With Dinniman now not seeking re-election, three Dems line up to run for State Senate seat
By Steven Hoffman
Three Democrats — State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, Kyle Boyer, and Don Vymazal — have moved quickly to enter the race for 19th Senatorial District seat that is now open following incumbent State Sen. Andrew Dinniman’s decision not to seek re-election this year.
Dinniman announced that he was not seeking re-election last week, citing a need to spend more time with his wife, Margo, as she recovers from a series of health challenges in recent years.
With three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the April 28 Primary Election, the 19th Senatorial District race will be one of the most closely watched contests in this cycle. The 19th Senatorial District includes a large portion of Chester County.
Boyer, a school board member in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District, was already planning a Primary challenge to Dinniman. He is a minister and a lifelong resident of Chester County who has taught at the middle school and high school levels. He is also the president of the West Chester, Pa. NAACP. He previously served as a youth pastor of the Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ in West Chester.
Comitta, the State Representative of the 156th District since 2016, previously served for two terms as the mayor of West Chester Borough. In addition to this experience as an elected official, she worked as a teacher in the Octorara School District and was also the vice president and chief financial officer of Thomas Comitta Associates.
Vymazal, who has served as Dinniman’s longtime director of government relations and policy in the State Senate, earned the endorsement of the Chester County Democratic Committee last week.
The 19th Senatorial District is certainly friendly ground for Democrats, but it is not tilted toward them by an overwhelming margin, and whoever ends up winning the Democratic Primary Election could still face a challenge from the Republican nominee in November. One thing is for certain: The winner will have big shoes to fill. From the time he first won a seat in the Pa. Senate in 2006, Dinniman has won re-election three times and become one of the most successful elected officials in recent Chester County history. Known for his ability for reaching across the aisle and working with Republicans on the passing of legislation, he has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents, and has developed a reputation for working on behalf of constituents when issues arise. In the statement announcing his departure from the race, Dinniman pledged to continue to work hard for constituents until his term ends at the end of the year.
Before being elected to the State Senate, Dinniman served for 15 years as a Chester County commissioner, making him the longest-serving commissioner in county history.
In the State Senate, his priorities include providing his constituents with access to education, economic security and job growth, local government control over local issues, environmental protection, historic preservation, and quality-of-life issues.
State Rep. John Lawrence, a Republican who represents the 13th District in southern Chester County, has had the opportunity to work with Dinniman on a number of different issues. He expressed his gratitude toward the retiring State Senator.
“I appreciate Senator Dinniman’s decades of service to the people of Chester County, his friendship, and his willingness to cross party lines to work together with me on common issues facing our community,” Lawrence said. “Together, we have worked on many projects important to Southern Chester County. We have been able to secure millions for open space preservation and core infrastructure projects like the recently completed Red Rose intersection improvements in Jennersville.
“I wish him all the best in what I am sure will be an active retirement, and prayers for his wife as she is facing a challenging medical diagnosis.”