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Lebanon Commissioner Joins Potential Guv Hopefuls

Jo Ellen Litz
Jo Ellen Litz

Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz confirmed what she said to Democratic committee members this weekend – she is looking at a run for Pennsylvania governor.

Litz could not be reached for additional comment but expressed her intentions to PoliticsPA in an email.

“I’ve been exploring a run for Governor by calling and visiting friends and colleagues across the state,” Litz wrote. “I will hold a press conference on the steps of the State capital (sic) on Tuesday, July 2 at 10 a.m.”

Litz was first elected as county commissioner in 1995 and has been reelected four times since. In 2010, Litz ran unopposed in the primary for a State Senate seat but lost handedly to incumbent Republican Mike Folmer by a near 3-1 margin.

With an already crowded Democratic field and limited fundraising activity, Litz faces a tough if not impossible path to the nomination. But her entrance into the race would complicate the picture for others – particularly candidates like former DEP Sec. Katie McGinty and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz whose advantage as female candidates would be diminished.

6 Responses

  1. The danger in being a strong person with a strong personality is that some people will hate you and some will love you. Politics is not for the faint of heart. When you choose to run for any office, the question is, “Will enough people love you, or even know who you are?” And the reality in a state as big as Pennsylvania (which includes the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, something a few wannabees seem to have overlooked) is that in order to gain significant name recognition, one must either have A LOT OF money to spend, or one must become well-known in some other way (yet not notorious). Litz lacks the capacity to become well-known statewide by voters … whether running for governor or even lieutenant governor. Perhaps she should be content with the sphere of influence she currently enjoys.

  2. Why doesn’t Jo Ellen consider running for Lt. Gov.? I do not know why, but support for her at the County Committee level in Berks County was tepid when she ran for State Senate. She was not even given a moment to speak at a Berks County Committee meeting.Now Berks is no longer part of the 48th district.

  3. One supposes that in this country, anyone can run for office. But the reality of a too-crowded field in the primaries is that some very worthwhile candidates are edged out. One example in Lebanon County happened a few years back, with Frank Ryan’s candidacy. The best thing Litz could do on July 2nd would be to throw her support toward a candidate with a real chance of winning. One of her own supporters has said that she lacks the name recognition to win, and for sure, she doesn’t have the money!

  4. What I think is most telling is that people who were at Democratic State Committee who have known Jo Ellen for a long time either said, she’s a great person and has no chance of winning or said not so flattering things about her and that she will certainly come in last.

    As for the woman comment, I do think its not fair. If you look at the Quinnipiac poll, of Democrats, Schwartz is leads with 18% of the vote, followed by McGinty at 5%. McCord only get 4% of the vote, despite being a statewide elected official.

  5. C’mon Lois. Why is it worth note for women? Because there’s a strong faction of Democratic primary voters in PA who want to see more women in elected office.

    Would I write the same about a male candidate? Probably not (unless a mens’ version of EMILY’s List pops up or Rob McCord hosts a “men in politics” fundraiser and raises $150K).

  6. Excuse me, but what a sexist comment – that her entrance in the race complicates the picture for the other female candidates. Are women only allowed to compete with each other? Does the entrance of a male candidate complicate the picture for other male candidates only? Give me a break!

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