Local Politics | Whitpain Democrat under investigation by party for promoting non-endorsed candidates for county commissioner

Local Politics is an as-needed column on the political scene in Montgomery County filled with speculation, opinion, and more.

Whitpain Township Supervisor Joyce Keller was selected by the Wissahickon Democratic Committee (Area 14) to serve as its co-area leader, a position she would share with Lower Gwynedd Supervisor Danielle Duckett. The Wissahickon Democratic Committee is compromised of Ambler, Lower Gwynedd, and Whitpain Township.

A few days ago, a Change.org petition landed in our inbox that was started by a Kristen Lewis and sought support for Keller who is being investigated by the party for her promotion of un-endorsed candidates running for Montgomery County Commissioner. There have been 242 signatures in support as of April 13th at 11:30 a.m.

You can read the text of the Change.org petition below.

The Montgomery County Democrat committee leadership is trying to run Joyce Keller out of her elected position as a committee person and area leader in retribution for her perceived support of a non-endorsed candidate. However, these charges against her are based on trumped-up and weak evidence from individuals with questionable motives.

Joyce has volunteered for the Wissahickon Democrats for 6 years and worked tirelessly for campaigns in her Township and throughout Montgomery County – she has earned better treatment than she has received from her party

Joyce was duly elected as a committee person and unanimously elected as co-chair of Area 14. She is a dedicated public servant and a proud volunteer. The reason she’s being pushed out of her position is pure politics. We cannot stand for this.

Please sign this petition in a show of support for Joyce Keller. Tell MCDC to respect the results of community elections, restore our faith in fair and open election processes, and focus on the community not on accumulating power.

In the race for Montgomery County Commissioner, there are six candidates. Due to a resignation, Jamila Winder was appointed to a seat on the board that concludes in December and is running for a full term. She has been endorsed by the Montgomery County Democratic Committee. The committee chose to not endorse a second candidate and allow the primary voters to make that determination. Note that Winder could lose in the primary and two of the unendorsed candidates could advance.

As an officer of a local committee, Keller has to follow certain rules and follow the party’s lead when it comes to endorsed candidates. In an article in This is Lower Merion and Narberth, it is reported that Keller made personal social media posts about the unendorsed candidates Noah Marlier and Tanya Bamford. Posting about a single unendorsed candidate would not violate the rule.

In an email exchange with Duckett, she confirmed that a complaint has been made, and shared how a complaint and investigation are handled, “The by-laws govern complaints against committee members. When a complaint is made against an area leader, as it is here, the party Chair conducts the investigation.”

We do not know the timeline of the investigation. More to come.

Disclosure: Tanya Bamford’s campaign is advertising with Burb Media
Photo: Joyce Keller’s Joyce Keller, Whitpain Township Supervisor Facebook page