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Yudichak Switches from Dem to Indy

State Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) announced on Tuesday morning that he is switching his party registration from Democratic Party to Independent.

“I choose the politics of “we” over the politics of “us versus them.” I choose to reject the “purist” politicians who now stand as unyielding impediments to the only thing that motivates me to be in politics— getting real things done that make a true difference in people’s lives,” Yudichak said in a release. “Registering as an Independent is the only way I can faithfully and fully serve the people of northeast Pennsylvania who have blessed me with the opportunity to serve them.”

Marc Levy from the Associated Press reports that Yudichak will now caucus with the Republican majority. 

Yudichak has served in the state Senate since 2010 and ran unopposed in both the 2014 and 2018 elections. Prior to serving in the state Senate, Yudichak served in the state House for six terms, starting in 1998. 

Yudichak represents an area that is rapidly trending towards the Republican Party. His state Senate district voted for President Donald Trump by 17 points over Sec. Hillary Clinton, according to DailyKos. Despite Trump’s large victory in his district, and flipping Luzerne County after voting for President Barack Obama twice, he joined various other Democrats in Northeast Pennsylvania in pledging his support for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid last month. 

PoliticsPA is seeking comment from Yudichak to see if his endorsement of Biden still stands. 

The Citizens Voice reports that Yudichak has “sparred” with Gov. Tom Wolf over the governor’s plans to close State Correctional Institution at Retreat in Newport Twp and the White Have Center in White Haven. 

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) issued a statement saying that they are “disappointed” to see him “turn his back” on the Democratic Party’s values.

“Our Democratic caucus prides itself on our advocacy for working people, for fair wages, affordable and accessible health care, and access to every opportunity the Commonwealth has to offer – regardless of race, gender, or creed,” Costa said in a statement. “This Democratic caucus and the Democratic Party as a whole promotes a “large tent” approach, and we welcome debate and diverse opinions within our membership, and will continue to do so. We’re extremely disappointed to see Senator Yudichak turn his back on those values and his Senate colleagues who have supported him since his first election to this chamber in 2010.”

The Republican Party will now hold a five seat majority in the state Senate, 27-22, after Yudichak’s departure from the Democratic Party.

This story was updated with a comment from Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa. 

18 Responses

  1. Just the normal process of realignment taking place in PA and in many other states both ways. What Democrats are going to do with all these former Republicans who tend to be wealthier and more educated is anyone’s guess. Their economic programs will have moderate for that reason alone both in PA and across the key states in Presidential elections. The Republicans on the other hand will be forced to be more liberal on economic policies lest they drive away their new blue collar constituencies which are growing. It’s an interesting time in American politics while this realignment takes place that really started long before Trump.

  2. Just read these comments here as well as comments on the net and it is easy to conclude that there is an intolerance toward centrists and moderates. Even Costa’s comment about the Sen Yedichak departure reflects intolerance. No one is gracious and everyone is in it to win it.

  3. Barletta’s buddy,Yudi, on the Sunday before the Nov 5 election in a speech at a Democratic rally in Pittston stated that it was acceptable to vote for Republicans, and stated further that it was good to vote for Republicans. Yudi’s installed County Dem Chair was passive, a kind word, in this years election. Yudi’s previously installed County Dem Chair in 2016, also passive, was directly responsable for 2016 disaster in Luzerne County.
    With Yudi now gone, it will be good for the Dems in 2020. Bad, very bad news for Trump.
    Thank you Yudi.

    1. Hm as one of those attendees at the Pittston event I never heard that? I heard his express his concerns about the rising far left liberal bulls**t. Maybe you should have recorded this speech and you would have a leg to stand on. Oh wait that is because you are a democrat you believe everything you hear not what can be proven.

  4. Let’s put this in perspective. Dems will pick up SD 9 (Chesco and Delco). They have a decent shot at picking up SD 15 (Dauphin Co.). Laughlin will have a really hard time holding onto SD 49 (Erie) – he won on a fluke in 2016. That now puts the Dems at 24 seats. This defection hurts Dems’ chances of picking up State Senate control for the first time since 1994.

    The only other viable alternative for next year is SD 13 in Lancaster, which is a long shot. However, Smucker lost the district in 2018 for congress to King, so a flicker of hope exists. Nonetheless, it makes the road to a majority increasingly difficult.

  5. The purists will drive them all away. The nature of their quest for a majority is self-defeating. neophytes.

  6. Gotta give the guy credit, bold move. We, collectively, need to work toward the middle – some issues will always be right or left, that’s ok, but there is need for pragmatic government.

  7. Does the senator think that by switching to Independent he can save the two money losing jails? Dumb move and a republican will pick him off in 2022.

  8. This puts a cramp in the Dems plan for a majority. Costa now has it coming from both sides and has a Muth dilemma to deal with. My guess is he can also form Independents for Biden!

  9. Moderates are not welcome in the PA Senate Democratic Caucus, specifically, or in the PA Democratic Party, generally.

    1. After watching the impeachment inquiry this past two weeks and witnessing the Republicans smearing and attacking the patriotism of those testifying was sickening. How could any American watching what they said to heroes and career diplomats not walk away with the the thought that the Republican Party has lost its moral core. So your comment about moderates are not welcome in the Pa Dem party generally should also say only crazies are welcome in the Republican Party nationally.

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