For campaign backing, Yudichak goes far beyond district

June 26th, 2015 9:28 pm

First Posted: 4/15/2013 3:23:00 PM

WILKES-BARRE — The Senate Democratic Campaign Committee this week released a list of upcoming fundraisers for four sitting state senators, including one event in Pittsburgh for Sen. John Yudichak of Plymouth Township.

Pittsburgh is not in Yudichak’s 14th Senatorial District; in fact, the two areas are roughly 300 miles apart.

The reception in honor of Yudichak was listed for Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh, 220 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh. Contribution levels were listed as individual, at $500, and political action committee at $1,000.

A call to the committee inquiring about the event, why it is being held in Pittsburgh and who would be on the invitation list was not returned.

Sandy Ritz, representing the campaign committee of state Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, said she is not aware of any fundraising events held for Baker outside her district. “I do not know of any events held in cities like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia for Sen. Baker,” Ritz said. “I don’t know of any held outside of the 20th District.”

Within five minutes after the call was made Monday from The Times Leader to the SDCC, a new email was sent and Yudichak’s event was listed as “postponed.”

“We have events throughout Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “We’re blessed to have supporters beyond the 14th District who reach out to try to help us raise funds. Each new campaign cycle brings more and more expense.”

The Pittsburgh event was postponed because a main organizer had a death in the family, he said. It is expected to be rescheduled for later this spring.

Yudichak said he has about $200,000 in his campaign war chest. To run for the state Senate seat in 2010, the total cost for the primary and general election was between $300,000 and $400,000, he said. Yudichak easily defeated Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton in the primary and cruised to victory in the general election over Republican Stephen A. Urban and Libertarian Betsy Summers.

Yudichak said a fundraiser is being planned for the Philadelphia area and another for Centre County. There were several fundraising events held outside the 14th District when he ran for his first term in 2010, he said.

“In the Senate, we deal with issues that have statewide impact,” he said. “Ultimately, we represent all of Pennsylvania in addition to our individual districts.”

Asked who would attend a fundraiser for him in Pittsburgh, Yudichak said, “Democratic stalwarts” who want to see the Democratic caucus in Harrisburg continue to do well.

“It’s a natural thing to do,” he said. “This is not out of the ordinary.”

The other fundraisers announced by the SDCC were for state Sens. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, John Wozniak of Johnstown and Anthony H. Williams of Philadelphia.

Yudichak said he has received great support from the labor unions, noting they are located throughout the state.

Steve Donaldson of Keystone Strategies, representing Yudichak, said the senator was scheduled to be in Pittsburgh the day of the fundraiser and he was approached by a donor in the area to see if he was willing to have a fundraiser before heading back.

“The senator accepted the offer,” Donaldson said in an e-mail. “The fundraiser was postponed due to an unexpected scheduling conflict from one of the hosts of the fundraiser.”

Yudichak’s campaign is “always looking for ways to broaden the base of supporters throughout the state,” Donaldson said. The Citizens for John Yudichak campaign is actively planning fundraisers and engaging potential supporters for his upcoming election cycle next year, he said.