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2020 US and PA Candidates
This page shows Dem candidates for Washington and Harrisburg who (based on unofficial in-person and mail-in results) won the primary election and therefore become our official nominees in the November general election. We are grateful to all who, by running for office, strengthen the processes on which American democracy depends!
We do not show official office-holder sites, as those are for public service, not campaign purposes.
Joe Biden was born in Scranton PA; when he was 10, his family moved to Delaware. He was a football star at Archmere Academy, from which he graduated in 1961. At the University of Delaware, he majored in history and political science, graduating in 1965, then receiving his law degree from Syracuse in 1968. While practicing law, he was elected to the New Castle County Council and then scored a surprising upset to win the 1972 US Senate race. The tragedies in his life include the death of his wife and small daughter shortly after his election. Five years later, he married Jill Jacobs, a teacher from Pennsylvania, whose academic degrees include a Masters from West Chester University; they have now been married 43 years and have one daughter. Biden represented Delaware in the US Senate for 36 years, serving in many notable capacities, including as chair of both the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. He became Barack Obama’s running mate in 2008 and served as a highly trusted and influential vice president for 8 years. At a time when national leadership is sorely needed, he has compiled an unrivaled background in issues, policies, and the workings of government.
US VICE PRESIDENT
Kamala Harris grew up fighting to help fulfill America’s promise for all Americans. Her father immigrated to the U.S.from Jamaica to study economics; her mother immigrated from India. Kamala graduated from Howard University , then earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. She started fighting for working families in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she focused on prosecuting child sexual assault cases, and then as San Francisco’s District Attorney. As California Attorney General, she oversaw the country’s second largest state Justice Department, with 4,800 attorneys and other employees, and managed a $735 million budget. She won a $20 billion settlement against big banks that were unfairly foreclosing on homes, worked to protect Obamacare, helped win marriage equality for all, defended California’s landmark climate change law, and won a $1.1 billion settlement against a for-profit education company that scammed students and veterans. Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, Kamala has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to help the middle class, increase the minimum wage to $15, reform cash bail, and defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants. She serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. On the Judiciary Committee, she has held Trump administration officials accountable and has been a powerful voice against Trump’s conservative judicial nominations. Kamala has been married to her husband Doug for the past six years and is the stepmother of two children, Ella and Cole, her “endless source of love and pure joy.”
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS, PA-06
Chrissy Houlahan (Incumbent)
Chrissy earned her engineering degree from Stanford with a ROTC scholarship and received her M.S. in Technology and Policy from MIT. She served three years active duty as a Captain in the US Air Force, and 13 years in the Reserves. Then she became Chief Operating Officer of the sportswear company AND1. She was founding COO of B-Lab (a nonprofit that promotes B Corporations and good business practices) and President and COO/CFO for Springboard Collaborative (a Philadelphia-based nonprofit focused on improving early childhood literacy in underserved communities). She was first elected to the PA-06 seat in November 2018 by a margin of 18%. In the House of Representatives, she serves on the Committees on Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business.
PENNSYLVANIA SENATE, DISTRICT 19
A West Chester University graduate, Carolyn earned her Master of Science in Education at Widener University. She continues to mentor students and has organized the attendance of over 2,500 local students at the annual Health and Environment Conference at the United Nations. A former teacher, member of West Chester Borough Council from 2006–10 and Mayor of West Chester from 2010-17, she is also Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Thomas Comitta Associates. First elected to the 156th district of the PA House of Representatives in 2016, she serves on the Committees on Aging & Older Adult Services, Environmental Resources & Energy, Local Government, Professional Licensure, and Urban Affairs, as well as on the Climate, PA SAFE and Women’s Health Caucuses and on the PA Joint Legislative Air & Water Pollution Control & Conservation Committee and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.
PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE, DISTRICT 157
Melissa Shusterman (Incumbent)
Melissa graduated from Lafayette College in 1989 with a degree in Russian Studies (History) and a minor in Chinese Literature. She worked for large networks like FX and Food Network before returning to Pennsylvania to raise her son as a single mother and starting her own video production company, a successful business that gives her a unique perspective. She was prompted to campaign in 2018 by special interests that block progress on important issues in Harrisburg. She knocked on tens of thousands of doors while campaigning on government transparency and accountability, education equity, environmental sustainability, and gun control reform. She went on to defeat a four-term Republican by over 4,000 votes, in a historic year when women increased their representation in the Pennsylvania legislature. Melissa serves on the Judiciary, Aging & Older Adult Services, and Tourism & Recreational Development Committees, and has authored legislation dealing with small business loans, gun control, reduction of single-use plastics, and animal protections. She was selected as the Secretary of the Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus, and is the first freshmen legislator to serve as a Deputy Whip.
The elected statewide officers carry out essential leadership roles of the administration in Harrisburg. Attorney General Shapiro and Treasurer Torsella, below, are running for reelection, while Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is not. On 2/1/20, the State Dem Committee endorsed the 2 incumbents and made no endorsement for Auditor General.
Josh Shapiro (Incumbent)
Endorsed by PA State Committee. Josh Shapiro was sworn in on January 17, 2017, as as Pennsylvania’s top lawyer and chief law enforcement officer with a mandate to ensure integrity and be the people’s Attorney General. Some of his top priorities include protecting seniors, veterans, small businesses and consumers from scams and fraud; implementing a comprehensive integrity agenda to ensure people from across the Commonwealth are heard and have faith in the justice system; and directing an aggressive fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic, including treatment for those suffering from addiction. As the Chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, his work on behalf of victims and for criminal justice reform earned him the trust of law enforcement leaders from across the ideological spectrum. Earlier, as Chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Josh led an historic fiscal turnaround, helped the first LGBT couples in Pennsylvania marry, protected voting rights and fired Wall Street money managers to protect pensions and save retirees millions. As State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 153rd House District he passed some of the toughest ethics laws in state history. Josh graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester and earned his law degree at night from Georgetown University Law Center, and was in private practice for over a decade. Josh was raised in Montgomery County, where he met his high school sweetheart, Lori, and where they are raising their four children.
Nina grew up amid war in Bangladesh and came to the United States at 21. After earning her Ph.D. from Penn, she achieved success as a molecular biologist and entrepreneur. As president of the Philadelphia National Organization for Women, Nina led a fight against the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office when it refused to fire three prosecutors who had emailed degrading pornographic images. She has led efforts to fight workplace discrimination and harassment that economically undermine women and people of color. On the board of the Philadelphia Foundation, she has helped raise millions of dollars for local nonprofits that improve the quality of life for working and poor families. She has served as Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement under Mayor Jim Kenney, overseeing the Commission for Women, the Office of Black Male Engagement, and the Youth Commission, and working closely with the office of LGBT Affairs. She also served on President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Nina and her husband live in Philadelphia, where they raised their two daughters.
Treasurer of Pennsylvania
Joe Torsella (Incumbent)
Endorsed by PA State Committee. Joseph M. Torsella was elected the 77th treasurer of Pennsylvania in 2016. He oversees an office of 360 employees protecting nearly $100 billion in state assets and safeguarding the financial health of the state. From 2011-2014 as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, for budget and management reform, he advocated for budget restraint and transparency, including webcasting of UN meetings and publication of audits. He also served as chair of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and was the founding president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit museum and education complex. He raised $185 million in private and public funds, allowing the Center to open in 2003. His tenure at the National Constitution Center has been described by the Philadelphia Inquirer as a “resounding success” by a “modern-day founding father.” As Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for policy and planning under then-Mayor Ed Rendell in the early 1990s, Torsella helped develop initiatives to resolve the city’s $1.25 billion deficit in “one of the most stunning turnarounds in the nation,” as stated by the New York Times. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in economics and history, and studied American History at New College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar.