Pennsylvania Democratic Congressional Candidate Won’t Commit to Vote for a Democratic Speaker

“I’m not going to make any promises.”

Clint Hendler

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

One of the presumed front runners for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s vacant 18th district has told Mother Jones that she will not commit to vote for a Democratic Speaker of the House.

“I put politics aside, and people first,” said Gina Cerilli, the chair of Westmoreland County’s board of commissioners. “Until I’m there and I’m with my colleagues, I’m not going to make any promises.”

“I’m not going to give a complete answer,” she added. 

Cerilli, who entered the race promising to be a “moderate Democrat” who would be “pro-life, pro-sportsman, and pro-union” has drawn criticism from progressive activists in the district, some of whom have threatened not to aid her campaign if she emerges the nominee.

In the past, some conservative Democrats have sought to distance themselves from party leadership by threatening to vote for a Republican speaker. If Cerilli was elected and refused to vote for Democratic leadership in a closely divided Congress, it could keep the body in Republican hands and deny liberals a bulwark against Trump’s legislative agenda.

With voting under an hour away, more than 450 delegates mostly local precinct level party officials, had gathered in a school gymnasium for the special convention to pick a nominee for a seat vacated by Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who resigned after it emerged that he had urged his mistress to seek an abortion. The delegates will choose among seven candidates in successive rounds of secret ballots.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend