Allegheny County Democratic Committee

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Heather Kass, whose endorsement by the Allegheny County Democratic Committee has generated more than a week of controversy, is now facing a challenge to the legitimacy of her election petitions. If that lawsuit is successful, Kass could be taken out of the race to replace retiring state Rep. Harry Readshaw, leaving a smaller field in the 36th state House district — and a festering wound within the local party.

Courtesy of Friends of Austin Davis

Allegheny County’s top Democratic Party official reversed herself on Monday by calling for a review of, and potential changes to, the party’s bylaws. But turmoil in party leadership continued, as party vice-chair Austin Davis resigned effectively immediately.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Calls are mounting for Allegheny County Democratic Committee chair Eileen Kelly to step down from her post, in the wake of a Wednesday press conference many saw as a disaster. Those urging her to step aside include the Allegheny-Fayette County Labor Council, which is headed by her nephew. Meanwhile, the supervisor of her day job, Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, has joined those calling for an overhaul of the committee’s bylaws.

Courtesy of Bethany Hallam's campaign.

In a wide-ranging and sometimes contentious half-hour press conference, Allegheny County Democratic Committee chairwoman Eileen Kelly pushed back on criticism of the local party and called for unity in a presidential election year — while settling some scores of her own.

Summer Lee for PA

When Democratic Party leaders endorse a candidate running in the spring primary, they hope doing so will help unify the party. On Sunday, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee may have done so by accident: From the state level on down, just about every Democrat not on the committee is denouncing one of its choices. 

Courtesy of Bethany Hallam's campaign.

One day after WESA reported that local Democratic Party leaders had no means of removing a committee member accused of physically accosting a black 13-year-old boy, a newly elected county councilor says it’s time for the party to change its rules.

Democrats across Pennsylvania have a new party leader.  Nancy Patton Mills was elected Saturday as chairwoman of the State Democratic Committee as candidates are gearing up for critical races for governor, U.S. Senate, Congress and the state legislature.

Lucy Perkins / WESA


Local Democrats have been recently running for office even in conservative Pittsburgh suburbs where the party's committee seats have been vacant for decades.

Members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee will choose their party leaders on June 9. And whether they vote for current county chair Nancy Patton Mills or challenger Eileen Kelly, this may be the last time they choose by secret ballot.

For a while, in fact, it appeared committee members wouldn’t be allowed to vote in secret this time, either.