Nancy Patton Mills

Julia Zenkevich / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania democrats are counting on the midterm momentum they garnered last year as they gear up for the 2020 presidential race. Donald Trump's victory in Pennsylvania in 2016 came as a surprise to many democrats, including Nancy Patton Mills, who now serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party

Nancy Patton Mills, who hopes to be chosen as the next chair of the state Democratic Committee next week, suffered a rebuke in her own home county on Saturday: Despite the support of Gov. Tom Wolf and other top Democrats, she lost the race for Allegheny County Democratic chair to Eileen Kelly by a two-to-one margin.

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.

An Allegheny County Democrat is once again seeking to become the face of the state Democratic Party: Nancy Patton Mills, who chairs the county’s committee, is officially declaring her candidacy for party chair when state officials gather in Harrisburg in mid-June.

“I think it’s time for the PA Democratic Committee to come into this century,” Mills says. “[We] are the party of the people now,” with a more diverse make-up.