Nancy Patton Mills, the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, didn't mince words. City Councilor Darlene Harris cannot serve as a Democratic ward chair now that she's registered as an independent.
"I'll be speaking with her, probably tomorrow," Patton Mills says. "I'll ask if she'd like to send a letter resigning from the chairmanship." If Harris doesn't comply, "I'll just send her a letter and remove her."
Patton Mills cited a provision in the party rules asserting that "Any ... party officer who shall register as a member of any other political party shall cease to be a member of the County Committee or a party officer and his or her office shall be declared vacant."
The Post-Gazette, which first reported Harris' switch this morning, notes that Harris' move come on April 22 -- the last day she could switch her registration in time to run as an independent in the November election. There has been speculation that Harris may be pondering a challenge to Bill Peduto, who won the party's nomination for mayor in this week's primary, though Harris hasn't revealed her plans. She has until August 1 to file papers for a mayoral bid.
Patton Mills says that, while she heard rumors of Harris' switch yesterday -- and while "we kind of thought she might do it" -- she didn't have confirmation until today's P-G report. "I also have some questions about her acting as a ward chair since April 22," Patton Mills says.
Harris is chair of the city's 26th Ward committee, in the North Side. Patton Mills says that when a ward chair is removed, the ward's committeefolk would then be convened to select a new chair until 2014, when the party reorganizes itself after the spring primary. Should Harris re-register as a Democrat, the new ward chair could reappoint her to fill a suitable vacancy. Otherwise, Harris would have to run for a committee slot in the 2014 primary.
But that assumes Harris does not actually run for mayor. Jim Burn, who chairs the Democratic Party's statewide committee, says that under party rules, a committeeperson who supports anyone other than a Democrat in the general election can be barred from a committee post for two years. Patton Mills was unaware of that provision -- "This hasn't happened since I've been ward chair; it's a little new to me" -- but said that when it comes to either removing or reinstating Harris, "I will follow the bylaws. We go by the rules."
ha ha ha....Keith Rothfus is very unpopular. Who wrote this piece of crap anyways???
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