Wolf pulls nominee for top elections official, slams Senate GOP over confirmation process

MARK SCOLFORO
The Associated Press
Gov. Tom Wolf, left, speaks as ASL Interpreter Kendra Barlet, with the Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing within the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, translates for viewers during a visit to Wolfgang Confectioners as plans for an expansion are announced in Loganville, Thursday, July 22, 2021. With $145,000 in grants from the Department of Community and Economic Development and a plan to invest $3.5 million into the project, the family-owned chocolate company will expand to 24-hour production and create 95 new jobs. Dawn J. Sagert photo

HARRISBURG — Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday withdrew his nominee to be Pennsylvania's top elections official, accusing state Senate Republicans of turning the confirmation process into a partisan charade.

Wolf said Republican leaders were seeking a "record number" of hearings to confirm his acting secretary of state, Veronica Degraffenreid, and said she has been the victim of desperate and baseless smears by the top-ranking GOP leader.

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Wolf nominated Degraffenreid to head the Department of State in March, calling her a nationally respected elections administration expert with experience heading up voting operations in North Carolina.

Wolf says the highest-ranking state senator, Republican Sen. Jake Corman of Centre County, has accused Degraffenreid of hiding something without giving her an opportunity to respond.

He said Degraffenreid will continue in the secretary's role on an acting basis.

A state Senate committee on Wednesday was scheduled to consider subpoenas to the Department of State after agency officials declined to participate in a hearing last week.

Legislative Republicans maintained their significant majorities last November in an election that many of them have complained about at the urging of former President Donald Trump, who lost Pennsylvania as part of his re-election defeat. 

Corman spokesman Jason Thompson offered no immediate comment.