York-area Democrats prepare for Philadelphia

Greg Gross
  • The 4th Congressional District is represented by six Democratic delegates at the convention.
  • Three are Hillary Clinton supporters and the other three back Bernie Sanders.

Salome Johnson secretly hopes one of the York-area delegates to the Democratic National Convention comes down with a cold that would keep him or her from attending.

If that were to happen, the Hallam woman, who is an alternate delegate, would get to take part in the convention as a full delegate.

"Hopefully, I'll be called upon to get on the convention floor, and hopefully it's on the 28th," Johnson said with a laugh, referring to the night when presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton is expected to give her acceptance speech.

Johnson is one of two alternate delegates who are part of the eight-member delegation from the 4th Congressional District, which includes York County, to the convention that runs July 25 to 28 in Philadelphia.

The delegates: Democratic delegates, who were elected in the April primary, had to announce which candidate they are backing. Since Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders essentially split the popular vote, each candidate picked up three delegates in the district.

York City Mayor Kim Bracey. Bil Bowden photo

Backing Clinton are state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who lives in West Manchester Township, York City Mayor Kim Bracey and state Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin County. Tim Butler and Michael Johnson, both of Dauphin County, as well as Kathleen Albright, of Cumberland County, will represent Sanders.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale

Even though Clinton secured enough delegates to win the nomination and Sanders recently endorsed Clinton, Albright said she and other delegates who support Sanders are tied to him through the first round of voting.

They can vote for Clinton if subsequent voting rounds are needed, but Albright said she'll stick with Sanders through all rounds.

"I'm going to stand firm," she said. "We're more interested in his platform."

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Presidential run: But when Clinton secures the nomination, which is all but assured to happen, Albright said she'll jump on board and back the Democratic ticket. She expects other Sanders supporters to do the same.

"It's going to be stupid on their part (to not back Clinton) because the ideology is basically Democratic," she said.

Butler, a delegate who is also backing Sanders, said he's not so sure all of the senator's supporters will feel the same.

"With Sanders endorsing Clinton, I'm disappointed. I don't see her as a Democrat," he said. "I thought he was going to take it to the convention."

Demonstrators, from left, Tara Mueller of York City, Colleen Burkett of Spring Garden Township, Julie Falsetti of York Township and Salome Johnson of Hallam gather outside Sen. Scott Wagner's York office Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Protesters gathered to act on Wagner's comment regarding the election of Democrats to state judicial seats. He said before the election that if Democrats were seated, which they were, Pennsylvanians should pack their bags and move. The group brought a moving van suggesting Wagner should move. Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Bill Kalina - bkalina@yorkdispatch.com

It's going to be an all-hands-on-deck effort if the Democrats want to retain the White House, Johnson said. The alternative would be Republican Donald Trump as president, something she said would be disastrous for the country.

"How you can be reasonably intelligent and think he (Trump) can run this country and keep us safe is beyond me," Johnson said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ggrossyd.