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Monday, April 19, 2010

14th ward independent Dems weigh in on May primary races

Posted By on Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 10:54 AM

That bastion of East End progressivism, the 14th Ward's Independent Democratic Club, has announced its endorsements for the May primary. The endorsements came after a club gathering held over the weekend; they don't seem to be up on their Web site just yet, but here you go.

The club's choice for governor is no surprise: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel. Back in December, I figured he was a natural to "win the hearts of progressives," and he demonstrated his affinity for the East End set at a candidates' forum early this year.  

A bit more interesting is that the club endorsed Joe Sestak over Arlen Specter in the U.S. Senate race.

Yes, Sestak has certainly positioned himself to Specter's left. (Though some have questioned just how progrsesive he really is: Salon recently noted that some progressive scorecards give Sestak's voting record only anemic approval.)  And yes, while Sestak's challenge has driven Specter hard to the left, I imagine the Squirrel Hill set is about as tired of the Specter soap opera as everyone else.

Still, a different outcome wouldn't have stunned me: Specter does have the backing of much of the Democratic establishment. Plenty of others have swallowed their objections and gotten behind the guy, on the basis that his allegedly superior "electability." But I guess that's why this is the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club.

As a matter of policy, the club doesn't reveal vote totals. But "More people than I expected voted for Specter," says club president Chris Zurawsky. Turnout was heavy, he adds. 

The club's other endorsements:

  • Lieutenant Governor --  Jonathan Saidal
  • U.S. Congress, Dist. 14 – Mike Doyle
  • State Senate, Dist. 38 – Jim Ferlo
  • State Assembly, Dist. 23 – Dan Frankel
  • State Assembly, Dist. 34 – Paul Costa
  • State Assembly, Dist. 24 – Joe Preston
  • County Democratic Committee, Dist. 14-16 – Saleem Khan
  • State Democratic Committee, Dist. 38 – Pamela Macklin, Cynthia Maleski, Daniel Jimenez, Brenda Frazier
  • State Democratic Committee, Dist. 43 – Barbara Behrend, Ernsberger, Barbara Daly Danko, Patrick Sweeney, Diana Kazour, Rich Fitzgerald, Marvin Leibowitz

A couple of those committee races bear noting. I've written about Saleem Khan's committee challenge to Denny Regan previously. And a special shout-out to Daniel Jimenez: A Pitt grad student, he was in many ways the poster child for students opposed to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's tuition tax -- now he's running for a state committee spot. Watch out for him!

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