Political announcement in school causes a stir
A political ad mistakenly announced in a public school has strained tensions in the 156th District race.
WEST GOSHEN >> A political ad mistakenly announced in a public school last week has strained tensions in a contested race for the 156th Legislative District.
Last Thursday at West Chester East High School, an announcement asking for volunteers for West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta’s state House campaign was read to the student body.
Comitta, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent state Rep. Dan Truitt, R-156, of East Goshen, for his seat on the state Legislature.
The announcement, according to West Chester Area School District Superintendent Jim Scanlon, was read accidently and the incident is being addressed internally. He acknowledged airing political announcements is against school policy.
“That was shut down immediately,” he said referring to the announcement.
Comitta said her campaign is undertaking an outreach program to cultivate support from potentially sympathetic groups, such as high school Democratic clubs. She said she did not know how the outreach invitation wound up as a school wide announcement, and regrets that it happened.
“It was a mistake,” she said. “It was never intended to be an announcement.”
Attempting to cast doubt on Comitta’s campaign, Truitt said that if he did such as a thing there’d be an outcry. He called the incident an example of political campaigns “pushing the envelope in inappropriate ways.”
“We don’t cross that line,” he said. In reference to the
school administrators, he said he believed the mistake was innocent and that he was glad they pulled the announcement.
“Pushing what envelope? We’re pushing to run a strong campaign,” Comitta said in response to Truitt’s criticism.
“If my opponent did that, I’d be upset too,” she said, expressing understanding of Truitt’s frustration with the error, but also reinforced her campaign was only trying to reach out to groups that might be interested in supporting her campaign.
The 156th District includes the West Chester, East Goshen, Westtown, Thornbury and Birmingham. Parts of West Goshen are included in the district as well.
Comitta has been mayor of West Chester since 2010 and is currently serving her second term. Truitt has been a state representative since 2010 and currently serving his third term.
State Rep. Dan Truitt
West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta announces her candidacy for the 156th Legislative District on Jan. 6, 2015 .