State Rep. Joe Brennan Won't Seek Re-Election

Three-term Democratic legislator announces today that he will petition Commonwealth Court to have his name removed from November ballot; will remain in office through Nov. 30.


State Rep. Joseph Brennan announced today that he has submitted a request to have his name removed from the November general election ballot. The Democratic legislator had been seeking his fourth term as representative from the 133rd District.

last Wednesday and charged with simple assault and drunken driving after he allegedly choked and punched his wife, Norma Jane, on the porch of their Fountain Hill home and then drove away drunk.

Brennan, 48, of 1201 Delaware Ave., is free on $7,500 bail and awaiting a preliminary hearing. Additionally, a court hearing on a Protection From Abuse order request on the legislator is scheduled for Thursday in Lehigh County Court. Norma Jane Brennan, who had filed for divorce in June, obtained a temporary PFA order last week.

Though the Pennsylvania Department of State deadline to remove names from the November ballot passed a week ago, Brennan intends to file a petition with Commonwealth Court asking for permission to remove his name, said Bill Patton, a spokesman in the office of House Minority Leader Frank Dermody.

The state Democratic Party will be joining in that effort, Patton added. The party does intend to find a replacement on the ballot to oppose Republican nominee David Molony, though Patton said he could not say what the process of finding the new Democratic nominee would be.

In announcing his decision, Brennan issued the following statement through the House Minority Leader’s Office:

"Those of us in recovery understand that there is no perfection. Recovery is a daily struggle and one cannot afford to let his or her guard down. I continue to work on my recovery day by day. It is the hardest thing I have had to do in my life. As I continue this process, it will be better for me and my family to not also have to deal with the challenges of a political campaign.

“I have been privileged to represent the 133rd District for the past six years, but today I am submitting a request to remove my name from the November ballot.

“I will remain in office until the conclusion of my term on Nov. 30 and my offices will remain open and staffed to help constituents deal with state government.

"I truly regret the entire situation. I understand the public’s interest in this because of the office I hold, but I hope that people will balance that with my family's need for privacy during a painful and difficult time."

The district includes nearly half of the city of Bethlehem, Fountain Hill, Catasauqua, Coplay, Hanover Township in Lehigh County and parts of Allentown and Salisbury and Whitehall townships.

GBxUSAF August 23, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Good, now take away his pention and throw him in jail
Heather Depew August 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM
I think anyone who helps make the laws but then breaks the law should automatically be IMPEACHED, never allowed to run for office again. Remember Pat Browne??? He should have to step down as well for his incident years ago. A DUI is breaking the law.
another point of view August 23, 2012 at 01:22 PM
I have written before about how bad and embarrassing our state legislature is. If they are not in Jail, they appear to be on their way. Too much and too many. It seems to never end. I think I would prefer that all of this would just go away. Sure, Brennan needs to get out and spare us all. My problem is one of fairness to everyone and our obligations to our system of justice. If Brennan could leave and promptly be replaced. Great! But that is not the case. Replacement calls for special elections and no special is going to happen before the general. In the meantime, in event of resignation, his constituency lacks the ability to get service to deal with the monolithic state bureaucracy. His staff must immediately vacate. Unfortunately, if we believe in our system of justice, we must wait until his guilt or innocence is adjudicated before we demand his resignation. We cannot demand that every elected official resign because of newspaper reporting. We are much more civilized. Fortunately, there are elections which speed up that process. I think his decision was best for everyone. There is no interruption in representation, and we all know that he is leaving soon.
Chris Miller August 23, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Mr. Brennan should have been removed a long tim ago. He simply used the system to hold on for just a bit longer. If he wants to get better he can go to AA meetings where he will get a lot of help for is addiction. The entire thing is in his hands. Does he want to be cured and is he serious about his road to sobriety. It doesn't war if you are in and out of the bottle.
Rosemary B August 23, 2012 at 04:39 PM
How many yrs ago was that? And did he pay his fine, ect. How about some forgiveness. If he has gotten his life together then he might be a better rep for the experience. Or do you suggest that no recovering Alcoholics should be allowed to run for office? This guy, on the other hand, is obviously in the middle of a personal and marital crisis and should step down in order to deal with it.


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