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EXCLUSIVE: Schwank Likely Front Runner in Special for O’Pake Seat

Former Berks Commissioner Judy Schwank

Judy Schwank, who served as Berks County Commissioner from 2000-2007, has emerged as a clear front runner to fill Mike O’Pake’s now-vacant State Senate seat.

Party insiders on each side of the aisle are talking about Schwank, with operatives in both parties agreeing that she is a prohibitive favorite is she decides to run.

“It’s hers to lose if she wants to run,” said one Berks County Democratic insider, who confirmed that conversations have begun about the race. “The Republicans don’t have any big name to put up.”

Under Party rules the Berks County Democratic Committee will recommend a candidate to the State Democratic Party’s Executive Committee, which is likely to accept it.

“If she runs, she’s going to be very hard to beat,” said GOP consultant Ryan Shafik, who managed the successful 2007 campaign of Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach. “She would be very tough. She was very popular when she left.”

Schwank was chair of the Board of the Commissioners from ‘04-‘07 when she left to serve as President of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, a state-wide non-profit aimed at redevelopment. She presently serves as Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Delaware Valley College.

Shwank has over $24,000 in her campaign account from her county commissioner races, according to most recent filing at the Berks County Board of Elections. All of which could be transferred to a campaign for State Senate.

Check back later to see the PoliticsPA run-down of other prospective candidates.

5 Responses

  1. I do admire Judith but I am one as they are out there … working paycheck to paycheck .;.I AM THE PEOPLE WHO NEEDS REPRESENTATION NOW!!!

  2. I understand and appreciate your point of view, and I took care to handle this story in a respectful manner. However, PoliticsPA is not generating these conversations – they are occurring on their own. Again, no offense was intended. I sought only to report discussions and developments that are already happening.

  3. I understand the need to be first on the street with fast-breaking political news but I question your timing. Why don’t you let O’Pake get buried first? You could have gotten better mileage if you had said you’d do a special on the successor frontrunner after the funeral. Having this article at this time shows poor judgement and a lack of sensitivity. If Scarnati is waiting until after, you could have too. A scoop isn’t always appropriate.

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