Philadelphia’s most powerful state legislator could be out of his leadership post in Harrisburg this week.
But as State Rep. Dwight Evans fights a challenge from Western Pennsylvania for the Democratic chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, I can’t help but recall the day when Evans conspired to take down the city’s top leader in Harrisburg and replace him with a leader from out west.
It was 1992, and Philadelphia Democrat Bob O’Donnell was Speaker of the State House – until Evans worked to dump him in favor of Bill DeWeese, who now faces corruption charges.
It was the first time a sitting speaker was unseated by his caucus in 70 years, and it cost the city a key leadership post in the capitol.
O’Donnell declined to gloat (or comment at all) when I called him last week, but Evans talked about it.
“At that particular time (I was) trying to get rural Pennsylvania to work with urban Pennsylvania,” Evans said. “I’ll be the first one to say to you, I made a mistake relating to Bill DeWeese. That was a mistake. And the fact of the matter is he has been removed from our leadership.”
You can read more about Evans battle for his chairmanship in this piece by Shannon McDonald.