ABOVE PHOTO: State Rep. Donna Bullock and Gov. Tom Wolf. (Photo by Leona Dixon)
During Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Primary, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack found himself on the outside looking in for November’s general election.
By Denise Clay
To be honest, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack should have known that Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Primary wasn’t going to end well for him.
He was facing challengers from his Philadelphia backyard in the form of former Deputy Mayor Nina Ahmad, Chester County Commissioner Kathleen Cozzone and Montgomery County banker and insurance agent Ray Sosa. He also faced a challenge from across the state in the person of John Fetterman, the popular mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania who first gained prominence in a 2016 U.S. Senate run.
But the biggest headwind Stack was facing probably came in the form of the man that he ran with four years ago, Gov. Tom Wolf. Wolf, who was running unopposed in Tuesday’s primary, didn’t endorse Stack’s re-election.
In fact, he decided to leave the fate of Stack —- whom Wolf had had investigated by the Inspector General once allegations that he and his wife Tonya were being verbally abusive to staffers —- completely up to the voters.
“The people are going to have to make that decision,” Wolf said. “There are a lot of good candidates running and the Lieutenant Governor is elected separately from the Governor here in Pennsylvania.”
In the end, the voters decided to make Fetterman Wolf’s running mate as he goes for a second term. Fetterman won handily, with Ahmad coming in second and Cozzone third. Stack came in a distant fourth.
At his Election Night party in a Northeast Philadelphia restaurant, Stack thanked his family and supporters.
He was also philosophical about his tenure as Lieutenant Governor and his desire to make the most of the time he has left in the office.
“People make jokes about the Lieutenant Governor’s office,” Stack said, “But it’s a special and important job and I’ve been honored to do it. All anyone can ask in public service is for the chance to make a difference.”
Wolf and Fetterman will now face Republican State Sen. Scott Wagner and Lower Merion real estate executive Jeff Bartos in a general election race that if Wagner’s primary fight against businessman Paul Mango is any indication, will reach catastrophic highs in mud slinging.
But while Fetterman’s win and the new team it creates for the Democrats took center stage, Tuesday’s primary also signaled the rise of a New Philadelphia that might not observe the established rules.
Case in point, State Rep. Chris Rabb managed to win the Democratic primary in the 200th Legislative, fighting off a challenge from Melissa Scott, a candidate endorsed by former City Councilwoman Marian Tasco and current City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker.
Also, former WHYY reporter Elizabeth Fiedler defeated state Senate aide Jonathan Rowan, a candidate endorsed by Local 98 leader John Dougherty and the incumbent Bill Keller to win the Democratic primary in the 184th District.
Fiedler was just one of the many women who ran for office in the primaries. While Ahmad, Scott, Michele Lawrence, and five of the six women who ran for office in the newly created Fifth Congressional District didn’t win their races, Madeleine Dean, and Mary Gay Scanlon won the right to represent the Democrats in the Fourth and Fifth Districts in November.
Philadelphia Sun writer Amy V. Simmons contributed to this report.