Pa. Dems Kick-off 2018 Cycle

20170211_150218Harrisburg — The Pennsylvania Democratic Party gathered in Harrisburg to kick-off its Winter Meeting. The theme of the Friday dinner was turning Pennsylvania blue again.  

“This year is a test case for next year, because when our Governor Wolf and Senator Casey are on the ballot, we need to win, and win big,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.

“We for too long have ignored portions of the state and taken them for granted,” Pa. Democratic Chairman Marcel Groen acknowledged. “We have to go everywhere, our mantra for this year is to get every single committee slot filled.”

“We need people to run for every single office,” Groen said.  

Wolf took the chance to practice what will probably become part of his 2018 stump speech.  

“We need to convince our fellow citizens that we hold dear are the values that made America great,” Governor Tom Wolf said.  

Wolf took the opportunity to hit the Trump administration, referencing his trips to Philadelphia and Allentown to meet with the family of Syrian refugees who had been turned away by Trump’s controversial Executive Order on immigration.

“We will make sure we never repeat the mistakes of November 8th ever again,” Wolf said. “We need to make sure in 2018 that Bob Casey and I get elected.”

“We need candidates in every State Senate seat, in every State House seat, and Congressional seat in 2018,” Wolf continued.  

UPDATE: The Republican Party of Pennsylvania responded by pushing back against Wolf’s previous budget proposals.

“Pennsylvania voters have consistently rejected Governor Wolf’s high tax and anti-growth record. Even Governor Wolf, after attempting to impose draconian tax increases in Pennsylvania on families and businesses, is finally talking about restraining the size of government — we welcome him to that conversation,” PA GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio said.

Eagen Wins the Endorsement Battle

Scranton attorney Todd Eagen won the biggest battle of all Saturday. Dems had 7 candidates for two Commonwealth Court vacancies, and there was a concerted push by most hopefuls to prevent a party endorsement altogether.

Ultimately, committee members backed Eagen alone and left the other endorsement unused.

The party changed the rules to create a 50 vote threshold that candidates had to cross to be carried forward onto the second ballot.  

In contention for two spots were Timothy Barry, Rep. Bryan Barbin, Judge Ellen Ceisler, Judge Irene Clark, Joe Cosgrove, James Crumlish, and Eagen.  

Eagen was endorsed on the first ballot, and Ceisler and Cosgrove were the only two to surpass the 50 vote threshold.  

On the second ballot neither candidate reached the two-thirds majority needed, so the Party did not endorse for the second open seat.  

“We feel very good that the Party has endorsed me because they see me as the strongest candidate, not only for the election in May, but also in November, and right on the issues that are important to us as Democrats,” Eagen said after the endorsement.  

The endorsement should be taken with a grain of salt; despite having the party’s endorsement in 2015, Eagen lost the primary to Michael Wojcik

The vote was a defeat for Cosgrove, who currently sits on the Commonwealth Court after a July appointment by Gov. Wolf and is running for a full term.

Judge Dwayne Woodruff is the only Democrat running for Supreme Court and was affirmed by unanimous voice vote by the members.  

The Superior Court field was narrowed down by the time of the endorsement meeting, which led to Judge Carolyn Nichols, Judge Deborah A. Kunselman, Judge Maria McLaughlin and Judge H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr. being endorsed by the members in a voice vote.  Pittsburgh attorney Bill Caye withdrew from consideration from the endorsement.

Rumor Rundown

The main rumors coming out of the night were about the endorsement votes.  The main rumor was that there will be a push not to endorse for at least one, if not both seats on the Commonwealth Court.  

During the Receptions, Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa made stops at all of the receptions in the hotel, including a long stint in Representative Bryan Barbin’s reception.  

DNC Chair Race Speeches

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, made the rounds Friday afternoon – speaking with committee members and seeking support.

Later, representatives for Ellison and other DNC chair candidates spoke on their behalf (the candidates themselves were at a Candidate’s Forum in Baltimore at the same time).  The Candidates are Ellison, Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Fox News analyst Jehmu Greene, and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Harrison.

Disclosure: Judge Ellen Ceisler was formerly married to Larry Ceisler, one of the owners of PoliticsPA.

February 11th, 2017 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Judicial, Top Stories | 22 Comments

22 thoughts on “Pa. Dems Kick-off 2018 Cycle”

  1. “Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog post. Really Great.”

  2. David Diano says:

    Jerry Policoff-

    I’m not “patting myself on the back”. I’m countering Snake’s remarks about me “hiding”. So, please read the context.

    Sestak himself has been a cancer on the party since he landed back in Delco after 30 years away. He consistently undermined the local Democratic party and refused to help down-ballot candidates and especially local candidates in 2007 trying to continue the momentum of his 2006 win. He turned away new candidates who had busted their asses helping him. Went asked to help, his brother said: “It’s not our contest”.

    Joe’s lackeys and lemmings can cry all they want about the Democratic party and how Joe’s a “maverick”. But when push-came-to-shove, Sestak showed what a disloyal, selfish bastard he truly was as he deliberately abandoned the people who got him elected and tried to leave them in the dust.

    In 2009, when Sestak refused the offer to be the Dem’s Senate candidate, he lost his seat at the table, and the Party flipped Specter. Sestak then f*cked it all up. And, then after he blew all of his and Specter’s cash in the primary, he was a “poor-winner” and treated everyone like dirt and REFUSED help from former Specter supporters and REFUSED to work with the coordinated campaign.

    And that doesn’t even being to cover his irrational/psychotic behavior behind closed doors.

    The guy has been a loose cannon and we are better for being rid of him.

    If Sestak had won the primary, he would have been even more intolerable and uncooperative. Toomey would have destroyed Sestak (by a record margin).

  3. Jerry Policoff says:

    First of all, David, stop patting yourself on the back for using your real name. Everyone should, and many, including yours truly, do.
    Yes, I supported Joe Sestak, not because I agree with him on everything, but because I think the Democratic machine is a festering cancer, and Sestak had the guts to stand up to it. That is why the Democrats were out to destroy him at any cost, and it is why Toomey is still in the Senate, courtesy of the Democrats and Katie McGinty.

  4. David Diano says:

    Snake-

    Hides in corners? I’m practically the only person on PoliticsPA that post under his own name.

    I’m not a member of state committee, but neither are a lot of people that show up. Some are activists, others are campaign managers, consultants or vendors providing services, or even supporters of candidates.

    So, just because I don’t have a direct vote on matters, doesn’t mean that I can’t have a voice, nor opinion on how the operation is run.

    So, slither back under the rock you came from.

  5. Mary Ellen says:

    Steve Todd is dangerous. A Dem committeeman who supported and voted for Jill Stein. Why is he still a member of the Dauphin County Democratic Party. With Democrats like him, who needs republicans!

  6. Snake says:

    News flash-David Diano is a complete nobody. he is a little snake that hides in corners. No one talks to him. He is NOT on State Committee or any committee of the Democrat Party.

  7. I'M WITH EAGEN says:

    Congrats to Todd Eagen for getting the Endorsement. He is a good man and good lawyer. He deserved the endorsement and your vote. We need good, knowledgeable, fair, ethical judges and that is Todd Eagen.

  8. gag says:

    How many valid comments about Dems can you get on a GOP website?

  9. Loyal State Committe Member says:

    Very saddened to hear about the mismanagement of credit cards among state committee staff. I think Governor Wolf is a very good and honorable man, I’ve supported him in the primary and continue to do so- I think he needs to look at what his political staff are doing with the money. We are going to need all of it to elect great democrats across the state in 2017 and 2018. I pray every night that the governor and Sen. Casey will protect us from this wicked man in the White House.

  10. David Diano says:

    Jerry Policoff supported fake-liberal (and true conservative) Sestak.

    Sestak opposed gay marriage until AFTER the supreme court opposed bans and popular opinion shifted, and falsely claimed that he had quietly supported the idea while in the navy. But, in fact, when I asked him about gay marriage in early 2006, he emphatically stated that marriage was between a man and women. Period. His revisionist history to claim support is an insult to those who fought for gay rights.

    One of the themes to come out of the election is that liberals are losing their working class base because of the focus on social issues and civil rights. This is bad messaging/communication because the Dems have been about union labor, higher minimum wages and worker rights. The workers are simply not comprehending the connection between social justice and worker rights.

  11. Steventodd says:

    Amen and ditto to all Jerry Policoff says below, except about primarying Wolf. Our Revolution is underway and liberals will either take over the DNC and Pa
    Dems, or we will even further lose our liberal and working class base.

  12. Carly says:

    It doesn’t matter who the Dems endorse. The Republican candidates are a joke and will get mopped up. Behind the arrogant DiGiorgio, the Dems win in a landslide.

  13. Phil Hughes says:

    You forgot to mention that Tom Perez is also in the mix for DNC Chairman. He has been endorsed by former VP Joe Biden.

  14. Stupid says:

    Jerry Policoff change your party to S for stupid.

  15. The Democrat says:

    Former Lower Merion Township Constable Eric Bradway will Run against Governor Tom Wolf in the Democratic Primary of 2018 .

  16. Jerry Policoff says:

    If the Democrats had not greased the skids for horrible candidates like Hillary Clinton and Katie McGinty Trump would not be President, and the Democrats would control the Senate. From now on I will only vote for true progressives. We need to primary both Wolf and Casey, and we need to let the Democratic Leadership know that we don’t see them as the logical alternative to Trump and the GOP. The Revolution has begun!

  17. Clark says:

    Very good blog post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.
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  18. truthiness says:

    A way to cut down the heavy caseload for Superior Court would be to have less hacks on Common Please Court. I hear the caseload from Family Division (Allegheny County) dropped 50% when numbskull Cynthia Baldwin got kicked upstairs to PA Supremes. Too bad she did not quit after that, but went to Penn State to commit further malpractice and unethical conduct to queer the Penn State 3 prosecution.

  19. political opinion says:

    “Inability to convey thought in a concise and clear manner” seems like a predicate for being on Commonwealth Court. Maybe poor Caye just applied to run for the wrong court?

  20. David Diano says:

    ——————–
    We will make sure we never repeat the mistakes of November 8th ever again,” Wolf said. “We need to make sure in 2018 that Bob Casey and I get elected.”

    “We need candidates in every State Senate seat, in every State House seat, and Congressional seat in 2018,” Wolf continued.
    ————–

    Well, I didn’t see a proposal to replace the party leadership, HDCC and SDCC so… more of the same.

    It’s ironic that Wolf is talking about filling house seats with candidates. Last year, I was beating the drums at state committee about doing this, and no one lifted a finger. SDCC refused to help candidates get on the ballot.

    There were about 60 unchallenged GOP house seats. Wolf needs to raise $1.2 million to provide $20,000 “seed” to each of those seats if he wants to recruit candidates.

    The party (wrongly) views the best fundraisers as the “best” candidates, and routinely refuses to support candidates who are not good a fundraising (which is VERY hard for Dems in red/rural areas).

    Wolf embarrassed himself and damaged the party diverting funds into “Fresh Start”. Instead, he should start a “New Start” PAC for new (first time) effort to run candidates in these abandoned seats.

    If he’s not serious about providing resources and environment for recruiting new candidates in these red districts, then this is all talk.

  21. Truth says:

    We all should thank Chuckie for tatting him out!

  22. Observer says:

    William F. Caye II
    Rating: Not Recommended

    After reviewing the candidate’s record and based in part on his interview, the [Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission] has concerns about the candidate’s presentation skills, his temperament, his inability to accurately recall events and his overall writing skills. Some attorneys who know him questioned his work ethic and judgment.

    During the interview, the candidate was evasive when responding to direct and pertinent questions. At times when pressed for answers, he raised his voice inappropriately. When questioned about past instances of his reported courtroom behavior, the candidate blamed the court and other counsel, failing to take any responsibility for his actions. This and other responses displayed a lack of professional maturity and raised questions about his temperament and collegiality.

    The candidate also demonstrated an inadequate awareness about the Superior Court’s operations. For example, when asked about how he might change the court, he suggested that it should become less formal and more accommodating for postponements, less strict about time limits during oral argument and more accommodating to the litigants. When asked to reconcile how his suggestions would impact the court’s already heavy caseload, the candidate was unable to provide an intelligible answer.

    With regard to his writing skills, the candidate’s responses to the [commission’s] questionnaire provided no indication that he has any cognizance of a formal writing style. The candidate’s other writing samples were also problematic, demonstrating a lack of ability to convey thoughts in a concise and clear manner.

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