Friday, January 20, 2006

Party Endorsement Process Is "Undemocratic"

No joke.
Citizens group demands open primaries, calls upon political parties to “let the voters decide.”

ANNVILLE, PA [1.19.06] - Continuing their battle to return government to Pennsylvania’s citizens, the grassroots citizens group PACleanSweep has called upon party leaders throughout the Commonwealth to refrain from endorsing candidates prior to the May 16 primary election.

"2006 will see more contested legislative races than any year in recent history," said PACleanSweep Chair Russ Diamond in an open letter to the Republican and Democratic State Committees. "Voters are demanding real choices. Party leaders who interfere in contested primaries do a disservice to their party, its members, and the spirit of a free electoral process."

PACleanSweep maintains that primary elections should be decided by the voters and not by a handful of power brokers.

"Primary elections exist to allow the party's rank and file to choose the nominee," said PACleanSweep Strategic Director Mike Bergmaier. "The party endorsement process is undemocratic as it disenfranchises the vast majority of voters."

Diamond noted that Pennsylvania's current political climate makes the case for open primaries even more compelling. Public outrage over the legislative payjacking cuts across party lines, and voters increasingly feel that political elites are out of touch with the people they represent.

Sunday's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review underscored the need for open primaries when it reported on the inexcusable conduct of a Mercer County GOP state committee member.

According to the report, Cindy Robbins said she was refusing to support gubernatorial hopeful Bill Scranton, "because Scranton publicly dissed the recent pay grab that the Legislature – including her husband [state Sen. Robert Robbins] – voted in favor of."

Robbins' out-of-touch viewpoint runs in stark contrast to public opinion and underscores the reason voters deserve open primaries where candidates face off on a level playing field.

"The people are waking up and demanding more say. They want choices and are understandably skeptical of backroom politics," said Diamond. "If party leaders meddle in primary contests, expect a backlash from the voting public."

"Pennsylvanians spend millions of dollars on primary elections, and we deserve our money’s worth," concluded Diamond.

Read the open letter...
Do you think the local Dems, given that there are nearly ten in the race for city council, could encourage them all to run as Indies and NOT offer an endorsement. That might be more democratic -- with a small "D."

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