State Rep. Madeleine Dean joins crowded Pa. lieutenant governor field

Representative Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, addresses her colleagues, as they debate the budget on the floor of the House of Representatives at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg Tuesday June 30, 2015. (Chris Knight/AP Photo, file)

Representative Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, addresses her colleagues, as they debate the budget on the floor of the House of Representatives at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg Tuesday June 30, 2015. (Chris Knight/AP Photo, file)

The field for the 2018 lieutenant governor election is filling up, with a number of Democrats jumping into the often-low-key race.

That could mean a tough battle for incumbent Mike Stack, who has struggled through public conflicts with fellow Democrat, Governor Tom Wolf.

State representative Madeleine Dean, who has served part of Montgomery County since 2012, is the latest entry to the race.

So far, she has avoided bashing other candidates. But asked if the Lieutenant Governor’s office has used more resources than it warrants, she offered some criticism that seemed aimed at Stack.

“You know, the current climate shows that it has not,” she said. “For example, the house, the lieutenant governor’s house — I have no interest in that. If I were lucky enough to be elected, I would not take advantage of that house.”

Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that provides its second-in-command with a residence on taxpayer dime. Dean suggested turning the building into a Center of Excellence for opioid addiction recovery.

Stack, a former Senator from Philly, is typically seen as incompatible with Wolf — who stripped Stack of his police detail earlier this year over allegations of verbal abuse.

The lieutenant governor has also been criticized for expensing high grocery bills, among other things.

Dean said she’d end the acrimony

“I think I actually have the best set of skills and experience and the fight for the issues I’ve been fighting for in Harrisburg to combine with this governor,” she said.

She reported “very cordial” conversations about her candidacy with Wolf, who’s also up for reelection in 2018.

Other Democrats in the race include Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone, Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman, and Aryanna Berringer, an IT project manager and activist from Westmoreland County.

Wolf’s campaign has declined to comment on the race.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.