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Process That Endorsed Democratic State House Candidate Who Wrote 'Go Trump' On Facebook Called Into Question

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- South Hills legislative candidates Heather Kass and Jessica Benham both sought their Democratic Party's endorsement.

But when Kass, who has apologized for posting pro-Trump and other controversial statements on Facebook, won the endorsement, Benham wasn't happy.

"I did not get into this race to please a bunch of backroom party insiders," she told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

She's not alone.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Many others say it's time to do away with party endorsements.

"Some state senators, the vice-chair of our party, the mayor, and others have called for some reforms of how the Democratic Committee, the elected Democratic Committee, makes their endorsements," said Allegheny County chief executive Rich Fitzgerald on Tuesday.

Party endorsements are made by committee people, one man and one woman, elected by fellow Democrats in every election district.

The state Democratic Party allows each of the local county parties to decide whether to endorse or not, and most counties do not endorse in contested primaries.

But if they do decide to endorse, state rules require that the balloting be an open process so that everyone knows how your local committeeman or woman voted.

But not in Allegheny County, where there's a secret, hidden ballot to choose the endorsed candidates.

State Democratic chair Nancy Mills says that method violates state policy but, she adds, "That has not been enforced."

"We are working with county chairs all over Pennsylvania to bring them in line with the by-laws of the state party," Mill said.

Allegheny County Republican chair Sam DeMarco says his party does not endorse in contested primaries.

He thinks this dispute over Facebook posts from years ago is helping his party, noting that some Democrats sound like they are saying: "If you posted something on Facebook that we don't like, we want to ruin your life."

"This is causing Democrats to flee," says DeMarco.

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