Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Defeated

By John Celock

Pennsylvania’s embattled lieutenant governor has been defeated in his bid for a second term.

Returns from Tuesday’s primary show Lt. Gov. Mike Stack finishing fourth out of five candidates for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman captured the Democratic nod to join Gov. Tom Wolf (D) on the ticket.

Fetterman captured 38 percent of the vote followed by former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Nina Ahmad with 24 percent, Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone with 19 percent, Stack with 17 percent and Sosa with four percent. Fetterman, who unsuccessfully sought a U.S. Senate seat in 2016, won the nomination with large support from western Pennsylvania and smaller communities around the state.

Fettterman had made advocacy for small cities the centerpiece of his campaign for lieutenant governor.

Stack’s defeat Tuesday caps a tumultuous four year term that saw Stack have a distant relationship with Wolf, who did not make his lieutenant governor a major part of the administration. Stack was paired with Wolf on the 2014 ticket following separate primaries for the two posts.

Wolf, a long time state senator from Philadelphia, captured the lieutenant governor nomination in 2010, based on his high name recognition in the Philadelphia area.

Stack’s tenure saw accusations of him and his wife mistreating their State Police security details, along with the household staff at the state owned lieutenant governor’s residence in the Harrisburg suburbs. Wolf stripped Stack and his wife of their security details and placed restrictions on the work of the staff at Stack’s official residence.

Fetterman has said that he would not live in the official residence if he becomes lieutenant governor and would largely base himself in Braddock, coming to Harrisburg when needed.

Wolf and Fetterman will face Republican gubernatorial nominee state Sen. Steve Wagner and his running mate, businessman Jeff Bartos, in November.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor is largely a powerless office with the sole official duties to serve as president of the state Senate and president of the Board of Pardons. Wolf tapped Stack to chair boards overseeing local government relations and the state’s emergency management system, traditional posts for the lieutenant governor. Stack, a veteran, also took on work with regards to veterans policy and helping communities with military installations.

The last Pennsylvania lieutenant governor to succeed to the governorship was Republican Mark Schweiker in 2001 following the resignation of Gov. Tom Ridge (R), to join the Bush Administration. Schweiker did not seek a full term in 2002.