SWATARA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Democratic Committee met Saturday to endorse candidates for three statewide races: governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate. Democrats made endorsements for only two of those races.
After two rounds of voting, state Democrats offered no endorsement for U.S. Senate. None of the candidates running reached the two-thirds vote threshold necessary for endorsement.
U.S. congressman Conor Lamb fell just a few votes short at 60 percent.
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“I think we showed that we have the strongest argument not just to win the primary, but to win in November, which is what everybody cares about,” he said.
Lamb is confident he is in a good position to be the next senator, citing his experience in Washington.
“I’ve cast a lot of votes, gotten bills passed under both President Trump and President Biden. I’ve been delivering for people in Washington, which is not an easy place to get results from,” he said.
Lt. Governor John Fetterman finished second, with less than a quarter of the vote, and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta finished third. Republican political consultant Christopher Nicholas said the second place finish was a surprise for the number two Democrat in the state.
“The non-endorsement in the Senate race is a big rebuff,” Nicholas said.
Other endorsements went smoothly Saturday. The state Democratic committee endorsed Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor and State Rep. Austin Davis for lieutenant governor, both in the first round of voting. Austin Davis is the first Black candidate to be endorsed for the role.
Both candidates are looking past the primary to November.
“We’re going to take this message, meet people where they are, visit with them, listen to them,” Shapiro said.
Davis said, “We’re ready to go out and build a coalition that’s going to win in November.”
With a crowded Republican field, the state GOP is unlikely to endorse a candidate for governor or Senate, according to Nicholas. There are at least 14 Republicans running for governor, and eight candidates for Senate.
“It’s hard for state committee members…to really winnow the field when it’s so large,” Nicholas said. He also said it is rare for Republicans not to endorse candidates for these races.
This leaves much up to voters in the spring primary.
“You’re going to have a very competitive Senate race, Senate primary on both sides, and I think that Senate race is going to overshadow the governor’s race,” Nicholas said.
The spring primary is on May 17.