Jim Wertz Stepping Down as Chair of Erie Dems, May Run for PA Senate

Professor of broadcast journalism and digital media at PennWest Edinboro, Jim Wertz has been leading the Erie Dems since 2018.  He was reelected unanimously in 2022.  But now he’s stepping down from that position, because he’s considering a run for PA Senate in the 49th District, the seat currently held by republican Dan Laughlin.

If there’s a legacy for his tenure, Wertz believes it’s that he reengaged rural democrats by opening regional office in places like Union City and North East. “Everywhere we went, people greeted us with open arms and said it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the democratic party, we’re glad you’re here,” Wertz said. 

And he worked to draw in young democrats, encouraging and preparing many to run for public office. “I think having younger folks not only as a part of the committee but also involved in a way to run for public office is incredibly important,” the outgoing party chair said.

Now Wertz is taking a slice of his own advice, and considering a challenge to two-term republican Senator Dan Laughlin, and he didn’t mince words about why. “He has showed the people of Erie County that he doesn’t always have their best interest. As someone said to me – “he’s lost his way” – and I feel strongly, not just from a party perspective or a partisan perspective, but from a community perspective, that he needs to be held accountable,” Wertz said.

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