10/26/2011 09:12 am ET Updated Dec 25, 2011

Is the PA Democratic Party Violating Their Own Bylaws?

My locality has a race for 2 Township Supervisor positions pitting 3 GOP members and 1 Democrat on the ballot.

In PA there is a closed primary system that allows cross-filing for School Board and judicial candidates only. Township Supervisor is a partisan position.

A member of the GOP was able to secure a write-in onto the ballot in the primary. The GOP member has also been offered the chance to become a Democrat, and he has turned the offer down. (That is something that should blow all the Democrats away, the GOP member exists politically only because some Democrats wrote him in, but he doesn't want to become one of them?)

Here's the rub. Even with a Democrat in the race, the county party is supporting the GOP member.

This person's name is going on all the literature as if they were a Democrat.

When the Democratic candidate (Link for more on him) asked the DEMOCRATIC county chairperson about this, the candidate was told in no uncertain terms that the GOP member would be supported. The Democrat would have to lump it.

It makes one wonder exactly why no one wants to step up and run for office. We could not give away slots for the school board this year. Democratic candidates have enough problems with the GOP opponents; it is a shame they have to fight what should be their own party also.

This Democratic candidate stepped up on the eve of the primary and ran an 18-hour campaign to defeat ALL the GOP members who were trying to play games with the Democratic side of the ballot. The GOP member actually already lost to the Democrat on the Democratic ballot.

As a reward for stepping into the breach -- the Democrat has stepped into a second GOP Primary where the Democratic "Machine" is helping the GOP win.

Every time the GOP member on the Democratic side is promoted by the Democratic Party, it comes at the expense of the Democrat in the race. Remember, the GOP candidate on the Democratic ballot has already been defeated by his own GOP.

No one is suggesting that this GOP member be removed from the ballot. He has successfully gamed the system for his advantage. But if he wants to remain a proud member of the GOP, the least the party can do is to denote that on their literature. The voters should have a clue as to what they are getting.

As for the By-Laws of the party the lawyers always love to hide behind, I think the Candidate is on solid ground here. A County Chairperson can actually be removed for supporting a GOP member in a non-cross-filed position. The question I have for the State Party is -- Do they have the guts?

If you are into having your eyes glaze over the following is the Bylaws for the PA Democratic Party ... here is the top parts of Rule 1.


The representative and authoritative bodies of the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania shall consist of:
1. The State Committee
2. The State Executive Committee
3. The County Committees, and
4. Such other subordinate committees as these rules and the rules of the respective county committees shall provide, as long as they are in compliance with state and national committee rules pursuant to Rule VII, Section 1 of these rules.

SECTION 2. Only duly registered and enrolled Democratic electors shall be eligible to serve as members or officers of any of the committees provided in Section 1 of this rule.

(a) No person shall be eligible to serve as a member or officer of any Democratic committee as provided in Section 1 of this rule who:

(1) holds a political appointive office of profit under an administration, whether city, school district (except teachers), county, state or national opposed to the Democratic Party (except positions of a judicial character or those appointed by the courts or notaries public or commissioners of Deeds or those whose original appointment to said position was made by a Democratic administration or attained through a merit system or a collective bargaining contract;

(2) has entered into an agreement with opponents of the Democratic Party to support such opponents;

(3) by voice, vote, financial support or otherwise has, within two years, supported a candidate in a general or special election opposed to the duly nominated candidate of the Democratic Party in that election, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this Section.

Here is the exception.

(c) Those Democratic candidates who cross-file for an office in which cross filing is permitted by law and Democratic candidates running as write-ins and those persons supporting such candidates are exempt from paragraph (a) of this Section.