Pennsylvania Democrats Take Heat for Backing Obama

It is only six weeks before the Pennsylvania primary and already phone calls are ringing off the hook and politicians are getting harassed. Gov. Rendell has exerted a lot of support, both physically and financially, to maintain Hillary Clinton’s lead in the northeastern state. Yet there are defectors to his cause that are getting called “traitor” by fellow Democrats.

Angela Couloumbis of the Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau reports, March 13, 2008:

The April 22 primary will mark the first time in a generation that the state has had a genuine voice in selecting a presidential nominee.

And although Rendell has frequently said he believes Democrats will handily deliver a victory for Clinton – and he will dispatch a vast political and fund-raising machine to ensure that happens – there are fissures, particularly in key battlegrounds.

In Philadelphia and its suburbs, State Sen. Anthony Williams (D., Phila.), State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) and State Rep. Josh Shapiro (D., Montgomery) are all self-professed Obama fans.

Then there are State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.), State Rep. Dwight Evans (D., Phila.), and State Rep. Greg Vitali (D., Delaware) – all uncommitted.

Beyond Philadelphia, there are Boscola and Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow (D., Lackawanna). Both unabashedly back Obama.

“I respect the governor; he’s a good friend of mine,” Mellow said, “but I am for Obama. He is a breath of fresh air, and I think he represents the best chance for the country.”

Like other Obama supporters, Mellow has felt pressure – often not subtle – from the other side.

In the days leading up to Clinton’s rally Monday in Scranton – the county seat of the Lackawanna County district he represents – Mellow said he was “phone-called to death” by Clinton supporters.