9:30 – 11:00 pm

Not sure who Max Myers is? Here’s your chance to find out.

Meet and greet with Judge Joe Waters
Cocoa Suite 6
9:30 – 11:00 pm

He’s been pounding the pavement for several weeks in pursuit of the nomination; here’s his first of two efforts to seal the deal this weekend.

A “Superior” Hospitality Suite with Michael Wojcik
Room 5827-1
9:30pm – ?

Attorney Wojcik formerly worked for Rick Fitzgerald and Dan Onorato, and he’s hoping his geographic base will help him secure the nomination. Here’s his first introduction to state committee.

Hospitality Suite with Brad Koplinski and the Pa. Young Democrats
Room: TBD
Time: TBD

Stay tuned for details on this one; the Young Dems throw the best parties.


Have a cup of Joe with Judge Joe Waters
Confection Lobby
7:00 am to 9:00 am

Here’s Joe’s round 2.

Party business
8:30 am to 11:30 am – Credential Table – Confection Lobby
8:00 am to 9:00 am – Constituency Caucuses
9:00 am to 10:00 am – Standing Committees
10:00 am to 10:30 am – Executive Board Meeting – Empire CD Room
10:00 am to 11:00 am – Young Democrats Meeting – Tower Suite 1
10:30 am to 11:30 am – County Chairs Meeting – Empire CD Room
11:30 am to 12:30 pm – Regional Caucuses

Winter Meeting
Nigerian/Trinidad Room – Chocolate Ballroom

This is the official meeting, when party members will vote on an endorsement for Pa. Superior Court.

4 Responses

  1. Proud-

    The state party tends to focus on “Harrisburg”, so it’s Gov race, and St. Leg/Sen in the even years. However, the party should be donating resources or organizing help for the local races. The party should be sponsoring more voter registration drives (and not just rely upon presidential candidates to do that work every 4 years).

    If the goal really is to build the party, they should be doing more at the grassroots level to build the committee system, be more proactive with Dem committee chairs.

    Also, the state party tends to ignore candidates in some counties and leave them to fend for themselves, and instead devote resources to reelecting safe candidates. (As a policy, the party doesn’t even offer access to it’s VAN/VoterBuilder system to Dems who challenge incumbent Dems, even those Dems that voted with the GOP for that awful congressional redistricting map).

    There’s a little too much bean-counting by party insiders who don’t know beans about local politics.

  2. As for the 2014 focus, you are getting that idea because individual people who have declared that they are running for office are hosting events. Those individuals5517550 choose to do that on their own, and aren’t planned by the State Party. They are independently hosted and don’t have anything to do with the party’s focus.

  3. Just a thought, @David Diano– It’s Democratic STATE Committee, they aren’t in the business of getting involved in local races. That is left to the discretion and expertise of county and local party committeed. That being said, in case you missed it, there are DEMinars on petition circulation and Voter ID, and there is an endorsement vote scheduled for the one statewide office on the ballot: Superior Court. I’m not sure exactly what you would suggest they do as an alternative, spend the next 10 days going over every single municiple primary on the ballot this cycle and developing talking points? Or just have a seven hour long pantomime dedicated to the early life of Arlen Specter?

  4. Of course, focusing on 2014, instead of winning local communities in 2013, is the surest way to lose the 2012 momentum, and the 2014 races.

Comments are closed.

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