King of Prussia — Rob McCord loudly supported the Democratic ticket – and criticized Tom Corbett – at the state committee meeting Friday. But he said that his impassioned address was part of his work as a party leader and not, as many in the room suggested, the unofficial launch of a 2014 bid for Governor.
“I know people say that, but I really am focused on my job as Treasurer and my re-election race,” he said. “You ask me if I know, I don’t know.”
It’s unwise to think too far ahead, he said.
“Not only is it a bad idea because you risk diminishing the value of the current office, but it’s also stupid. I’ve seen a lot of members of Congress who’ve said they want to be President, and they don’t even win re-election.”
However, in the midst of explaining that he was entirely focused on his re-election effort for PA Treasurer, a state committeeman approached McCord with a wide smile, slapped him on the back and said, “Governor!”
McCord faces Republican Treasurer candidate Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn.
Montgomery County Democratic Chairman Marcel Groen opened the Friday evening dinner, followed by PA Dems Chair Jim Burn. Both celebrated the 2011 win of Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards, the first majority Democratic County Commissioners in the county since Reconstruction.
Read about the rousing address by keynote speaker, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, here.
Sen. Bob Casey, a former PA Auditor General and PA Treasurer, emphasized the importance of down-ballot races in light of recent GOP successes.
“We got a reminder this week in Wisconsin about how some folks want to go after something as fundamental as the right to collectively organize and bargain for wages and for benefits,” he said. “If you had said that five years ago, I’m not sure enough of us would have believed it. But that’s where we are in this country.”
He didn’t mention his Republican opponent Tom Smith by name, simply noting that he had founded a local Tea Party and lumped him in with “people who fundamentally want to take this country in the wrong direction, in a direction we should never go.”
Ed Back on Message
Gov. Ed Rendell held a book signing Saturday morning and spoke to the committee at large. His remarks included a strong defense of the President – a departure from recent interviews, when he has questioned Obama’s leadership.
“He’s done a good job, and don’t be afraid to defend that record,” he declared. “Barack Obama will continue to make this country a better place. We can win this, we should win this.”
He also said Democrats should begin their work for Obama immediately, in the hopes of taking PA out of contention for Republicans.
“If we are strong early and we show strength and we continue to register new people, they’re gonna throw in the towel, and that will be a huge help to all of us,” he said. “If we can out-register them at a rapid pace, if we can show that we’re strong maybe they throw in the towel, maybe it’s a great year.”
Same Sex Marriage
With loud support, party members agreed to a resolution endorsing same sex marriage. Adams County Democratic Chair Roger Lund, who is openly gay, made the motion after telling the story of he and his longtime partner who were married in Washington D.C. in recent years. Their marriage is not recognized in Pennsylvania.
The resolution calls for the party to endorse “Freedom to Marry,” elected officials to co-sponsor relevant legislation, Chairman Burn to officially back same sex-marriage and for PA convention representatives to endorse it as an official platform plank at the Democratic National Convention in the fall.
The motion went to a voice vote, which by this writer’s hearing went 85 or 90 percent in favor, 10 or 15 percent against. The “No’s” came mostly from the northwest and southwest caucuses, with a few in Allegheny.
The motion passed just a few weeks after Jo Ann Nardelli, a former Democratic state committeewoman well known by people in the room, cited gay marriage when she defected from the party.
Dems also passed a resolution to acknowledge the Republican “War on Women.” They caucused Saturday afternoon to choose its national convention delegates and DNC members. PoliticsPA will publish a full list this week.