2020 Democratic Docket – Chester County Nominees

While 2020 has proven to be a chaotic and stressful year, some things – like the upcoming election – must be adapted to survive the circumstances.

This year is a particularly important national election, but what about local elections? Local candidates – who will become local elected officials – will, overall, have a greater impact on our lives, and yet they are often overlooked. 

To see which zones and districts you live in, and who represents you, consult the district maps here. The Democratic docket this year, in PA and Chester County, is notably diverse. Below, find a breakdown by election race, level, and candidate.

Statewide Offices

Attorney General

Running for PA Attorney General is the incumbent, Josh Shapiro. Prioritizing the protection of seniors, veterans, small businesses, and consumers, along with ending scams and fraud, he’s also focused extensively on integrity agendas within the justice system, and fighting heroin and opioids in our communities. As the Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Shapiro spearheaded historic fiscal turnaround, helped the first LGBT+ couples in Pennsylvania marry, protected voting rights statewide, and fired Wall Street money managers in an effort to safeguard pensions and save retirees millions. As State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 153rd House District, he passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. To learn more, visit his campaign website.

Auditor General

Dr. Nina Ahmad, who earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, is running for Auditor General. As the President of the Philadelphia National Organization for Women, she led efforts to fight workplace discrimination and harassment undermining women and BIPOC. Dr. Ahmad also helped to raise millions for local nonprofits improving the quality of life for working and poor families while she served on the board of the Philadelphia Foundation. Serving as the Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement under Mayor Jim Kenney, she oversaw the Commission for Women, the Office of Black Male Engagement, and the Youth Commission while also working closely with the Office of LGBT Affairs. She also served on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. To learn more, visit her campaign website.


Treasurer of pa

The incumbent Joe Torsella is running for Treasurer of PA. Elected in 2016, he previously advocated for budget restraints and transparency as the US Representative to the UN for budget and management reform. Torsella also served as chair of the PA State Board of Education and as the CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, raising $185 million in private and public funds to open the center in 2003. Another graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he’s deeply invested in our area and communities. His campaign website can tell you more about his policies and personal background.

Nationwide Offices

The incumbent Rep. Chrissy Houlahan is running again for the Congressional District PA-06, to serve in the US House of Representatives. First elected in November 2018, by an 18 percent margin, Rep. Houlahan was previously an engineer, an Air Force Captain, and a former COO to a non-profit educational collaborative. She now serves on following Committees: Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business in the US House of Representatives. Her campaign website goes into more detail about her history of service and plans for future service to our country.

Pennsylvania Senate

John Kane is challenging this year for the 9th state Senate District. A native of Delaware County, from a working-class family, Kane made a career as a blue-collar worker. As a cancer survivor and father, he understands many of the struggles facing the community. He fights for affordable healthcare, pay equality, reproductive justice, and affirmative action on climate change. Visit his campaign website to learn more about him.

Rep. Carolyn Comitta is running for the 19th state Senate District seat (this is the PA Senate seat representing the West Chester area). A WCU grad, a former teacher, a Borough Council Member, the former Mayor of West Chester, and the VP and CFO of Thomas Comitta Associates, she’s been involved and invested in West Chester and Chester County for a long time. Elected to 156th of PA House in 2016, Ms. Comitta currently serves on the Committees on Aging & Older Adult Services, Environmental Resources & Energy, Local Government, Professional Licensure, and Urban Affairs, as well as on the Climate, PA SAFE, and Women’s Health Caucuses. She also stays busy as a member of the PA Joint Legislative Air & Water Pollution Control & Conservation Committee and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. Visit her campaign website for more information.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Anton Andrew is running for election in the House 160th District, promoting rights and opportunity for minority communities, small business owners, and women. With a background in finding common ground and solutions for diverse groups, he plans to work with the knowledge that no one person or party has a monopoly on solving the challenges we’re facing. In the 2018 election, he lost the district against the 22-year incumbent Steve Barrar by 828 (out of 30,000) votes. In the upcoming election, he has been endorsed by President Obama. View his campaign website for more details.

Paul Friel, campaigning for the House’s 26th District, was a former Owen J. Roberts School board member, and aims to build the economic successes of our communities, support public education, create sound environmental policy, and work towards a transparent government. With more than 25 years of management and executive leadership experience, he plans to bring that background to policy. His campaign website can tell you more about his priorities and history.

Incumbent Rep. Danielle Friel Otten is running again for the House 155th District, having run and won in 2018. A WCU grad and environmental and anti-pipeline activist, Friel helped to found the Del-Chesco United For Pipeline Safety, a public safety collective with a focus on strong public schools, more affordable and accessible healthcare, public safety, environmental justice, and workforce development. She also serves as a member of the PA House Committees on Aging and Older Adult Services, Children & Youth, Environmental Resources and Energy, and Tourism and Recreational Development, as well as the Climate and PA SAFE Caucuses. Her campaign website has more details on her battle for reelection. 

Dianne Herrin, current Mayor of West Chester, is running for the House 156th District, which represents the West Chester Area. Elected Mayor of West Chester in the 2017 general election with 73 percent of the vote, she has worked to ensure effective communications with residents and business owners, uniting diverse communities with creative problem-solving. She also serves as the VP of Practical Energy Solutions, a Borough-based energy efficiency and renewable energy consulting company, which encompasses her longtime advocacy on behalf of the quality of life issues. View her campaign website here.

The incumbent Kristine Howard of the House 167th District is a UPenn grad and single mother who operates on the principle that children come first. She is fighting to improve state programs and funding to offer quality education, healthcare, and open career opportunities to all. First elected November 2018, she serves on the PA House Committees on Children & Youth, Finance, and Human Services, and is a member of the Climate, PA SAFE (gun violence), and Women’s Health Caucuses. She has been named an Environmental Champion by the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. Her campaign website has more information on her bid for reelection. 

Campaigning for the House 13th District this season is Richard Ruggieri, an Air Force Veteran and the VP of information technology for Barclay’s. His policy priorities include education and job training, property tax reform, and stewardship of natural resources. View his campaign website here.

Rep. Christina Sappey, the incumbent of the House 158th District, has a history of advocacy for natural resource protection and infrastructure issues. She served as Chief of Staff to former State Representative Barbara McIlvaine Smith, former Director of Legislative Initiatives to State Senator Andy Dinniman, and former Chief of Staff to State Representative Carolyn Comitta. Running with a focus on the quality of life and opportunity for all, she was first elected in 2018. Currently, she serves on the PA House Committees on Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Local Government, and Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness. She also serves on the following caucuses: the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus, the Blue-Green Climate Caucus, the Ladies of the House Caucus, the Mental Health Caucus, the PA SAFE Caucus, and the Women’s Health Caucuses. Her campaign website has more information on her policies and stances.

Rep. Melissa Shusterman is running for reelection in the PA House 157th District. As a small business owner and single mom, she originally ran to increase accountability and decrease roadblocks in Harrisburg. Campaigning on government transparency, accountability, education equity, environmental issues, and gun control, Ms. Shusterman won over the Republican incumbent by well over 4,000 votes in her first election. She currently serves on the Judiciary, Aging & Older Adult Services, and Tourism & Recreational Development Committees; she is also the Secretary of the Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus, and is the first freshman legislator to serve as a Deputy Whip. See her campaign website for more information.

The incumbent Rep. Dan Williams is running for reelection in House 74th District. He is a former UPS supervisor, union supporter, and has served as the senior pastor of New Life in Christ Fellowship Church in Coatesville for the past 27 years. Rep. Williams is deeply involved in community and charity, and actively fights for affordable healthcare and against gun violence. Elected to this seat in 2018, he serves as a member of the PA House Committees on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, Children and Youth, and Urban Affairs, as well as of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. His campaign website has more information.

More Resources: 

Chester County Webpage (Voter Services

Chester County Sample Ballots (all possible districts)

Online Voter Registration


Photos Courtesy of Ballotpedia and Dianne Herrin

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Althea Hutchinson

Althea Mae is a high school student at Henderson High School in West Chester and an aspiring writer with a passion for local politics and civic activism. She's the senior editor of her school newspaper and one of four senior editors of her school's literary magazine, as well as interning for Crimson Planet Media.

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