Local Democratic Party Committee members not endorsing any Erie mayoral candidates due to policy

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The May 18th primary is just around the corner. The local Democratic Party Committee members are not endorsing the mayor for a second term or anyone else running for mayor.

According to the Democratic chairman, this is part of their party’s policy to not endorse anyone in local primaries.

There are three Democratic candidates running for the mayor’s seat in the City of Erie, but the Erie County Democratic Party isn’t planning on endorsing one of their own.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jim Wertz said that not endorsing a Democrat in the primary has always been the policy.

Wertz said that the party’s bylaws are clear.

“It’s a multi process that candidates would have to go through to receive the endorsement of the party,” said Jim Wertz, Chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party.

The Erie County Democratic Party said that not endorsing any candidate in the primary is just a reflection of their party.

“The decision by the committee to not endorse in this particular race once again is a reflection of the tradition of the party to not endorse,” said Wertz.

Mayor Joe Schember said that he has been endorsed by many Democrats from everyday people to community leaders.l

The local Democratic party not endorsing Schember does not phase him.

“I’ve been getting very strong responses from them a lot of Democratic leaders in town who have been supporting me,” said Mayor Schember.

Tom Spagel, who is running for Schember’s seat said that the party not endorsing the mayor shows a lack of confidence.

“I think more than anything else this is just the Democrats saying their tired of the status quo. We need some change,” said Tom Spagel, (D) Candidate for Mayor.

Also running for Erie Mayor is political newcomer, 28-year-old Sydney Zimmerman.

Wertz said that the party is currently in the process of reviewing those bylaws so you may see some changes.

The Erie County Democratic Committee will also be moving forward with an endorsement meeting in the mayor’s race.

The meeting will be held next Tuesday, April 6 at 6PM. Tentatively, it will be held at the East Middle School auditorium to allow for appropriate social distancing guidelines.

Per the County Party bylaws, the endorsement process is as follows:

  • The ECDP will host a meeting for the members of the ECDP city committee to hear from all candidates registered for the May 2021 mayoral primary. Each candidate will receive 5 minutes for an introductory statement, followed by a maximum 20 minute Q&A during which committee members will have an opportunity to ask questions of individual candidates or the panel of candidates. Each candidate will have up to 2 minutes to respond to each question. After the Q&A period, candidates each will be provided up to 2 minutes for a closing statement.
  • Following the candidate presentations, the committee will vote on an endorsement. Committee members can vote for an individual candidate or they may vote for “no endorsement.” If any candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, their endorsement by the city committee will be forwarded to the full committee for approval of a formal endorsement of the Erie County Democratic Party. If a majority vote is not received by any candidate in the first round of voting, the candidate with the least number of votes will be removed from the ballot and a second round of balloting will take place. If no majority is reached in the second round of voting, a non-endorsement recommendation will be made by the city committee. Proxies will not be accepted.

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