No Senate, Attorney General Endorsements From PA Democratic Committee

Mar 7, 2016

Pennsylvania's Democratic Party committee members went through a divisive process of buttonholing, cajoling and promising on Saturday but ultimately could not deliver endorsements in contested primary races for U.S. senator and state attorney general.  

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala won the most votes for the Attorney General race with 63 percent, short of the 67 percent needed for an endorsement. Katie McGinty, former Chief of Staff for Governor Tom Wolf, came closest to winning endorsement for U.S. Senate with 173 votes, surpassing former U.S. Representative Joe Sestak’s 149 and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman’s 34.

The three U.S. Senate candidates hope to unseat incumbent Republican Pat Toomey.

The lack of endorsements likely won't  have much of an impact on the candidates' campaigns though, according to Terry Madonna, a political analyst at Franklin and Marshall College.

“More and more, the state party endorsements don’t have a lot of cachet,” Madonna said. “It’s just the fact that there’s too many other unknowns and too many other factors that go into the nomination of someone statewide.”

Two other Democrats are running for attorney general, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. Two Republicans, Montgomery County state Sen. John Rafferty and ex-Scranton police officer and state prosecutor Joe Peters, hope to secure the office.

Although candidates have not been endorsed by the Democratic Party, they have received support from others: McGinty has been endorsed by the United Steelworkers Union, Gov. Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. Sestak was endorsed by U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright.  Fetterman received a nod from former Pennsylvania Treasurer Barbara Hafer and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. And Zappala is backed by Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Michael Stack III and the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

The state primary is on April 26.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.