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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, June 14, 2010

Will Rick Daugherty Remain Chair of Lehigh County's Dems?

Lehigh County's Democrats will reorganize tonight, 7 PM, at Allentown's IBEW Hall. LVPoliblogger Chris Casey portrays the choice as one between "the same old dysfunctional paranoid leadership" and "new, dynamic people with some energy."

From what I've pieced together, it looks like political consultant Courtney Robinson is trying to stage a Rick Daugherty coup, but has already been outmaneuvered. Robinson is being backed by Allentown Council Prez Mike D'Amore, who is trying to send a message to Pawlowski. But Daugherty has the support of all the other top elected officials in the County (Cunningham, McCarthy, Pawlowski, etc).

So Robinson will run for Vice Chair, but he's running right into Walt Felton, who has recruited somewhere around 40 newly committee people. They are ready to crown Walter Vice Chair,

It now appears that Robinson was behind all those Rob Hopkins' challenges to Walter Felton's state committee candidates. These people were also elected as county committee people and will likely make Robinson's attempt futile.

The surge of Latino and black committee people recruited by Felton might produce a new breed of party activists, but it's too early to say.

Update (9 AM): Allentown City Council Prez Michael Donovan has weighed in. "Mr. Daugherty has criticized me for publicly challenging the Mayor of Allentown, which is actually my duty at any time I conclude that the Mayor is not acting in the best interests of the city. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Daugherty is to stay neutral in party matters and focus on competition among political parties, not within parties." I agree. That's why Joe Long was such a mess in Northampton County.


Anonymous said...


Let me start off by saying I am not running for Lehigh County Chair. During the summer of last year I was approached by several people who were then and still are dissatisfied with Chairman Daugherty's leadership. The sentiment which I share is that there is a lack of transparency, accountability and communication with the committee people and the Democratic voters is general. I was asked to run for Chairman and gave it very serious consideration, but ultimately decided the timing was not right for me. Since I came to that decision I have made several attempts to speak with the Chairman to see if we could come to a consensus to best use our different skill sets to aide our Democratic candidates. All of these overtures were ignored.

This decision was made in the early fall of last year, and since then I have had a single focus on running for re-election to the position of Second Vice-Chair.

I just want to answer some of the issues raised in this post Bernie.

First, I have the support of Allentown City Council President D'Amore to run for Second Vice-Chair not Chairman. There is no coup or anti-Pawlowski conspiracy. Mike has been a friend of mine for seven years and in all my time working in Lehigh County politics I have found him to be one of the most effective, honest, caring and dedicated elected officials in either party. I have always supported him because of what he believes in. He is supporting me because of my proven track record of getting results and helping any candidate who asks for my help.

Second, it is not accurate to state that Chairman Daugherty has the support of the other "top elected officials" as I never asked them to support me for Chair since I was not running for Chair. For the record I have the support of State Representative's Jennifer Mann and Joe Brennan, Lehigh County Commissioner Dan McCarthy, Lehigh County Controller Tom Slonaker, Lehigh County Clerk of Judicial Records Andrea Naugle, Whitehall Township Mayor Ed Hozza, Allentown City Councilmen Mike D'Amore (stated earlier), Mike Donovan, Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer among many other elected officials and party leaders and rank and file committee people. None of these people are supporting me or voting for me because they don't like Walt Felton. They are doing it because I have worked with them for over eight years non-stop and they have seen the work that I am willing to do and the results I get.
Bernie, I have spent almost the entire time the last eight years working for people I feel would do the greatest amount of good for our community. I have served as a committeeman, executive board member, and proxy to the Democratic State Committee and as a Party officer for the last year. In this time I have worked on recruiting candidates and resurrecting the LCDC candidate training school, I have helped to plan and execute GOTV on Election Day, I have worked to increase membership and outreach of the committee. I have also worked to raise thousands of dollars for the committee and candidates. All the while never saying no to helping a candidate if asked. This is why I have support, because I have proven myself and because I will work to support our candidates. I would also hope that all of Walt Felton's supporters feel that way about him, and that none of them are voting for him just because he is not me.

Courtney A. Robinson
Continued in next post.

Anonymous said...

Third, in regards to the lawsuits filed in March. It was no secret that I was involved in every suit filed. I was not "behind" Rob filing the suits I was a co-complainant. My name was on every suit and I argued all but one case in front of Commonwealth Court. The reason these suits were filed was because the signatures on the petitions were not valid. The Commonwealth states that to have your name placed on the ballot for the Democratic State Committee you must obtain 100 signatures from qualified Democratic Electors. None of these candidates met this basic requirement. One barely had over 30 valid signatures. I have always tried to follow the rules as best as I can and I have always stood up for what I believe in regardless of the consequences. Perhaps I will suffer for doing the right thing in this case, but I believe it is better to fail with honor than to succeed by fraud.

Fourth, I want to address something that I believe was directed at me at the Lehigh Valley Political Blog. An anonymous commentator stated;

"I love that Walt appears to be shaking the political consultant wannabes out from the perches that they primarily use to line their wallets..."

I find this not only blatant bullshit, but highly offensive. In the eight years I have been involved I have given up almost everything for this work. I have no personal life, no friends outside of politics and I have never made more than just enough to keep my head above water. I have always had a deep desire to serve my community and feel this is the best possible way to do it. In eight years I have had something to do with over 40 campaigns in the Lehigh Valley, and yes on some of them I have been paid. A total of eight campaigns out of over 40. I include in this a paltry sum of $150 (all that I earned on a particular campaign) which was a percentage of money I raised in a single fundraiser for someone. I have never nor would I ever use my position to "line my pockets". Even the jobs I have held the most I ever made was $2,000 a month pre tax, and it was only a 10 month job. Hardly "lining my pockets" especially when you consider I went three months without pay because of fundraising troubles (I never received or asked for back pay once we started raising the money we needed). Some people will say I am stupid for not making money or that I must not be any good or I would get paid more. The reality is that I choose to help candidates who will never be able to raise the kind of money needed for a professional consultant. School board candidates and township supervisors and city councilmen. I could leave the Lehigh Valley and make a fortune with the experience and knowledge I have. Call me old fashioned but this is my home and I am working not to make money but to try to improve the lives of my friends and family and of the people in this area I will never meet.
The person who made this anonymous comment claims to be a Lehigh County Committee Person, I hope they have the backbone to walk up to me Monday night and say this to my face, as I would like to address this in person. I will be posting a copy of this at Chris's blog in the hopes that this person will read this and come forward so I may answer this ludicrous accusation.

Courtney A. Robinson
Continued on next post.

Anonymous said...

Fifth, Bernie I have always respected you although I disagree with you on some very key issues. You have always impressed me as someone who does what he believes to be right regardless of the consequences. I feel that is a trait we both share sometimes to our detriment. I also feel that you are someone who tries to find the truth behind the spin. As I would hope we are friends in real life and since we are facebook friends I wish you would have gone on my facebook page and obtained my email and cell phone number and contacted me before you printed this story as I could have dispelled this story as the fanciful dreams of a few misguided but hopefully well meaning people. I am sorry that these were such long posts Bernie, but I felt it was necessary to address these points before things got out of control. Bernie please feel free to call me if you have any questions. Thank you.

Courtney A. Robinson

Anonymous said...

Rick should step down from the Senior Citizens Center if it is true he politicalized the nonprofit atmosphere in an unattractive fashion by permitting Allentown's mayor to host a "focused" golf outing and post an oversized check in the center's lobby,

Anonymous said...

I ran for magisterial district judge in Allentown and was endorsed by the Lehigh County Democratic Party before the primary. I have been a life long democrat and thought with The Partys support the campaign and election should have been successful but I was told shortly after being endorsed the chairman (Rick) was telling fellow democrats that endorsing me was a mistake and he never notified the committee people in my voting districts that I was endorsed. If the committee votes to endorse and the chairman doesn't like it he should support the action of the committee!
Courtney was the only one from the local party who actually helped with the campaign.
I was unsuccessful in my race and the Party needs leaders who will support endorsed candidates and right now
Courtney Robinson running for 2nd chair is the not only the
right person for 2nd chair but he will work hard for the
Jim Bowser

Anonymous said...

I have always supported him because of what he believes in.
Courtney A. Robinson

And just what is that?
Having attended last summer's city council special meetings regarding the Rose Garden and Cedar Beach parks that included testimony from nearby tax-paying residents who never were informed prior to construction or reading in the Call about the city's current finances, not sure that's a good thing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Courtney, Your comments are appreciated. I should have called you and Rick, but did not get to this until late last night and wanted to get something up from what I did know. Don't feel compelled to respond to anonymous personal attacks.

Larry Kisslinger said...

Courtney A. Robinson...
I've been seeking an Author to write a biography for me and my long winded political & volunteer
community activities career who will work on a contingency basis until we can get booked on Oprah and hit it big! interested?

DEM Services said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DEM Services said...

I for one would like to see new leadership in the Democratic Party all over the United States.

I personally found Rick Daugherty unwilling to open doors in my campaign and lacking the values of common Americans.

I think people are tired of Party Politics that has produced a machine contrary to the American People wishes and dreams of present and future prosperity.

Anonymous said...

Robinson is not smart enough or liked enough to pull off a coup of Daughtery. Robinson is perceived by many as a pompous ass, who kisses alot of ass, and who thinks his high school education will make a good politician.

Rick has the backing of Don Cunningham, which is all he needs.

Guy williams said...

anonymous 12:23,Your wrong on all points.I know him well and hes a very capable and hard worker.Few work harder then he does for his party.

Anonymous said...

So, who won?

Anonymous said...

Rick won. His entire slate won.

Rick - 5

Courtney/Rob/Fadia - 0

end of story. the voters have spoken.

Move on. Nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me that these discussions never include the name Peter Wernsdorfer, whose power extends way beyond his official title of committee person from N Whitehall. Want to know what's really wrong with Lehigh County Dems, look behind the current chair.
Posting anonymously to stay off Wernsdorfer's radar.