Jim Wertz Elected Erie County Democratic Party Chairman
EUP Associate Dean becomes newest Erie County elected official, prepares for November
After nearly a decade, Bill Cole – former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman – decided not to run for reelection, opening the seat to two new candidates.
A close race between Jim Wertz, associate dean for the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences at Edinboro University and contributing editor for the Erie Reader, and Sam Talarico, a retired teacher and PSEA representative, left Wertz victorious this past Saturday, June 9. He gained the seat by just three votes, for a lead of 42 to 39.
With such a close race, Wertz said it was his message that brought victory. "The race was tight because I had a great opponent. Sam Talarico is a long time party member who has been very active in party politics…he had a significant support network," Wertz said.
"And so did I," he continued. "The difference came down to three votes. I had a message of unity and progress and growth that really resonated with party members that showed up to vote."
With just six months until election day, the Democratic Party has a lot of work to do, Wertz said. Continuing, "the first thing we have to do is unify the voters that we have."
"There have been a lot of folks … who have been politically active in particular issues … and they found a home in championing those issue…but they haven't necessarily
Part of his message throughout the campaign and coming off the weekend has been pushing towards party advocacy, not just political advocacy. This will continue to be a focus as November draws nearer.
"(We're working) to build a bigger party by allowing those folks with specific interests to come into the party, share these ideas, and get them all working together under the
Voter turnout during the primaries last month was abysmal – just 22
"In the primaries what you saw was a turnout of what you call 'super' voters. They get to the polls every time," Wertz explained.
Comparing it to the Erie County Dem. Chairman election, he continued: "What we saw on Saturday was a turnout of super Democrats. These are people who are committed actors in the Democratic Party. They do the daily actions of the political party. They campaign in their
"We have 87 elected committee people in