Party hoping to use national, state momentum to secure local victories
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
Buoyed by the reelection of President Obama and a sweep of state row offices this past November, Chester County Democrats endorsed a slate of candidates Wednesday night that they believe will help them break the Republican gridlock in county offices.
Of the six positions that will appear on the primary ballot, only two judicial vacancies were contested, with three lawyers pursuing the endorsement. Before the vote was announced, one of the three, Tom Purl, said he wanted to throw his support to the other two contenders, Julia Malloy-Good and Anthony Verwey.
Malloy-Good, whose 30-year career has focused on conflict resolution through such avenues as mediation and arbitration, currently serves as a master in Family Court. Verwey is a partner in a West Chester law firm, where he specializes in land-use issues; he also spent more than a decade working for the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court.
The other candidates who received the party’s endorsement were Howard Jones, of East Goshen Township, coroner; Nina Haslip, of Phoenixville, treasurer; Tisha Brown, of Coatesville, clerk of courts; and Carmen Boyd, of Coatesville, controller. The party also endorsed Joe Waters for Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Michele Vaughn, who heads the county’s Democratic Party, introduced two outside speakers who offered encouragement to an already-enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 at Stetson Middle School.
First, Marcel L. Groen, the longtime head of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, predicted that Chester County would soon follow the lead of Montgomery County. In 2011, the victories of Commissioners Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards marked the first time Democrats had controlled Montgomery County since the late 1800s.
Then State Treasurer Rob McCord thanked the audience for helping him win, echoing a theme presented by Groen that the Philadelphia suburbs play a pivotal role in statewide races.
Jones, a retired dentist running for coroner, generated loud applause when he said: “It’s time that the party has the respect that it deserves in the county.”