This week the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee is holding its annual meeting in Harrisburg.
In past years, the committee voted on whether to endorse candidates for statewide office. This year that includes Senate, governor and lieutenant governor. Making a call on the governor’s race is easy since Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the only candidate who’s announced. And Shapiro has endorsed state Rep. Austin Davis for lieutenant governor. State Rep. Brian Sims and Ray Sosa, a consultant, are also running for lieutenant governor.
However, there are several people running for the Senate seat that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) will be vacating, creating potential conflict for the PADSC.
The Democratic Senate candidates include Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Congressman Conor Lamb, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Montgomery County Commissioners Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh, and Philadelphia ER Dr. Kevin Baumlin, among others.
Montgomery County Democratic Chairman Joe Foster said, “With four candidates, it is typically unusual for a state party endorsement, so I doubt there will be one. I am going to state committee, and I do believe in endorsements. I don’t believe, however, one will be forthcoming with so many candidates at a very high 66 percent (approval) requirement for endorsement.”
The Delaware Valley Journal asked the leading Senate candidates whether they expect to be endorsed, whether the party will endorse anyone and why they should be the person who is endorsed.
Baumlin said that he does not believe the party will endorse any candidate, and the party should hold off because there is a contested primary.
“We need to let the voters of Pennsylvania decide who the nominee is,” said Baumlin. “The primary process will be a great opportunity for our party to showcase its diversity and platform to voters of the commonwealth.”
And if he were to be endorsed, Baumlin said that he would decline.
“The party’s nominee should not be decided by a small group of party insiders in Harrisburg. It should be decided by voters all across the commonwealth,” he said.
Kenyatta was more circumspect.
“As always we are going everywhere and talking to everybody about how we restore the basic bargain for working families and deliver a government that actually works for them. My hope, and the work that we have done, is to earn as much support as possible.
“We have a people-powered campaign and regardless of the outcome, we will be back on the road talking about creating good jobs, good public education, safe communities with affordable housing, the ability to go to the doctor and fill the prescription when you leave, and clean air and clean water. I think that is a message that resonates all across Pennsylvania, and I hope to get as many votes as I can, and that is the message I will be delivering until the campaign is over.”
Arkoosh, Fetterman and Lamb declined to respond.