Democratic Party's state committee names Indiana-based lawyer J


    The center of gravity in the Democratic Party’s state committee shifted westward on Saturday, as committee members turned to a familiar face in a time of upheaval.

    Pa.-based lawyer Jack Hanna, a former party treasurer and a fixture on the committee for nearly a quarter-century,Indiana,Authentic Matthias Farley Jersey, was named interim chair at the state committee’s winter meeting in Harrisburg. Allegheny County committee chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills was named interim vice-chair -- and is a contender to be the permanent chair in June.

    Mr. Hanna’s election follows the departure of former chair Marcel Groen. The Montgomery County lawyer resigned Feb. 2 at the behest of Gov. Tom Wolf amid concerns Mr. Groen had been insensitive to issues of sexual harassment. (Former vice-chair Penny Gerber also recently stepped down,Authentic Antonio Morrison Jersey, for health reasons.)

    who’s been planning to move to the Pacific Northwest this year, said the interim post “will be a wonderful capstone. And my last official act will be turning over the gavel to the next leader,womens Rashaan Melvin Jersey,Mr. Hanna,womens Denzelle Good Jersey, with a bittersweet feeling of saying goodbye.”

    symbolically enough, also featured the passage of rules describing the process for reporting and investigating sexual harassment. Democrats hailed the measure as providing a contrast with Republicans,Authentic Jack Doyle Jersey,Saturday’s meeting, who have been rocked by reports of spousal abuse among White House staffers.

    The policy “is going to give us the ability to send a very strong message this election,Authentic Adam Vinatieri Jersey,” Mr. Wolf told the committee.

    and with seven candidates in the offing, the committee decided not to give its nod -- even though the field included the incumbent,There was little open controversy over the rules or the interim selections. The only breakdown of consensus came when the party sought to endorse a candidate for lieutenant governor. Democrats require a two-thirds vote to endorse, Mike Stack.

    meanwhile, will serve until after the May primary,Mr. Hanna, when Democratic voters will elect state committee members to four-year terms.

    but would focus on providing logistical and other support to candidates across the state. Starting with the March 13 special election in southwestern Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, he said,He said he wasn’t planning major changes to the party’s structure or staff, “This will truly be a keystone state politically.”

    with supporters ranging from Mr. Wolf to Allegheny County’s James Burn,Mr. Hanna is well liked, the previous Democratic Party chair who Mr. Wolf worked to replace with Mr. Groen in 2015.

    Mr. Hanna won’t seek the post permanently. Ms. Patton Mills,womens Matthias Farley Jersey,womens Antonio Morrison Jersey, meanwhile,Authentic Rashaan Melvin Jersey,Citing his prior moving plans,Authentic Denzelle Good Jersey,Authentic Frank Gore Jersey, makes no secret that she intends to seek the seat in June.

    “Definitely I would be interested in it,” she said.

    party insiders say,womens Frank Gore Jersey, though it wasn’t clear this weekend who that could be. Ms. Patton Mills is close to Mr. Wolf,womens Jack Doyle Jersey,womens Adam Vinatieri Jersey,At least one challenger is likely to arise, which prompted grumbling that selecting her would give Mr. Wolf -- who pushed both for Mr. Groen’s appointment and his departure -- too much influence over the party.

    “I’ve heard a lot of that,Authentic Anthony Castonzo Jersey,” Ms. Patton Mills said.

    ” and said it was important to be on the same page with him on key issues,She noted Mr. Wolf was “the number-one Democrat in the state,womens Anthony Castonzo Jersey, like having a no-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.

    But Ms. Patton Mills said, “I would be independent” as chair. “The committee has to operate independently.”

    a spokesman for Mr. Wolf,Jeffrey Sheridan, said that while the governor “has a tremendous amount of respect for Chairwoman Mils … he believes [it’s for] members of the state committee to decide.”

    Mr. Hanna called the relationship between the party and Mr. Wolf “a delicate balance” in which the governor should have input but not “overarching control.”

    Mr. Hanna added, “Everyone understands what’s at stake. We’re seeking unity,And with key congressional races -- and Mr. Wolf’s own re-election bid -- ahead this year, and I believe we will find it.”