PA-Gov: Litz Drops Out


Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz unceremoniously fell from the gubernatorial field yesterday as she failed to submit petition signatures.

Candidates for office in Pennsylvania were required to submit petition signatures by 5pm yesterday, and Litz neglected even an official attempt at getting on the ballot. Candidates for governor are mandated to collect 2,000 signatures, with at least 100 coming from 10 different counties.

With Litz’s demise, six Democrats remain in the battle for the nomination: former Auditor General Jack Wagner, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, State Treasurer Rob McCord, former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf and former DEP Secretaries Katie McGinty and John Hanger.

So, farewell Commissioner Litz; we hardly knew thee.

9 Responses

  1. I hear that you want to know me better. So, I’ll share a few short stories. My confidence comes from life experiences. Perhaps a little known fact is that I’m a certified rescue scuba diver. My husband and I would go on dives in an attempt to locate drowning victims, and retrieve murder weapons. As part of a team, in a cloud of green algae in Governor Pinchot State Park, I successfully located a young Vietnamese male who fell from a canoe without a life vest. Locating, retrieving, and returning the body to the grieving family waiting on shore was the goal. We conducted searches for drowning victims in local quarries too. I was also the photographer on a scuba team who located a bowling ball bag near the Governor’s mansion at “the steps” along the Susquehanna River. About a year later, the assigned detective called to thank me for the pictures, which were instrumental in the prosecution of the murderer who hopped into a taxi to the mentioned location, then tossed the bag into the River. At the local YMCA, I helped to retrieve, then administered CPR to a drowning victim who came back to life. On the other side of the coin, I was saved by a family member who used the Heimlich maneuver.
    If that isn’t enough I’ve lost almost all of my physical possessions to fire, twice—once it was my home, and the second time, my business, which friends helped me to board up after the fire. My husband and I had built, then rebuilt, the home.
    There are more stories, but the point is that once you’ve stared devastating losses and death in the face, you appreciate life. You also understand that to live life, you have to be in the arena. My goal is to make a better life for my children and grandchildren as well as future generations of Pennsylvanians. So if I tell you that my confidence is fearlessness in the face of danger, it is because God has used me, and isn’t finished with me yet.
    Concerning no coaching, I speak from the heart, and have lived through 15 years of local government experience. No, I didn’t raise a lot of money, but was able to do a lot with a little. In the beginning of my career, I attended campaign schools, successfully ran and won four terms as a Lebanon County Commissioner with a modest budget as well as being elected three times statewide by my peers as I moved from 2nd to 1st vice president, then president of the County Commissioner’s Association of Pennsylvania. I also conducted several campaign schools for other candidates. So to hire someone to tell me what I knew needed done seemed like it would be an unnecessary expense. The same goes for my website, which I’ve always maintained. I also recycled signs, viewing this as not just talking the talk, but walking the walk of a conservationist. I hear people say that they want elected officials who are frugal with the dollar, are conservationists, and not beholding to special interests. I take people at their word.
    Raising money is definitely necessary, but, for example, as a commissioner, I’m in negotiations with several unions. I met with them so that unions could get to know me better, but I did not ask for money because of an appearance of a conflict of interest. I did purchase my printing from a union printer. To raise funds, I asked for $5 contributions so the average “Jo” could have a chance at being governor.
    Then there was VAN, a State Committee Voter Access Network, which at $60,000, was out of my price range. I learned about David’s database, and purchased a month of service to help raise funds. I worked hard making calls, but my duties as a commissioner called for my services during snow storms within the petition period. Some of my volunteers said they couldn’t keep their promises due to the snow, health problems, other emergencies,…. That being said, in my bid for Governor, volunteers and I did collect signatures from 13 counties, but not in the right mix or total quantity. Therefore, I wanted to, but did not qualify to file. I take full responsibility. No regrets. No plan B. Thank you for allowing me to share answers to your questions and to share my story.

  2. So wait- is the article saying that she didn’t collect enough signatures, or did she not even make an ATTEMPT at collecting signatures period?

  3. Nathan-
    I was agreeing with you. It took a lot of guts for her to go toe-to-toe with the big candidates. She handled herself very well considering a complete lack of resources (including any kind of issues/research team or debate coaching).

  4. David,

    I concur with your view that she made the field more interesting and was able to go toe-to-toe with her competitors in many of the public forums.

    However, I do not believe that you fully understood the purpose of my earlier post. I never said that I was supporting Ms. Litz. Additionally, although I do like her very much and respect the fact that she was waging an uphill battle for governor, I don’t have any way of knowing whether her views are supported by the majority of voters or not.

    The purpose of my comment was the address the excessively snarky and sarcastic comments about her that have been repeated with some frequency during the campaign on anonymous message boards and even in the article above.

    It is very easy for people who lack the courage to put their own names on the ballot to criticize the efforts, appearance, or personality of those who do. My suggestion is that instead of slamming Ms. Litz for at least putting herself out there and making an effort, these people should consider running for office as well. It isn’t all that easy.



  5. Nathan-
    Actually she did very well in the debates, in terms of showing confidence and having an answer to every question. She didn’t act flustered or confused and held her own against the other candidates.

    That’s not to say that her positions were in line with Democratic party voters or that voters would find her experiences more relevant than the other candidates.

    Some might argue that the confidence she projected was delusional or comprised of 100% grade-A horse manure. Whatever her motivations, she ran out the clock until petitions before ending her campaign and stood toe-to-toe with the big candidates.

    It certainly made the field more interesting.

  6. I am very disappointed in the dismissive attitude of many commentators on this site regarding Ms. Litz. Although she may not have been viewed as a “top tier” candidate while she was in the race, she is an exceptionally decent person who worked very hard to get her message out with minimal resources at her disposal.

    I give her credit for visiting every county during her campaign and for her willingness to put herself out there as a candidate, which is more than many of the armchair politicos who comment on this site are willing to do.

  7. Her campaign was a joke along with her attire. How did she get elected county commissioner with her poor public speaking? Good riddance!

  8. I’m betting that not a lot of people even know that she was in the race.

    For all people know, Tom Wolf and Katie McGintie could be the only candidates if they go by TV ads.

    And at this point, it looks like Tom Wolf will grab the nomination. Jack Wagner will pull a good portion of people who recognize the name, leaving Rob McCord and Allyson Schwartz to fight for votes. And McGinty realy has been that big of a factor…there was not really a big boost for her after Al Gore’s endorsment. This will be an interesting primary to watch.

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