by Jonathan Weaver
For nearly 40 years, David Wolfe has been a Democrat.
But not today.
The former Armstrong County commissioner candidate and North Buffalo Township supervisor created a scrum within the Democratic Committee earlier this week, and announced on Family-Life TV’s “Talk of the Town” last night that he formally switched to the Republican Party Tuesday afternoon.
Wolfe said the issue could have root in a phone call he received from fellow Democrat Chuck Pascal earlier this month regarding election during the committee’s reorganization.
“Unfortunately, (Chairman Dick Schreckengost) is ill and was talking about resigning. So, Chuck Pascal – who is also on the committee – called me a few weeks ago and said “I am thinking about running (for the chairmanship) because there are a few other people that are talking about running – one being Roy Morrisson, who ran for commissioner in the Primary last year and lost. You’re on the committee; would you come and support me?”
Wolfe affirmed he would, but knew it could cause trouble.
“I told him ‘I know (Schrecengost) going to cause a fuss. (Chuck) said ‘Don’t worry about it,’” Wolfe said.
After the reorganization meeting Monday night was turned over to JoEllen Bowman, Pascal asked who could vote for chairman, with Schreckengost confirming a registered list of party members could.
That list was provided by Democratic Commissioner Rich Fink. However, Schreckengost said there were some Republican names on it.
“I don’t know how a Republican could’ve gotten on the list because these are elected people,” Wolfe said. “If they’re not a registered Democrat, they’re not eligible for the Democratic Committee.”
Wolfe knew of one possible error: Plumcreek Township’s Tom Smith, who ran against incumbent Bob Casey, Jr. as a Republican in the 2012 election. Smith previously was a registered Democrat for more than 40 years.
“I don’t know what happened, but it’s apparent now that the committee threw (Smith) off, or he’s no longer eligible to hold office,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe’s story continued.
“(Schreckengost) said ‘I know one person in this room that’s not eligible to vote – (you!)’,” Wolfe recalled. “I stood up and said ‘Well, I’m on this list – why am I not eligible to vote? And (Schreckengost) said ‘Because you supported Republicans.’
Wolfe admitted he did support County Coroner Bob Bower for Commissioner and Amanda Hiles for Treasurer.
“I’ve always supported people that I thought would do the best job possible,” Wolfe said. “I’m not ashamed of it, I’m not embarrassed, and I’m not going to make any excuses for that.
“This is America! I should be allowed to support whoever I want!,” Wolfe added.
Wolfe then left the meeting. As far as he knew, Schreckengost did not officially resign office.
Wolfe recalled he was originally written in on the Democrat ballot in a previous election to be a committee member.
His new political affiliation could have an impact on upcoming elections, as Wolfe has said he will run for Armstrong County commissioner again during the 2015 Primary.