The Marauders’ Map

A successful compromise is usually defined as both sides being equally unhappy.  By that measure, I don’t think we can call the new PA Supreme Court congressional map a “success,” but we are stuck with it, so we may as well embrace it for entertainment value if for nothing else.

So sit back and pop the popcorn, because this year’s Congressional Elections are going to be amusing, to say the least.

The Field

It’s worth noting that there are far more Democrats on the ballot than Republicans.  My theory on this is that Democrats anticipated that the map was going to be re-written by the friendly Supreme Court of PA and prospective Democrat Candidates spent much of the winter building their organizations to prepare for their runs.  Meanwhile, the Republicans were relying on the PA Supreme’s map to be thrown out and got caught flat footed with few viable candidates, even fewer of whom had any sort of discernable organizations behind them.

dvsrIn fairness to the Republicans, running for U.S. Congress is a rather significant undertaking and making a decision to run for national office requires more contemplation time than a few days at the end of February.  You, Gentle Reader, can draw your own conclusions about the ease of these decisions for so many Democrats.

Take a look at the candidate mix in Southeastern PA.  There are more Democrats running in every single race save one.  There are two districts in SEPA where there are no incumbents:  In PA4, there are four Democrats running to the Republican’s one and in PA5 there are fourteen —FOURTEEN!—Democrats running to the Republican’s two.  PhillyMag:

1st Congressional District

(Including Bucks County, part of Montgomery County)

  • Rachel Reddick (D)
  • Steven Adam Bacher (D)
  • Scott Wallace (D)
  • U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)
  • Dean Malik (R)

2nd Congressional District

(Including Northeast Philadelphia,the River Wards)

  • U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)
  • Michele Lawrence (D)
  • David Torres (R)

3rd Congressional District

(Including Center City, South Philadelphia, Northwest Philadelphia, West Philadelphia)

  • U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D)
  • Kevin Johnson (D)
  • Bryan Leib (R)

4th Congressional District

(Including part of Montgomery County, part of Berks County)

  • Shira Goodman (D)
  • Madeleine Dean (D)
  • Mary Josephine Daley (D)
  • Joseph Hoeffel (D)
  • Daniel David (R)

5th Congressional District

(Including South Philadelphia, part of Delaware County, part of Montgomery County)

  • Gregory Vitali (D)
  • Richard Lazer (D)
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (D)
  • Daniel Muroff (D)
  • Molly Sheehan (D)
  • George Badey (D)
  • Larry Arata (D)
  • David Wertime (D)
  • Shelly Chauncey (D)
  • Thaddeus Kirkland (D)
  • Margo Davidson (D)
  • Ashley Lunkenheimer (D)
  • Theresa Wright (D)
  • Lindy Li (D)
  • Paul Addis (R)
  • Pearl Kim (R)

6th Congressional District

(Including part of Berks County, part of Chester County)

  • Chrissy Houlahan (D)
  • Gregory Michael McCauley, Sr. (R)

In fact, the only race where there are more Republicans on the ballot than Democrats is the 6th, where current U.S. Rep Ryan Costello is facing a primary challenge.  But every incumbent in SEPA, Republican or Democrat, is facing a primary challenge.

Wishy-Washy in the 6th

Should I stay or should I go?

Is Ryan Costello running for re-election or not?  Following speculation last week that Costello was contemplating retirement, it seems he’s committed to running.  No other Democrats have come out of the woodwork to challenge Democrat Chrissy Houlahan, so Costello is the only one in the 6th with a primary challenge on his hands.

Super Majority

Before we move on, a word about the Democrat Party’s endorsement process:   the Democrats require a super-majority to endorse a candidate, and lacking that, they take it to the primary.  Sometimes, the Democrat power brokers try to squash the endorsement process altogether when it doesn’t look good for their favored candidate, such as the Democrats endorsement vote for Attorney General in 2016.  Times Herald:

The party’s endorsement does not guarantee a nomination, but it can plug a candidate into fundraising and volunteer networks and provides a useful campaign slogan as the party-endorsed candidate.

The tone was set early in Saturday’s process when party members rejected chairman Marcel Groen’s call to support an open primary, rather than taking the endorsement votes. In floor comments challenging Groen’s motion, former chairman Jim Burn said the timing of Groen’s motion “calls into question the motivation” to do it.


Ultimately, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, whom Burn supports, fell just shy of winning the endorsement over Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, a close friend of Groen’s.

cartoon-smoke-filled-roomIt’s no secret that Party bosses—on both sides of the aisle—like to play kingmaker and manipulate committee members into voting their way.  As I’ve said before, the Democrat party pays lip service to their constituencies, and women happen to be in fashion for them right now.  Angry women performed well for Democrats last November based on the Democrats’ promise of “empowerment.”  But when Democrats are pushing women off the ballot in favor of white males, I’m not sure that they have a monopoly on that “empowerment.”  But I’ve been saying that for a while.

The Patriarchy steals the 4th

In an unintentionally humorous column on today, Maria Panaritis dons the all-too-familiar Pussyhat of Outrage over Joe Hoeffel’s entry into the race for PA4:

This was supposed to be the Pennsylvania congressional race with the highest odds of going to a woman in November.  The one that would surely break the testicular stranglehold that has kept any woman out of the state’s 18-seat U.S. House delegation in recent years.

Ok, I have to interrupt this testicular stranglehold with an observation:  a washed-up former congressman who’s been absent from the Montgomery County political landscape for over 8 years enters the race and none of these Emerge, Indivisible, Turn PA Blue Mighty women can beat him?  Just how strong are these candidates anyway?

But now it looks as though Montgomery County’s newly drawn Fourth Congressional District could just as easily go to a 68-year-old-man.  And after another man previously in the race, State Sen. Daylin Leach, withdrew amid accusations of questionable behavior with young female staffers and volunteers.  If that’s not the ultimate irony in a year in which women are largely to thank for breathing new life into the old-bag-of-tricks Democratic Party, I don’t know what is.



So what is Panaritis actually saying here?  That Joe Hoeffel should have stayed out of the race in order to give the girls the edge?  That hardly sounds like empowerment to me.  And what, because there are three women already running, Joe should thwart his hopes of reclaiming a seat in congress just to break the testicular stranglehold that Panaritis seems to imply women candidates have been helpless to overcome? Joe runs for office:  That’s what JOE DOES.


I find it hard to believe that the whiny victimhood characterizing Panaritis’ column is anyone’s idea of strength.  If these women cannot even beat ole Joe in a primary battle without having the scales tipped in their favor, then I’m not certain any of them is worthy of a minute of our outrage, much less a seat in the U.S. House.

And no, it’s not “irony” that Daylin Leach was also in this race, its cynicism.  Daylin was prevented by party bosses from running from Congress because of his misbehavior, but nobody seems all that bothered by him retaining his PA Senate seat.

Later in the column, Panaritis bemoans the Democrats endorsement process, stating that

An endorsement would help draw other endorsements and money.  But if the party decided to endorse no one, that would give the edge to whichever candidate had the most name recognition.  In this case, that candidate happened to be the man seated in the crowd wearing a suit and tie.  A man who’d just entered the all-women race as a potential spoiler, if not intentionally, then by default.

Whoooo!  There’s some real anger in this paragraph.  As if Joe running for office was some kind of malicious plot by the patriarchy to keep women out of the halls of power.  But maybe there’s some truth to this, what do I know?  An Inky columnist would sure know a lot more about the inside machinations of the Democrat party more than I would. From where I sit, they are at least as misogynist as the Republicans.

The upshot of all this, as Panaritis later explains, is that the “Party faithful” really, really wanted either Mary-Jo Daley or Madeleine Dean, with Hoeffel collecting only lack-luster applause and single-digit endorsement votes, but since neither Daley or Dean gained a super-majority, no endorsement was given for the seat.

What’s interesting is that both Daley and Dean are political veterans.  If they really believed in the importance of electing a woman to Congress, one of them could have dropped out and thrown her support to the other one, thereby avoiding a costly primary by getting the endorsement (and all of its attendant spoils) while simultaneously sending the mean old man with the great name recognition back to the sidelines.  But instead, they both stayed in the race.

It’s almost as if they cared more about their own ambition than women’s empowerment.

Another casualty of the Patriarchy?

In fact, Mary Jo Daley protégé, Time cover girl Sara Campbell-Szymanski recently withdrew her bid for State Rep, in the wake of the Area 4 Dems’ endorsement of a white male military guy patriarchy(who presumably wore a suit and tie).  After the endorsement meeting, Campbell-Szymanski vowed to stay in the race, only to withdraw a few weeks later on the day of petition submission.  She claimed she had enough signatures to get on the ballot and that she “trusted” the endorsed candidate with her vote.  Her decision, she said, was based on her re-discovery of her family and the realization that she wanted to spend more time with them.  Was she also a victim of the Patriarchy?  I can only tell you that when I posed the question, I was told to mind my own beeswax.

Can this party be saved?

partybossHow I wish that the Republicans also required a super-majority for endorsement.  It might end some of the silliness that goes on behind the scenes with the MCRC Executive Committee endorsement.

Montgomery County Republicans were spared the horror of another unorganized endorsement meeting when only one of the four (or was it five?) announced candidates for PA4 bothered to file petitions.  That, unsurprisingly, was Dan David.

It’s depressing that in Montgomery County, Republicans could not come up with a better slate of hopefuls.  While the Dems are fighting it out in a three-way race between political heavyweights, the Republicans are running an unknown who basically had no serious competition.  Not to detract from Dan David, who is a fine candidate, but Republicans, and committee members in particular, would do well to contemplate why this went down the way it did, and it was far more than just being caught flat-footed by the new Congressional Map.

Montgomery County is not lacking for ambitious Republicans with political talent.  That so few stepped forward, and even fewer actually followed through, demands examination.  Sure, it’s a tough climate for Republicans this year, but the RNC has money for this; the PA Congressional race has gained national attention because of the interference of the PA Supreme Court and its races will have consequences for the Republican agenda.

Why didn’t more folks step forward?  Is it cowardice in the face of “woke” Democrats?  A nasty election climate?

Or is it a lack of faith in Party leadership at the County level?

After being forced to come, hat in hand, to ask for the endorsement of MCRC, what, in the end, would that gain a potential candidate?

I’ll tell you:  The half-hearted support of an anemic party who is losing committee members to resignation and death every day.

It wouldn’t get them any financial support; in fact, an endorsement would probably only earn the candidate the “privilege” of funding the “green ballot” on behalf of MCRC.

sadelephantIn recent years, the MCRC has become an organization that functions more to benefit FROM the support of its candidates rather than as a support FOR its candidates.  MCRC is a drain on a candidate’s resources and they offer nothing in return.  Leadership raises the profiles of sychophant Republicans whom they can control, while they expend energy undermining quality individuals who may have voted the wrong way during the Chairman’s race four years ago.  They let rogue Republican committee persons go unchecked supporting Democrats, especially if those rogues are writing big checks to Chairman’s Club.  They have no new ideas.  And they inspire no one.

Former Chairman Mike Vereb demolished the party two years ago with his divisive personal intra-party vendetta against Joe Gale.  Chairman Bill Donnelly is just putting the final nails in the coffin of the organization in between lunches.

I truly believe Republicanism is not dead in Montgomery County. But it needs to get out from under the dead weight of an ineffective organization.

3 thoughts on “The Marauders’ Map

  1. Florence L. (Lisa) Friebel

    Dear LM,

    You are smart, funny and right on the mark. I didn’t reach 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot – needed party volunteers which just weren’t available. Believed I was a strong candidate and the Democrats worst nightmare – resume includes 8 years on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer for the likes of Jack Kemp and John Heinz; areas of expertise – national security; foreign policy. Ran for Pa district 154 during the Dole/Kemp race. Currently a High School educator for last the 15 years with first hand experience per issues/concerns about student achievement and school safety.

    Would have loved to have been your candidate!

    Lisa Friebel
    P.S. Was on time for Whitpain – 15 minutes early! Cheers.

    1. LM

      Dear LF,

      The local Republican organization is invested in the Governor’s race almost to the exclusion of all else, IMHO. This is a huge problem for all down ballot Republicans, but there is really no excuse for not being on top of the Congressional races. Thanks for your comments. Pretty sure you were not the candidate we were waiting for that night, but I would have liked to hear you speak.


  2. Pingback: Divisible: Turning PA Black and Blue – Montco Scrap

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s