According to Democratic Party rules, accepting the Republican nomination for an elected office immediately and automatically disqualifies that candidate from receiving the party’s endorsement. As a nearly 30 year incumbent, David Franczyk received the Committee’s endorsement based on standing party etiquette. But upon signing a letter of acceptance of the Republican nomination, he in effect rejected that endorsement.
The situation has created tension between the Councilman, who struggles to articulate a substantive rationale for his reelection, and Democratic Party committee members in the city’s struggling Fillmore district. Many of those committee members realize that their neighborhoods would be stronger, their streets cleaner, and their property more valuable with a Councilman who wasn’t consumed by the city’s destructive political culture, characterized by deeply divisive and racialized politics.
Franczyk’s deep unpopularity in the district has made the upcoming primary election a nearly forgone conclusion. Joe Mascia, the popular five term housing commissioner known for his independent style and “Real Democrat” mantra, is widely expected to win his party’s nomination. Mascia has robust support from the district’s diverse African American, Latino, and Allentown communities.
Operatives speculate that jumping ship to the GOP is a last ditch effort for Franczyk to hold onto power — but he doesn’t have much support among Republicans either. Franczyk’s taxpayer-funded patronage staffers, who are registered Democrats, circulated the Republican nominating petitions. Political observers doubt that the strategy will prove viable.
Commissioner Mascia has formally requested the party endorsement in a letter to committeemen.