Democratic Committeeman Removed for Supporting Republican - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Democratic Committeeman Removed for Supporting Republican

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Over the years, not many Republicans have served on Erie City Council. John Evans is one of the few.

Council selected him to fill the seat of Joe Schember, and now he's seeking his first full term. Evans has the support his Democratic colleague on council, Mel Witherspoon, and that's causing quite the stir in the Democratic Party.

"This latest issue with Mel reminds us all that those party feelings are still strong in certain aspects," said Evans.

Because of his support of Evans, the Democratic Party told Witherspoon he could no longer serve as a committeeman.

"As in any organization, there are bylaws and rules that everyone has to follow, and when you violate those bylaws and rules, you're subject to disciplinary action," said Bill Cole, Democratic Party Chair.

Cole said according to those rules, you simply can't have a Democratic Committeeman stumping for a Republican.

"It's your job to introduced elected officials to the neighborhood, pass out literature to people in the neighborhood to know who the candidates are. They come to you for your opinion and expertise on various candidates and it you represent the democratic party, you have to represent democratic candidates."  

Evans tells us he's been friends with Witherspoon for more than 20 years, and knows Mel has been loyal to the Democratic Party.

He tells us Witherspoon is just supporting who he thinks is the best candidate.

"I know people get hung up on party affiliation at the national and state level, but I thought at the local level that maybe we'd finally gotten beyond that," said Evans.

Evans is the lone Republican on council. And that hasn't gotten in the way of council making progress.

"We're just 7 Erie people trying to do whatever's best for Erie," said Evans. "It's not republicans and democrats, it's Erie people. We're just trying to do the best we can for the city."

When asked about being removed from his position because of his support for Evans, Witherspoon declined.

 

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