#HD164: Margo Davidson Makes a Power Grab

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State Representative Davidson is one of three incumbent Democrats who received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania Business Council’s “PEG PAC”. You can read more about that HERE.

In addition, it appears that Davidson is making political moves behind the scenes to ensure her victory in one respect or another, whether it’s her re-election as state representative, or the direct retribution to those who have challenged her right to that position. Here’s a letter I received from a Democratic committee member from Lansdowne, PA, a small borough outside of Philadelphia that is included in the 164th state legislative district.

Hi Colleen,

I’m a Democratic committee-person in Lansdowne’s [redacted] Precinct and thought I’d let you know about Rep. Davidson’s petty attempt to retaliate against the Lansdowne Dems for endorsing Billy Smith.  I sent this in to Keystone Politics’ anonymous tipline but thought you might want to know directly.

Margo is running a slate of committee-people in Lansdowne’s 1st and 3rd precincts.  We have plenty of precincts with either only one or no committee members where we could use help, but Rep. Davidson choose precincts with some long-serving committee members.  In the 5th precinct she is challenging Joe Stevenson.  Joe was the first African American ever elected to public office in Lansdowne (school board) and has served on committee for as long as I can remember (I’m a relative newcomer as I’ve been on committee for only 20 years).  I don’t know if Rep. Davidson knew this, but she does now and she should ask her candidates to withdraw.

In the 1st precinct she is challenging former mayor Jayne Young, perhaps the most well-know and popular person in Lansdowne – so good luck with that.

What Rep. Davidson has managed to do is confirm that we made the right decision in endorsing Billy and to energize the committee to work even harder to elect him next month.


[Name Redacted]

For those who are unfamiliar with the politics of local party committees, the bylaws allow for two representatives from each local precinct. They must be members of that party, of voting age, and legal residents of that precinct at the time they circulate petitions. Committee members have lots of unofficial roles, like engaging with the community, raising money for the local party, getting people out to vote, and educating voters about the candidates that they support. The two most important official duties of a committee member are to endorse candidates for public office in aggregate and to elect a chairperson of their entire committee.

At this year’s Delaware County Democratic Committee endorsement convention, there was a firestorm of controversy over the methods Representative Davidson used to receive the endorsement over her two primary challengers, Dafan Zhang and Billy Smith. Generally speaking within Democratic politics, primary elections with three or more candidates tend to result in an open primary, leaving individual committee people to make their own decisions and lobby their precinct to vote for their particular choice. (Philly is a whole other story for another day, but that is generally the principle.) Many committee people complained about intimidation tactics and forcing ill-credentialed representatives to cast votes in replacement of committee members that “couldn’t make it”. Our previous article on this story includes a video, so you can watch and make your own judgement.

When one consults the Delaware County Primary Candidates List, (pages 384 – 404 are the pages for Lansdowne Borough), one can see that the 1st and 5th precincts have four Democratic Committee candidates running, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th precincts have two candidates respectively, the eighth precinct has only one candidate out of two potential positions, and the eleventh precinct has absolutely no representation on the local Democratic Committee.

It would be unlikely that given the current slate of candidates, Representative Davidson would be able to take political control over the entire group. Committee members allege she has only attempted to target two members – enough to send a message to Former Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young, someone who has been outspoken about Davidson’s reproductive choice and public education record in private and public, and to also threaten the candidacy of Joe Stevenson.

As someone who has personally attended Upper Darby Democratic Committee meetings, I do know that the same techniques are being used, targeting sitting members who do not like Representative Davidson’s voting record, rather than ensuring that there is representation across the entire township within the party committee. In fact, I was told by a cluster of committee members who support Representative Davidson’s re-election that I was no longer welcome at meetings, purely because I’ve reported honestly about the ramifications of her voting record. This was done in a threatening nature in a dark parking lot as I left the building at the conclusion of a meeting. I am not a committee member, so no one can run someone against me, but I still honestly felt intimidated.

The reason I am writing about this is not to just paint one particular elected official in a negative light, although readers’ judgments of her character are theirs to make. I am writing about it because I honestly had deep questions at a number of points over the past few years as to whether it was worth my time, my passion, and sometimes, my emotional and physical safety to remain involved in party committee activities. I want to hear from you.

Have you experienced any sort of intimidation, or has your experience been positive? Please answer in the comments.

In closing, I’d like to point those of you in Philadelphia toward Jon Geeting’s committee-person map for the Democratic Party, specifically for Philadelphia. It helps you to know where there is representation and where there is not, and maybe you will want to get involved.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

3 Responses to #HD164: Margo Davidson Makes a Power Grab

  1. Delco Dem says:

    So what’s the story here – that incumbent who is being aggressively challenged is doing what she can to fend off the challenger and keep her job and people who may find themselves left out of committees don’t like it? Come on! I don’t like several of Margo’s votes, but she’s a good person and your “scoops” are starting to get irritating – particularly the totally gratuitous references to intimidation. Find something meaningful to write about – like uh, the state ethics rules. The attacks on Margo are starting to look odd. Give it a rest.

    • John Green says:

      To the unnamed “Delco Dem” I believe Margo has been off point on more than several votes, and that she has sought the support and the dollars of those trying to destroy the public school system and those who would limit a woman’s right to choice. Her heavy-handed antics at the Delaware County Democratic Committee endorsement convention also demonstrated that Margot Davidson wishes to be reelected above all else.

    • Good to see you are so blinded by loyalty, for what ever reason, that you can’t see what’s right and wrong.