It was another day in the race for the 5th U.S. Congressional seat Tuesday as candidates filed their petitions, others withdrew, some were endorsed and the snow pushed the county Democrats’ intended endorsement back.
On the Democrat side, 14 candidates had filed for the seat in Congress, while two Republicans in the newly drawn congressional seat that will replace the old 7th District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford who has decided not to seek re-election.
The Democrats seeking the seat include: teacher and environmental advocate Lawrence Arata of Haverford; George Badey, chairman of Radnor Township’s Democratic Committee; former CIA intelligence officer Shelly Chauncey of Glen Mills; state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby; Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland; former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Labor Rich Lazer; former Morgan Stanley wealth manager Lindy Li of Philadelphia; former U.S. Assistant Attorney Ashley Lunkenheimer of Upper Providence; attorney Dan Muroff of Marple; attorney Mary Gay Scanlon of Swarthmore; scientist Dr. Molly Sheehan of South Philadelphia; state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Havertown; journalist/entrepreneur David Wertime of Lower Merion and entrepreneur Theresa Wright of Norristown, who disbanded her run for U.S. Senate after coming 20 signatures shy of the 2,000 needed to file a petition for that race.
On the Republican side, Delaware County GOP-endorsed Pearl Kim of Radnor, a former senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania and a past assistant district attorney for Delaware County, will face former corporate commodity executive Paul Addis of Haverford.
Addis had launched a campaign against U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., saying he believed the incumbent had “squandered two terms as a senator,” adding “I believe that Pennsylvania needs a thoughtful, serious person that will enhance Pennsylvania and our nation.”
He said his biggest hope in participating in the senatorial race was that voters get to have a contrast of views.
Another Republican, Clare Putnam Pozos said she suspended her campaign Sunday prior to the county endorsement meeting.
“It has been an honor to meet so many people in the community and talk with them about the issues that are affecting them today,” she said. “Although I know that I had significant support among the Delaware County leaders for the endorsement, after I consulted with the chairman, it became apparent that I did not have enough support to gain the Delaware County GOP’s endorsement for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.”
Delaware County Democrats had been planning to hold an endorsement meeting April 4 but that was pushed back due to the snowstorm. Delco Democratic Party Chairman David Landau explained that a committee had been holding meetings evaluating the candidates and that a meeting was scheduled for Wednesday had to be postponed due to the weather.
“Everything has a domino effect,” he said.
Landau said the only thing certain in this election right now is uncertainty, especially regarding the multitude of candidates and Democratic campaigns themselves saying a Philadelphia Democrat might win the seat because of the large number of individuals in the race.
“I don’t think anybody can make any prediction what is happening in this primary,” Landau said. “I think that right now it’s certainly wide open … We’re taking it one step at a time right now.”
If it were up to one former congressman, that field would be done to one.
Joe Sestak, who represented the 7th U.S. Congressional District from 2007 to 2011, threw his support behind George Badey.
Badey’s campaign made the assertion that “the lone candidate now living in the South Philadelphia sliver of the district may swipe the nomination” and to avoid that, Badey received Sestak’s blessing. There are three Democratic candidates from Philadelphia: Lazer, Li and Sheehan.
“If Delaware County doesn’t unite behind the most electable candidate, Philadelphia will have three congressman and Delco will have none,” Badey said. “Since Delco makes up almost 80 percent of the new 5th district, that’s unacceptable.”
Badey, who grew up in South Philadelphia and lives in Delaware County, split his signatures between the two.
His campaign spokesman, Devin Gosnell, added, “The Philadelphia Democratic machine is praying for an open primary in Delaware County to divide Delco’s political base. If the Delaware County Democrats want a Delco congressman, then I encourage them to rally behind George Badey and endorse him as their nominee. You don’t have to take my word for it; Joe Sestak’s unequivocal support for George says it all.”
The former congressman had his own words about the race.
“I’ve now had the honor of speaking with most of the candidates who have declared for the 5th District, and we would be well-served by almost any one of them,” Sestak said. “But there is one I know best in what I believe matters most in a public servant: the character to not only serve others, but to do so selflessly no matter the cost to oneself. George Badey has my personal support because I saw this accountability to others above oneself not just in words, but in actual deeds, even stepping away from his job so he could run full-time for Congress at a challenging time when it was a majority-Republican district. Accountability to others, above all else, is what our citizens most need today: a public servant’s commitment that is to them, above self, above party.
“I support George for having this uncommon quality of character that the citizens of the 5th Congressional District deserve and it is why I believe no one will serve us better than George,” Sestak continued.