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Democratic PA-18 Candidate Sues Westmoreland County Democratic Party

Westmoreland County Commissioner and candidate for the 18th Congressional district Gina Cerilli is suing the Westmoreland Democratic Party ahead of the party meeting to send its recommendation for who should be the party’s candidate in the 18th district’s special election.

According to the Post-Gazette, Cerilli sued filed the suit on Friday after threatening the lawsuit the week before.  

Cerilli is reportedly suing the committee after they did not fill any of the open spots on the committee with names from the 75 person list she submitted.  

Cerilli accuses County Chair Lorraine Petrosky of “acting in a fashion of exclusion and disenfranchisement” according to the complaint.  

The Post-Gazette notes that there has been tensions between Petrosky and Cerilli since Cerilli was first elected.  

From the Post-Gazette:

There is little love lost between the two leaders. Ms. Cerilli, who describes herself as a pro-life and pro-gun Democrat, ran her 2015 campaign for county commissioner largely independent of party leadership and the rest of the party slate.

“They’ve been trying to fight me ever since,” Ms. Cerilli said. 

The Democratic committee people of the 18th Congressional district will meet on November 19th to vote on their suggestion to the state Democratic party’s Executive Committee, who will make the final decision on who the candidate will be.

32 Responses

  1. Let me get this straight.
    1. This candidate submitted a list of her own county committee people for vacant spots, when she finds out the process of recommendation for special election for Congress (has no interest in the party building before this)

    2. County Chair refused to be a part of stacking the deck of appointing county committee people to try and cheat the new process of recommending a candidate to the State Executive Board.

    3. This candidate then files a laughable lawsuit, trying to force the Chair into stacking the deck for an election.

    4. You can’t make this shit up. Who in God’s name would vote for a candidate that has a proven record of trying to cheat to win… And is stupid enough to publicize it, by filing a lawsuit.

  2. This candidate will be under a national spotlight from day one, which is a very important factor in this race. A factor that many seem to look beyond. If Ms. Cerilli is drilled on policy questions by someone like Rachel Maddow she’ll be out after the first interview. I looked her up and I’ve read some of her answers to local interview questions on the Tribune Review site. I’m going to assume from those she has long way to go to be Maddow ready. I can’t find anywhere that she’s actually practiced law and she’s only been a commissioner since 2015. We don’t need any more people in Congress who know next to nothing about the job.

    1. There are 5 democrats running,only 2 of the 5 have legislative experience that is gina cerilli and mike crossey.

  3. Gina is the only hope the democrats have to flip this seat.trump won this district by 20 points.The other candidates are way to liberial for this district.

      1. Im talking about the whole 18th district,clinton lost by 20,westmoreland,washington,greene counties not liberial friendly.

    1. There are two other people in the race, one woman with 23 years military experience. One man who was in the military JAG corps and then a federal prosecutor. I have serious doubts that either of those people are Bernie Sanders based on their backgrounds. Both seem like they might have a more expanded worldview that goes beyond Westmoreland County. I just want a democrat to win, but the more you look into this the further she moves down the list.

  4. To my knowledge and experience as an elected Dauphin County Dem Committee person, there is no requirement to fill vacant seats. Granted each county has their own rules, but I can’t see a rule requiring filling seats with nominees of an active candidate. Otherwise, every candidate would require empty seats be filled prior to endorsement. There are almost always empty seats on County Committees. I don’t see the lawsuits merit here.

  5. Lynne and G-

    Westmoreland is the second largest county in the district, and you can’t win without a very big win there.
    Bob Casey destroyed Rick Santorum by taking the pro-life issue off the table (even though he wasn’t as extremely pro-life as Santorum). Neutralizing DOES work, and Dems keep failing but not running to the center to capture/flip a seat, and capture the independents.
    G- I spoke to a Westmoreland Dem, who is one of the sharpest political minds in that county. He’s very familiar with the county and district. I rely on his assessment that Gina is the strongest candidate to take the seat from the GOP.
    I’m not thrilled with pro-life, pro-gun stance, but that’s what we get if we pick another losing candidate. There are plenty of other issues in congress, and every DEM brings us closer to flipping congress and impeaching Trump.

    1. You can’t win without Allegheny County, which is the largest county in the district. And Gina isn’t going to win Allegheny County. She’s not even going to win Westmoreland County, where she was not even able to get endorsed by the Democratic Party— she’s not going to be able to pick up committee seats there unless she stacks it in her favor, which she’s trying to do.
      Gina isn’t the strongest candidate in the race, that belongs to Conor Lamb or Pam Iovino.
      Ceding a woman’s right to choose is how we end up with a girl who is a minor unable to get an abortion.
      Not to mention the fact that this is a special election that is literally happening because Tim Murphy was a pro-life congressman who wanted his mistress to have an abortion.

    2. Lynne-

      I understand why Gina isn’t palatable to a lot of Dems, particularly the current Westmoreland leadership, which leans further to the Left than most of Westmoreland.

      Trump won Westmoreland by 64% to 31% over Clinton. It’s filled with conservative Dems.

      Tim Murphy got 99,482 votes from Westmoreland last cycle which is the count of all the Republicans plus half the Dems in district from that county. He was unopposed, but still Dems voted for him.

      1. And Hillary Clinton won Allegheny County, which is the largest county in the 18th District.
        Tim Murphy went unopposed the last two election cycles. Of course Dems still voted for him.
        You understand that Gina isn’t palpable to a lot of Dems, but still think that she is the best candidate for the 18th District. You’re flat out wrong.
        Ms. Cerelli can’t even get the endorsement from the Westmoreland County Dems, and can’t even get enough committee members to vote for her to be the nominee in the special election.
        Her best bet is to run as an Independent– but the stark truth is, she can’t do that in a special election.
        And so she’s trying to stack the deck.
        This election is going to be about voter turn out— and I fail to see what gets people excited about Gina Cerilli.
        In fact, i fail to see how she’s any different from the disgraced Congressman Tim Murphy.

  6. Let’s be honest for one minute. I know that is a crazy thing to say in politics, but let’s agree to do it for one minute, OK? If she was not a Westmoreland Commissioner and this was not the Westmoreland Committee the only story here would be that a candidate was trying to as someone else mentioned to “stack” this vote in her favor. Everyone would be calling for her drop out of the race for even asking for this to be done. You certainly don’t need to be Woodward or Bernstein to see what her intent is. People should be celebrating the fact that the Westmoreland Chair refuses to bow to this nonsense. Maybe the Chair should run for the seat? An honest person in Congress would be a nice change.

  7. I find it amazing that Gina Cerilli bucked the Westmoreland County Dems when she ran for Commissioner independent of them, but now expects their support as she vies for a nomination in a special election she’s got no hope of winning.

  8. Truth2Power-

    Pro-life, pro-gun certainly sounds Republican. Unfortunately, that position is very typical among Dems in Westmoreland.

    Cerilli is an up-and-comer and pretty popular in the county and district. She might well be the strongest candidate for the Dems to take the seat away from the GOP, by picking up GOP and moderate votes. The GOP candidate is going to be pro-life and pro-gun.
    So, theoretically, Cerilli can neutralize them on those issues, for the one-issue and two-issue voters.

    While she may be unappealing to the Left side of the Dems, she may be more electable, and would be far more appealing than the GOP candidate.

    Given the deficit in congress, electability needs to get a lot of weight.

    1. Gina Cerilli is not pretty popular in the 18th District, which is compromised of Allegheny, Greene, Washington, AND Westmoreland. She’s popular in Westmoreland.
      And you can’t win the 18th District with Westmoreland County alone.
      If you’ve got a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat, and a more conservative pro-life, pro-gun, Republican, it’s not going to neutralize the issue— anyone who votes only pro-life and pro-gun are going to vote on the candidate that’s MORE pro-life and pro-gun…. that’s not Gina Cerilli.
      The stark truth is that Gina Cerilli isn’t electable as a representative for the 18th District with positions that run counter to the Democratic Party platform, and she knows it.

    2. How would you even know if she was popular in the district, David? Did you do a poll? If she’s so popular why did she have to stack the committee seats in her own county?

    3. She runs on looks and daddy’s money and name
      Maybe she’ll end up in jail like other members in her family

  9. Cerilli sounds more like a Republican in sheeps clothing than anything. Is this a strong Democratic district and she couldn’t get elected as a Republican? Another rules-breaking dipstick looking for her 15 minutes of fame.

  10. Man, she’s freakin hot! Have you seen her swimsuit pics – Google it up and have fun!

  11. Do you really sue your county committee a week before an election? Dems always trip over themselves.

  12. What are the rules for filling slots?

    Normally, committee person is an elected position.

    The county chair has the discretion to fill slots (assuming some criteria are met, like the person isn’t a clear Republican or a Dem working for Republican campaigns).

    I’m not clear if the county chair is required to fill a slot based on the list/request of a single individual.
    1) Do the local township committees vote or have a say?
    2) What if two people submit lists with different people to fill the same slot?

    1. At least in Philly, ward leaders can appoint committee people to vacancies that occur in between elections. But I can’t imagine they’re *required* to fill them.

      Cirelli is trying to stack the deck to get the nomination. Petrosky is trying to *not* do that.

      1. They shall fill the committee positions. The County Chairperson can appoint them if their is an open slot but they are not required to. This looks like stacking the deck if an individual demands that the County Chairperson appoints all 75 members. This will backfire on Cerilli. Nobody likes to be bullied.

  13. Did you guys ever think she submitted the names on time,and county chair who is not a fan of ms.cerilli didn’t turn them in on time.

  14. what a waste of legal time and money. either the county chair filled the seats on time , or she didn’t. the county rules control the appointments. gov. Wolfe’s scheduling of the special election controls the date by which empty committee seats must be filled. if applications to fill the empty seats were not in the hands of the county chair in advance of the deadline to fill, the lawsuit’s a waste of time. (and we hear the applications were not transmitted to the county chair in time….)

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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