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Update: Who’s Up For the Gerber Seat

HD-148. Image via

Update: The 148th screening committee met and chose Mary Jo Daley as their choice of candidate to replace retiring Rep. Mike Gerber on the ballot for November.

Co-chairs Greg Holt and Dave Nasatir said in a memorandum that they were impressed by the depth and quality of the candidates, but after multiple meetings were able to reach a consensus.

The committee consisted of Holt and Nasatir, as well as Marjorie Berlinghof, Joe Foster, Penny Gerber, Sibby Phiambolis, and Mark Taylor, met multiple times to review the candidates for the vacancy for the 148th State House Seat.

Sources close to the Montco Dem committee said the decision process was not easy and that the selection pool was competitive.

Daley, who is from Narberth, served as on the Borough Council for 20 years, and as a local committee co-chair. The Dems see her as a hard-working candidate with strong fundraising abilities who can win the seat.

The Montco Executive Committee will vote their approval next Thursday, with no other name being considered for the slot. Then the state Party Executive Committee will approve it.

State Rep. Mike Gerber isn’t seeking re-election, and the maneuvering has already begun for his Montgomery County seat. We chatted with some Montgomery County Democratic insiders, and here are the names we’re hearing.

A quick note: since the 148th lies entirely within Montco, the county committee members from the district will have a meeting to be organized by the county party. The name of the person they pick will be sent to the PA Democratic Party, who in all likelihood will give it the OK and send it on to the Department of State.

Here are the names:

Mary Jo Daley. There’s considerable buzz around Daley, a former Narberth Borough Councilwoman and local committee co-chair who works at (and holds a degree from) the University of Pennsylvania.

Bob Hart. The Whitemarsh Township Supervisor and attorney has been one of the most aggressive prospective candidates; he’s already emailed supporters about a bid. He’s Montco’s First Deputy Treasurer.

Brian Gordon. The Lower Merion Commissioner briefly considered a run for Congress in 2010. He was first elected in 2005 and is an attorney and partner of the firm Gordon & Ashworth, P.C.

Paul McConnell. He’s served on the Conshohocken Borough Council since 2007 and is currently its President. He chairs the committee on buildings. Update: McConnell confirms to PoliticsPA that he’s going for the seat. He works for pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen as Director of Training.

Bob Wegbreit. He’s a Narberth Borough Councilman and the Sales and Marketing Director for Conshy-based GF Data Resources, a company that caters to private equity firms.

Gerber says he doesn’t plan to pick sides in the decision.

“I’ve been assured by our county chair that he will run an open and transparent process through which the Democratic committee people of the 148th district will vote on a nominee for the general election,” he said. “That’s the closest we can get to a primary and that’s the way it should be.”

“I don’t intend to interfere with that process and hope the committee members chose someone I’ll be comfortable supporting.”

Gerber himself is a former committee member. His mother, Penny, served for on county committee for decades and is now Vice Chair of the PA Democratic Party. He announced last week his intent not to seek re-election, instead saying that he will take a position at Philadelphia-based alternative investment firm Franklin Square Capital Partners.

The Republican field isn’t perfectly set, either. The candidate on the ballot today is Mike Ludwig, a Deputy Montgomery County Sheriff who served two tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He ran a successful write-in campaign after Gerber and other Dems successfully challenged his petition signatures.

There are, however, murmurs that party leaders are seeking to convince him to step down. Jenny Brown, the Lower Merion Township Commissioner who ran for Montgomery County Commissioner in 2011, is the most commonly mentioned possible alternative.

Sources close to Ludwig say he’s unlikely to drop. The rumor is that some GOP insiders tried to dissuade him even from running a write-in, meaning that that crowd might not have much sway on his decision. PoliticsPA was unable to reach Brown for comment.

The district includes:

Conshohocken: The entire borough
Lower Merion : Wards 01, 02 [Divisions 01 and 02], 06 [Division 03], 07 [Division 02], 11 [Divisions 01 and 03], 12 and 13 [Divisions 01 and 02]
Narberth: The entire borough
Plymouth : District 03 [Division 01]
Upper Dublin : Ward 01 [Divisions 01 and 03]
Whitemarsh: The entire township
Whitpain: Precincts 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07

8 Responses

  1. If Brown was the Republican candidate this race would be competitive. You need a Republican from Lower Merion to be competitive here.

  2. See comment from Charlie above. The GOP is doomed in this county for this reason. Totally ineffective and incompetent leadership and a penchant to turning on their own strongest candidates out of jealousy and spite. Brown was a great candidate, but infighting killed her. The two most popular Republicans politicians in the county, Commissioner Castor and DA Ferman, have zero time for the party leadership because they consider said leadership to be liars. Anyone who would contribute to the County GOP is a fool. Its a waiting game with GOP Chair Bob “The Inept” Kerns having alienated the Asher and the anti-Asher forces. No one pays the slightest attention to him at all, locally or at the state level. Where is new leadership coming from? Castor is obviously tired of it. Ferman does her own thing. Both will Block Asher’s people. Anyone good knows it is too far gone to salvage. A total mess attributible to Asher, Ellis, Davis, sure, but mostly to Matthews and Kerns’ inability to deal with that and keep friendships with the only politicians that matter in Montco: the GOP DA and Commissioner.

  3. The committee just gave Ludwig a gift. As a republican I would like to say thank you. This ensures the easiest FOP endorsement in years. As I faithfully honor those you protect and serve I will be voting for Mike Ludwig.

  4. Gerber’s vote for the GOP’s Congressional Redistricting Gerrymander should have disqualified him from all future Democratic politics.

  5. Gerber always cut deals with the local Republicans. So I will be happy just as long as the new Dem state rep from the 148th is a real Democrat and doesn’t endorse Republicans over Democrats like Gerber did.

  6. Who cares? On another note anyone notice that the aforementioned Jenny Brown was spot on with her analysis of the state of County government when she ran and was the victim of in incompetent party leadership, bold-faced lying from the governing majority of Hoeffel and Matthews, and the now proven to be false vilifying of her and her running mate? Isn’t politics grand?


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