PA Democratic leader leaves party over Obama’s support for same-sex marriage

Jo Ann Nardelli, President and founder of the Blair County Federation of Democratic Women and a state committeewoman, has left the Democratic Party and joined the GOP, PoliticsPA reports.

“I respect all of you and all that I have achieved in the past. Due to personal matters and faith beliefs at this time, it is only fair to resign,” she wrote in a personal note to friends. “I will miss you all very much as you are all a part of my family; however, it is time to move forward with my life in a direction that is more in line with my faith.”

The reason she left?

Nardelli is pro-life, but the “final straw” that she cited was President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage.

Matt Archbold of the National Catholic Register interviewed Nardelli and has a great write-up on the party switcher. Here’s a little snippet:

Nardelli has always been a pro-life Democrat and felt that there was always room for that position in the party. But she said that for the past few years she’s felt that the party was drifting further and further away from her. She said she never shied away from speaking about her Catholic faith or her pro-life views as a Democrat.

She said that for years she hoped that she could change the party from within, make it more in line with traditional values. “I thought I could make a difference to change our party. It didn’t work,” she said. “I noticed it that it’s been going more and more to the left. This is not my father’s party. I did not leave the party, the party left me.”

Perhaps Nardelli isn’t alone. The Catholic vote in Pennsylvania is massive, at 32% of the vote. And even John McCain managed to win the Catholic vote in PA back in 2008, a dismal year for the GOP. So I suspect Mitt Romney will do much better, especially with Obama’s HHS mandate alienating Catholics.

Will it be enough to flip Pennsylvania to the Republican column? We’ll see. But either way, I think Pennsylvania will be dead heat. And that means Obama and Biden will have to spend more time and money in the Keystone State. And that’s time and money diverted from Ohio and Florida and other swing states.



  • Mary

    Sounds to me like she has come to see the Democratic Party for what it is right now, not as it was two generations ago. I think that testimony like hers should definitely be part of the upcoming election. It takes incredible courage to publicly make this change and I think it is important that she did it here in PA. May her bishop recognize her and her outstanding witness!

  • paulT

    The Catholic vote in PA is 32% of the vote, but polls consistently show them supporting marriage equality for gay Americans by 60-70% margins. There are fewer and fewer people that see marriage equality as a major issue, and most of them probably were never going to vote for a black man anyway.

    • Joe M

      paulT. I think your comment says more about you than the people you are referring to.

  • Russell

    Sounds like a pretty childish “I can’t get my way so I’ll take my toys and go home” sort of move.
    Quitting and not staying to do the job to which he was elected, is the cowards way out.

    • Ginger

      Not at all is she being childish.It’s about Principle,her personal morals and values.And she is so right about the Democrat Party is not the party of her fathers.The Democratic Party has fallen off a very steep cliff,and may never recover.thare is so many young voters are tired of the Democrats and Republicans.

    • Joe M

      Russell. It sounds like you’re arguing that partisanship is more important than values.



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