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Allegheny Co. Democratic Chair Says Endorsed Democratic State House Candidate Who Wrote 'Go Trump' On Facebook Should Be Forgiven

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Three days after a controversial endorsement, the Allegheny County Democratic chair defended her party's process.

"The Democratic Committee is chosen by the registered Democrats in each district," party chair Eileen Kelly said. "Pure, it is the most purest form of democracy, and we're very diverse."

Kelly was responding to criticism that the elected committee people in a South Hills state House district endorsed Heather Kass over Jessica Benham, even though four years ago Kass posted pro-Trump and other controversial opinions on Facebook.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"At the time, I was going through a lot of issues with health," Kass told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday.

"She gave a public apology, and that's fine. She was remorseful. She knows she did wrong, but she explained her situation and for some reason, no one wants to forgive her," Kelly said on Wednesday afternoon.

Kelly contrasted that with newly elected County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam, who spent time in county jail over a drug abuse issue.

"We have Bethany Hallam, who has her own background that she's been open about, and she comes out and says, 'I'm sorry, blah, blah, blah.' She's forgiven," Kelly said.

Hallam, who was asked to leave Kelly's news conference, reacted angrily to that comparison.

"For Ms. Kelly to compare my battles with addiction to someone who said straight up publicly on Facebook that people suffering from addiction should die, those are like comparing apples to oranges," responded Hallam.

Right there, you can see the divisions within the Democratic Party.

Kelly insists the endorsement process does not need to be reformed, as local Democratic committee people that are elected by their neighbors know which candidate will best serve their area.

On April 28, Democrats will choose among six candidates running for the nomination in this state House district.

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