Pennsylvania Democratic Congressional Candidate Won’t Commit to Vote for a Democratic Speaker

“I’m not going to make any promises.”

Clint Hendler

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One of the presumed front runners for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s vacant 18th district has told Mother Jones that she will not commit to vote for a Democratic Speaker of the House.

“I put politics aside, and people first,” said Gina Cerilli, the chair of Westmoreland County’s board of commissioners. “Until I’m there and I’m with my colleagues, I’m not going to make any promises.”

“I’m not going to give a complete answer,” she added. 

Cerilli, who entered the race promising to be a “moderate Democrat” who would be “pro-life, pro-sportsman, and pro-union” has drawn criticism from progressive activists in the district, some of whom have threatened not to aid her campaign if she emerges the nominee.

In the past, some conservative Democrats have sought to distance themselves from party leadership by threatening to vote for a Republican speaker. If Cerilli was elected and refused to vote for Democratic leadership in a closely divided Congress, it could keep the body in Republican hands and deny liberals a bulwark against Trump’s legislative agenda.

With voting under an hour away, more than 450 delegates mostly local precinct level party officials, had gathered in a school gymnasium for the special convention to pick a nominee for a seat vacated by Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned after it emerged that he had urged his mistress to seek an abortion. The delegates will choose among seven candidates in successive rounds of secret ballots.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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