Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Chester County DA Race is Heating Up . . . Candidates Taking Off the Gloves

Following November’s mid-term election, I wrote of news in the Chester County District Attorney’s office . . . District Attorney Joseph Carroll decision to run for Common Pleas Court judge seat and not seek re-election as the county DA. At the time of the announcement, there was speculation about possible DA candidates including Tredyffrin’s solicitor Tom Hogan among others.

Fast forward, a couple of months and the district attorney race is now in full campaign mode. Three candidates, Tom Hogan, former prosecutor and partner in Lamb McErlane law firm; Assistant District Attorney Pat Carmody and Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kelly are vying for the endorsement of Chester County Republican Committee and it appears that the candidates are taking the gloves off for this race!

The GOP is conducting interviews with the district attorney candidates at various locations throughout the county. So far, the organization has held three straw polls and the voting of the committee members is as follows:

West Chester area: Carmody 47 votes; Hogan 24 votes; Kelly 10 votes
Tredyffrin area: Hogan 51 votes; Carmody 16 votes; Kelly none.
Southern Chester County area: Hogan 31 votes; Carmody 30 votes; Kelly 18 votes

If my math is correct, the current vote count has Hogan leading with 106 votes to Carmody’s 93 votes and Kelly’s 28 votes. There are two more straw polls this week leading up to the Chester County Republican Convention on February 15 that decides the candidate endorsement.

I do not typically weigh in on county politics, (there is more than enough going on with Tredyffrin and our neighboring townships to keep me busy) but I will make an exception with the district attorney race. The Sunday Daily Local ran an article on the district attorney race that caught my attention. In the article, the writer claims that during a GOP interview, DA candidate Hogan suggested administrative inconsistencies and the need to ‘clean up’ the district attorney office.

I was surprised by the immediate defensive reaction to Hogan’s criticism of the district attorney office by District Attorney Carroll and Assistant DA Carmody. I believe citizens prefer placing their confidence in a district attorney, like candidate Tom Hogan, who is willing to take a stand to improve the process and to make government better. There is nothing wrong with Hogan suggesting there is room for improvement in the DA office. You set your goals, ever-increasing the level of standard, and then work to achieve that objective. As taxpayers, isn’t that what we should expect and what we want from our elected officials?

We know that change can be difficult for some; people get comfortable with doing things the same way they have always been done; my guess is that the Chester County District Attorney office is no different. From my association with Tom Hogan over the last few years, his approach does not simply accept status quo but rather an approach that seeks to make government more accountable, and more efficient. ‘Raising the bar’ by raising expectations makes for good government.

Yesterday, I received an anonymous email in regards to the district attorney race from a concerned Chester County resident. Attached to the email were several Carmody campaign-related documents, including his campaign business card. The individual who sent the email was concerned that candidate Carmody was using his personal cell phone number on the literature. I did no appreciate the individual’s concern until I opened the attachment containing the official telephone contact list from the DA office. Curiously, the same cell phone number that Carmody uses on campaign materials is also his office contact number in the District Attorney office.

So what does this mean? Is Carmody’s cell phone personally owned or county-issued? Regardless if the phone is county owned property or personally owned by Carmody; it is interesting that he uses the same telephone number in his campaign literature and his county office. Would this imply that Carmody takes campaign calls at the district attorney office? Is this but a small legal campaign detail overlooked by a person running our legal system? Does this suggest that the district attorney’s office doubles as his campaign headquarters? If nothing else, Carmody’s actions make me wonder about what line is drawn between campaigning and working for the people of Chester County. The merging of political activities with the people’s work is a fine line.

Certainly, I lay no claim to understanding the inner-workings of the District Attorney’s office but as a response to Carroll and Carmody over Hogan’s criticism of the DA’s office, I am reminded of a line from Hamlet . . . “you doth protest too much me thinks”. Perhaps, Hogan’s criticisms were hitting a little too close to home.

Share or Like:


Add a Comment
  1. Pattye

    I read the DLN articles & the on-line comments (there were many), ahd I don’t remember anything like this re: the DA race while I was on the committee. And I was a little more than concerned when one of the comments brought up the Carmody information. If I’m correct, no state or federal office holder is allowed to conduct campaign activities from their offidces; I can’t believe it would be any different with a county employee. Does anyone have any infomation on this type of activity?

  2. ” I believe citizens prefer placing their confidence in a district attorney, like candidate Tom Hogan, who is willing to take a stand to improve the process and to make government better.”

    I agree with your statement and have no interest in the political in-fighting for this endorsement, but I find the statement by TOM HOGAN a bit uncharacteristic of a solicitor for Tredyffrin Township, a township which has made the process a joke and certainly has not made government better with their lack of transparency and back room executive sessions — all with Hogan’s apparent approvals? Doesn’t he have to stand up to the people he advises before we believe this is anything more than political pandering/bravado….?

    1. Voice – you strike a chord with me. Perhaps someone can help us by explaining how Tom Hogan’s counsel to the township illustrates his qualifications for higher office? Clearly the other candidates may have issues, too, but that makes it all the more depressing.

    2. Mystery solved. Over the last several months during discussions of supervisors’ meetings, posters on this blog have asked “What did Tom Hogan say?” Nothing, usually. Now we know why: Rather than step up to speak to the law in so many crucial situations, he stayed silent to keep his bio as clean as possible because he planned to run for DA. You can be sure that the Tredyffrin Republican Committee will endorse him: he’s done their bidding; he’s protected their own. If he wins the DA post, is that what he’d do county wide? Hard decisions will be examined through the lens of whom he owes. The people of Chester County will lose out if that happens. Just as Tredyffrin residents have been ill served by Hogan’s township priorities. And if he does leave Duportail Road for West Chester, someone from West Chester (Lamb McErlane) will undoubtedly take his place. And so it goes…. Nothing will change. Does it have to be that way?

  3. Pattye —

    I hope you can find out if Mr. Carmody is using a taxpayer-paid phone for his campaign.

    That is an illegal activity and should automatically disqualify him from running for DA. How can our DA even begin to enforce the laws when he won’t follow them himself?

    I won’t comment on Mr. Hogan being the right or wrong candidate as I don’t know enough yet, but I do know that anyone who starts a campaign to be a law enforcement official by doing something illegal automatically loses my vote — and should lose the vote of everyone else!

    Finally, I hope you will forward your findings to the local papers who have obviously missed this important story.

  4. I am appalled at the tone of this complaint — “using a taxpayer provided phone.” Does that mean prior to the days of cell phones, people working in an office were barred from accepting personal calls in the office. Do we really believe any use of this phone was an “illegal activity.”
    I will agree that this error in judgment should reflect on your evaluation of him, but it’s why we cannot get good people to run. The man has a job to do, and in taking periodic breaks during his work day, he uses the phone he carries for a call. Talk abou trumping up charges. Are we really that stupid that we cannot take it into consideration, but evaluate his SKILLS for the job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Community Matters © 2024 Frontier Theme