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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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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