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Equality PA Makes Waves With Endorsements

Harrisburg-Capitol-steps6-300x220As endorsements for 2014 candidates continue to roll out at a steady pace, LGBT activists Equality PA announced their endorsements for 33 candidates in Pennsylvania races.

The group states that the supported candidates represent geographical diversity throughout Pennsylvania. Several endorsed candidates even identify themselves as members of the LGBT community.

There are a few interesting notes to be made about the list of Equality PA endorsements.

First and foremost, the organization has yet to make an endorsement in the gubernatorial race. This, though, can hardly be considered a problem, as each of the current Democratic candidates have voiced his or her support for gay rights.

Second, along with their support, Equality PA also spoke out against lieutenant governor candidate Mark Critz. In their eyes, Critz has made some questionable decisions when it comes to voting in favor of LGBT and women’s rights. A couple of key examples: Critz voted against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 and, in 2010, he voted “nay” to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after military review and certification.

Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality PA, stated, “Our endorsement process puts candidates on the record for LGBT equality. In some key races this year, like the race for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the 13th Congressional District, Equality PA did not make an endorsement because there are so many candidates in those races who support LGBT equality—with one clear exception. We believe that Mark Critz does not deserve the vote of any LGBT person or ally in the commonwealth. Mark Critz’s record of voting against the LGBT community and women is clear.”

Another interesting, and slightly surprising, turn of events: Equality PA has chosen to back incumbent Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia) over his opponent Jared Solomon. This despite Cohen getting into a tiff with strong LGBT supporter and first openly gay elected legislator in PA’s history, Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), earlier this year.

The group also chose to endorse Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Allegheny) over Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny), notably picking a side in an incumbent versus incumbent race. Perhaps hoping to gain a Democrat in SD 26, Equality PA threw their support behind candidate John Kane, a key pick-up opportunity for Democrats. Unsurprisingly, the organization added Linda Small of SD 28 to the list as well, even though Senator Scott Wagner is the favorite in that election after thrashing her and Rep. Ron Miller in the special election.

Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) is among those candidates who did not receive an endorsement despite her tough road ahead against Billy Smith, nor did Equality PA choose an opponent for incumbent Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick in PA-8 and Keith Rothfus in PA-12. It’s not evident whether candidates running against them submitted applications for endorsement, but some other congressional challengers were endorsed, including Ryan LaVallee in PA-3.

Adanjesus Marin, President of Equality PA’s Education Fund Board, said, “We were very happy with the number of candidates who applied for endorsement this cycle. We believe that the increased interest is an indication that elected leaders are taking the LGBT community and our concerns seriously and understand that our votes matter.”

Following is the full list of endorsements from Equality PA:

Central Pennsylvania:
Jill Bartoli – State House, 199th – Cumberland County
Patty Kim – State House, 103rd – Dauphin County (Incumbent)
Kelly McEntee- State House, 105th – Dauphin County
Linda Small – State Senate, 28th – York County
Joshua Young – State House, 74th – Chester County

Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania:
Leslie Altieri – State House, 138th – Northampton County
Michael Beyer – State House, 131st – Lehigh and Northampton Counties
Scott Brion – US House of Representatives, (PA-10)
Eileen Cipriani – State House, 120th – Luzerne County
Matt Cartwright – US House of Representatives, (PA-17) (Incumbent)
Brian Kresge – State House, 37th – Lancaster County
Dan McNeill – State House, 133rd – Lehigh and Northampton Counties (Incumbent)
J. Rizzo Mertz – State House, 100th – Lancaster County
Mike Schlossberg – State House, 132nd – Lehigh County (Incumbent)
Manan Trivedi – US House of Representatives, (PA-06)

Philadelphia and Southeast Pennsylvania:
Mark Cohen – State House, 202nd – Philadelphia County (Incumbent)
Whitney Hoffman – State House, 160th – Chester and Delaware Counties
John Kane – State Senate, 26th – Chester and Delaware Counties
Leanne Kruegar-Braneky – State House, 161st – Delaware County
Stephen McCarter – State House, 154th – Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties (Incumbent)
Brian Sims – State House, 182nd – Philadelphia County (Incumbent)
Mark Painter – State House, 146th – Montgomery County (Incumbent)
Vince Rongione – State House, 163rd – Delaware County

Western Pennsylvania:
Mike Doyle – US House of Representatives, (PA-14)
Ed Gainey – State House, 24th – Allegheny County (Incumbent)
Daniel LaVallee – US House of Representatives, (PA-03)
Dan Miller – State House, 42nd – Allegheny County (Incumbent)
Erin Molchany – State House, 36th – Allegheny County (Incumbent)
Michael Muha – State Senate, 50th – Butler, Crawford, Lawrence, and Mercer Counties
Adam Ravenstahl – State House, 20th – Allegheny County (Incumbent)
Jonathan Ruth – State House, 68th – Bradford and Tioga Counties
Frederick Sheeler – State House, 5th – Crawford and Erie Counties
Jesse White – State House, 46th – Allegheny, Beaver, and Washington Counties (Incumbent)

7 Responses

  1. Jordan, Sims is absolutely right to question Cohen’s fitness for office. Cohen has agitated conversations all by himself in the capitol. But I’m glad you probed Sims. He enjoys that.

  2. Dan LaVallee is the name of the Congressional candidate who earned the endorsement of EqualityPA in PA-03, not Ryan. (It’s listed right in the Equality PA list, though.)

  3. Not shocked Another group came out against Critz. The Democratic women aren’t happy with his rape jokes.
    No wonder he can’t get donations or endorsements.

  4. “Another interesting, and slightly surprising, turn of events: Equality PA has chosen to back incumbent Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia) over his opponent Jared Solomon. This despite Cohen getting into a tiff with strong LGBT supporter and first openly gay elected legislator in PA’s history, Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), earlier this year.”

    First off, Mark has always been there for the LGBT community, even scoring 100% on the Liberty City Democrats scorecard (full disclosure: I worked on that). Contrast this with Brian, who only got an 83%.

    And Mark DID NOT START THIS TIFF. I probed Brian as to why he was supporting Solomon and he made really bizarre ageist and ableist allegations against Mark. Mark has handled it with far more class than Brian did.

    Also of relevance, Brian actually hates Mark so much that he will REFUSE to support any LGBT rights legislation if Mark initiates it, even though Mark will support LGBT rights legislation that Brian initiates. In fact, I am currently working with Cohen’s office on a series of transgender rights bills. Brian’s people have told me he won’t support these bills and are giving BS reasons as to why, even though Brian claims to be a supporter of the transgender community.

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