Tartaglione could face a primary opponent next year

State Sen. Tina Tartagli­one hasn’t had a tough cam­paign since her first vic­tory in 1994, but she is gear­ing up for a pos­sible chal­lenge in 2014.

Earli­er this month, Tartagli­one (D-2nd dist.), who serves as sec­ret­ary of the Demo­crat­ic caucus and minor­ity party chair­wo­man of the Sen­ate Labor and In­dustry Com­mit­tee, hos­ted a meet­ing of her fin­ance com­mit­tee at the Cap­it­al Grille in Cen­ter City.

Among those in at­tend­ance were Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jay Costa of Al­legheny County; Sen. Vin­cent Hughes, minor­ity party chair­man of the Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee; and uni­on lead­ers John Mey­er­son of the United Food and Com­mer­cial Work­ers Loc­al 1776 and John Kane of the Plumb­ers and Pipefit­ters Loc­al 690.

“Sen. Tina Tartagli­one is an im­port­ant part of our lead­er­ship team,” Costa said. “We are ask­ing every­one in this room to join Sen. Hughes and me in re­new­ing their com­mit­ment to rais­ing the funds ne­ces­sary to fend off any po­ten­tial op­pon­ent to Tina next year.”

One po­ten­tial primary op­pon­ent is former City Coun­cil­man Dan Sav­age, a North­wood res­id­ent and Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 23rd Ward.

“I’m ser­i­ously think­ing about run­ning against her,” he said. “She’s not re­spons­ive to the com­munity. I think we can do bet­ter. Her time has come.”

Tartagli­one, the daugh­ter of former city elec­tions com­mis­sion­er Marge Tartagli­one, nar­rowly de­feated Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Bruce Marks in 1994. She has sailed to re-elec­tion ever since.

In all that time, Tartagli­one has served in the minor­ity party. At present, Re­pub­lic­ans con­trol the Sen­ate by a 27-23 mar­gin.

To take con­trol after the 2014 elec­tion, Demo­crats need to keep Tartagli­one’s seat.

“The Sen­ate Demo­crats are on the cusp of tak­ing the ma­jor­ity in the state Sen­ate,” Hughes said. “The way that we get to the ma­jor­ity is by mak­ing sure that every one of our sit­ting mem­bers comes back after the elec­tion. And today, that be­gins with mak­ing sure that we are all there for Sen. Tartagli­one.”

The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court has still not ap­proved new maps for the 2014 le­gis­lat­ive elec­tions. No mat­ter how they look, Tartagli­one should be safe from a Re­pub­lic­an chal­lenge.

However, Sav­age be­lieves there are sev­er­al factors that could help him de­feat the in­cum­bent.

Sev­er­al polit­ic­ally act­ive labor uni­ons have not in­dic­ated sup­port for Tartagli­one, he said, and he hopes to win their back­ing, both for the money they can bring a cam­paign and the elec­tion-day work­ers they can put on the street.

Tartagli­one also voted for Costa in Novem­ber 2010 when some Phil­adelphia Demo­crats would have liked to see one of their own be­come minor­ity lead­er.

In ad­di­tion, Sav­age thinks the polit­ic­al for­tunes of the Tartagli­one fam­ily are on the wane. Marge Tartagli­one lost her seat in 2011 after 36 years on the job. She angered some ward lead­ers and uni­on bosses that year by en­dors­ing Marty Bed­narek over Bobby Hen­on in the 6th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict Demo­crat­ic primary.

Sav­age won a Novem­ber 2006 spe­cial elec­tion for the va­cant 7th Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict seat. He lost the fol­low­ing year in the Demo­crat­ic primary to Maria Quinones Sanc­hez, who went on to win the seat in the gen­er­al elec­tion. He also lost a primary chal­lenge to Sanc­hez in 2011. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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