Dinniman Drops Out, Endorses Aide

Longtime state Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) announced on Friday afternoon that he will not run for reelection in 2020. Dinniman’s decision not to seek a fourth full term will open up a Democratic-friendly seat in the Philadelphia suburbs with at least two confirmed challengers interested in representing the state’s 19th Senate District. 

“For nearly 30 years, as your Chester County Commissioner and State Senator, I have had the privilege of building a close relationship with the people of Chester County. Now, I have a responsibility to explain why I will not be seeking reelection,” Dinniman said in a release. “This was a very tough decision, especially knowing just how many of you have already contributed your time and energy to my reelection campaign – from fundraising to volunteering to circulating petitions. However, as I sit at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center with my wife, Margo, who is now recovering from surgery, we both came to the sudden realization this was not the time to run again.”

Dinniman continues in the release that anyone who seeks public office understands that it’s a “family decision” and thanked his wife of 51 years for her continued support adding that she even agreed to support his plans to seek another term this year, but said it is his turn to be there for her and focus on her recovery from a procedure that will allow her to “again walk freely and live without constant pain for the first time in years.”

This announcement comes one month after he formally announced his intentions to seek another 4 year term. 

The “easy” decision in the announcement was his endorsement for Don Vymazal, his longtime Director of Government Relations and Policy.

“Don, who is well-known in Phoenixville, is the most qualified, experienced, knowledgeable, and well-respected person to lead the 19th Senatorial District,” Dinniman writes in the release. 

He continues to laud Vymazal as his “secret weapon” when it comes to pipeline safety and the environment, while also crediting him as a champion of women’s health, standing against discrimination against the LGBTQ community, and someone who knows how to secure key investments in the district. 

“In short, Don has the vision, the passion, and the energy to continue to guide Chester County in the right direction for years to come,” Dinniman writes. 

Although Dinniman coasted to a 12 point victory in his most recent reelection bid in 2016 over Republican Jack London, he was slated to face a primary challenger in Kyle J. Boyer, president of the West Chester NAACP, according to the Daily Local News

The Chester County Democratic Party will hold its endorsement meeting on Thursday. 

Boyer sent out a lengthy statement on the news of Dinniman’s retirement, crediting the sitting Senator for being an “institution” in Chester County, thanking him for his time serving as County Commissioner and state Senator, adding that he is praying for Margo as she recovers.

“For the last 30 years Andy Dinniman has been an institution in Chester County,” Boyer writes. “We, the citizens of Chester County owe him much for his years of service. Make no mistake, Andy has personally impacted the lives of countless individuals, many of whom are serving in elected office today. 

“I wish Andy well as he completes his tenure and will be praying for Margo as she recovers,” Boyer writes at the end of his statement.

This story was updated to correct the statement that Dinniman is not currently the Chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee, but served in that role in the past.

8 Responses

  1. Chester County was blessed having Senator Dinniman all these years. He was in the opposite party from me, but always attempted to listen to all sides of an issue.
    Especially appreciated how constructive he was on SSHE issues and fought hard to keep the State System relevant. He had an obvious allegiance to West Chester U, but also understood the importance of the 13 other System schools to their regions.
    Thanks, Andy!

  2. This story needs a correction and is missing a key development in the race. First of all, Dinniman is not the chairman of the Chesco Democratic Party and never has been. To the contrary, he has been at odds with the part on many occasions when he saw party interests conflicting with his political interests and he has never supported it or its candidates financially in any kind of serious way.

    Secondly, party insiders are furious with Dinniman for holding this decision back so his staffer could get a head start on petitions and the delay would make it more difficult for anyone else to get in the race.

    However, that ploy isn’t working because former Westchester Mayor and State Rep Carolyn Committa began circulating petitions Saturday and is doing very well on her way to reaching the required threshold.

    In a county where Democratic women do exceedingly well on the ballot as evidenced by a slew of recent wins, it is hard to imagine anyone defeating Committa in the primary and hard to imagine a stronger candidate in the fall.

    Even PSEA will have to take a second look because Committa is former teacher with a perfect voting record in the House on education issues.

    1. Committa is a stone cold winner here. GOP has a problem, they endorsed a sacrificial lamb, but could make a go of it with Kichline or even Ryan Costello, if Costello wanted to come back into political life.

      1. If Costello wanted to remain in political life he would’ve ran against Houlahan and most likely beat her, given how much incriminating dirt there is on her and how much he developed his own county brand. Or he could’ve walked into the Meuser seat very easily. That said, he’d probably beat Committa by 10. I highly doubt you hear his name floated for this seat. I doubt Kichline wants to endure another year of campaigning, especially with Trump at the top of the ticket. The Republicans have very few choices but it’s also clear there’s going to be some bitter feelings after the Dem primary, especially if Andy uses his campaign funds for Don V in the primary.

    1. When the PSEA decided to put $250,000 behind their stooge candidate Kyle Boyer. So tired of what was once a great and responsible county Democratic Party being taken over by self serving politicians like Boyer and special interests.

  3. Sounds like he is already past the retirement age anyhow. More need to quit and let fresh blood lead the party and govt.

  4. I hope the Republicans can flip that seat because they have not held that seat since 2006. That will become an easier proposition for Republicans if Bernie Sanders is at the top of the Democrat ticket this year.

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