Guide to local elections: Democratic Edition

John McClatchy

Last month, we gave you the local Republican candidates, now it’s the Democrats’ turn.

Although most local elections have come and gone this past month, these names will show up on your ballots next November, and it’s important to know who they are, and what they’re running for.

Jack Stollsteimer: Running for Attorney General

Chair of the Haverford Township Democratic Party and former prosecutor Jack Stollsteimer announced his candidacy for Attorney General of Pennsylvania on August 13, 2015, saying that he has more legal experience than current Attorney General Kathleen Kane, and none of the baggage associated with her.

“The fact of the matter is, she committed a crime,” Stollsteimer said in a phone interview. “I would be surprised if she were to run for reelection.”

Kane has been indicted on counts of leaking materials from a criminal investigation to humiliate political opponents and has had her legal license revoked. The State Legislature has now launched an investigation into whether or not she can be Attorney General without a law license.

Stollsteimer is confident that voters will make the right choice. “The voters are usually fair when it comes to voting in an election,” he said. “And they will make a great choice, whoever the eventual winner is.”

Stollsteimer is running against fellow Democrat Steve Zappala, and will face off against either Senator John Rafferty or Todd Stephens, the Republicans who have announced their candidacies.

Katie McGinty: Running for US Senator

Former chief of staff for Governor Tom Wolf, Katie McGinty is running in a primary against current frontrunner and former US Representative Joe Sestak, and mayor of Braddock John Fetterman to take on incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey.

McGinty has earned the endorsement of governor Wolf and former governor Ed Rendell and has been called an establishment candidate, with Sestak being the populist and Braddock the outsider.

She earned a name for herself with Pennsylvania voters by marching with workers for the $15 minimum wage and has also campaigned against Senator Toomey’s views with Social Security and Medicare.

“He has voted to privatize Social Security and to end Medicare as we know it,” she said. “It’s not right, and not good for Pennsylvanians.”

She said that despite her views on social issues, she has hesitated to call herself a candidate campaigning solely for entitlements. “These aren’t entitlement programs I’m working to save, they are programs that people paid into, and have a right to get back.”

“I don’t campaign for handouts,” she said. “I campaign for a handup.”

The Pennsylvania Democratic Primary for Senate is on April 26.

State Senator Andy Dinniman: Running for Reelection

Senator Andy Dinniman represents Pennsylvania’s 19th District, which includes Tredyffrin, East and West Whiteland, and Coatesville.

Dinniman is known for being bipartisan, and prides himself on being the only Democratic State Senator from Chester County.

“The last time I was elected, I carried 95% of Democrats, two-thirds of Independents, and one-third of Republicans in the district,” he said in a phone interview. “People don’t look at me as partisan but as some who tries to bring people together.”

“If I weren’t, I wouldn’t be senator right now,” he said. “Chester County is a Republican county, and I can’t be partisan.”

He is also one of three State Senators to not cash his paycheck during the ongoing budget battle in Pennsylvania.

“It is shameful that we have let this budget go as long as it has,” he said. “I don’t think it would be right for me as a senator to cash my paycheck when others are suffering through this budget battle.”

“I’m not going to blame either party for the budget,” he said. “But, both are at fault here, and we all have to agree on a budget that is sensible. The Governor’s wasn’t sensible, and the Republican’s wasn’t sensible either.”

State Representative Greg Vitali: Running for Reelection

Greg Vitali represents the 166th Legislative District of Pennsylvania, which includes Haverford Township, and parts of Radnor and Marple Townships as well. He is running for his 13th term in Harrisburg, and chairs the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

He has also served on the State Government, Appropriations, and Judiciary committees. He is also part of the 20-member Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, which inspects all Department of Environmental Protection regulations.

Vitali has been easily reelected in the past, averaging over 63% of the vote since 2008. “It’s come to a point really where I can just compartmentalize the process, until the time comes that I need to really think about it,” he said in a phone interview.

Vitali has a differing perspective than most with running for reelection. “State legislators have a 24 month term. In those 24 months, I make sure I build a relationship with my constituents, so they know me, and they know my views,” he said. “That way, when it comes time to campaign, I don’t need to raise as much money from special interests.”

“It really frees me up to be my own person in the Legislature,” he said. “And not be beholden to these special interest groups.”