And then there were six | Your guide to Pennsylvania’s auditor general primary

(Kelley Minars/Flickr)

With Pennsylvania’s June 2 primary just three weeks away, the race to fill the seat of term-limited Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is hotly contested.

DePasquale, a Democrat, meanwhile, is running for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat now held by GOP U.S. Rep.Scott Perry.

With one Republican and six Democrats all vying for the chance to be the state’s top fiscal watchdog, the June 2 Democratic primary offers a variety of options for auditor general position. 

Democrats

There are six Democrats running for the chance to be the Democratic nominee for the auditor general seat in November. 

Scott Conklin, Centre County 

Seventy-seventh House District Rep. Scott Conklin declared his candidacy for the seat in January, saying that his experience makes him the perfect person for the job. 

“My experience with legislation combating domestic violence, encouraging economic investment, and fighting against partisan politics, uniquely qualifies me to protect vulnerable Pennsylvanians from waste, fraud, and predatory practices,” Conklin said in his January Twitter announcement. 

Rose Davis, Monroe County, 

Certified public accountant Rose (Rosie) Davis is also running for the coveted title of state auditor general. 

In addition to running her own financial management consulting business for the last decade, Davis is vice chairman of the Smithfield Township, Board of Auditors.

Davis said she wants the job as the state’s top fiscal watchdog “to ensure that all of your tax dollars – and mine, are being spent in a reasonably, proper and fair manner.” 

Tracie Fountain, Dauphin County 

An Office of the Auditor General employee for nearly 30 years, Fountain has served as the Bureau Director for the five auditing bureaus: School Audits, State-Aided Audits, Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association Audits, Liquor Audits, and Children and Youth Services Audits. 

Fountain says on her campaign website that she is seeking the higher office to continue to work for her predecessors and bring a new perspective to the job. 

In her experience, Fountain has identified three issues she would focus on as the next auditor general, including staffing and budget issues, union transfers of Office of the Auditor General staff and a review of the controls of the state’s magisterial district courts. 

Christina Hartman, Lancaster County

A former Congressional hopeful, Hartman says on her campaign website that her political experience running for the 16th Congressional seat in 2016, is “crucial,” saying that it will help her win the general election in November, and, if elected, lead the Office of the Auditor General successfully.

If elected, Hartmans said she will focus on criminal justice reform, disparities in education and prescription drug costs as the state’s auditor general. 

Hartman has a long list of endorsements, including that of former Gov. Ed Rendell, Sally Lyall, former Lancaster County Democratic Committee Chair and state Reps. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and  Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, Joe Hohenstein, D-Philadelphia, and Joe Cires, D-Montgomery.

Nina Ahmad, Philadelphia County

An entrepreneur, molecular biologist, former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement and previously a candidate for lieutenant governor, Ahmad and fellow auditor general candidates Fountain and Davis, all women of color, were the targets of several “Zoom bombing” incidents in late March. 

Ahmad called the incidents “disturbing,” but said they would not stop her from seeking public office. 

Michael Lamb, Allegheny County

Michael Lamb has served as Controller of the City of Pittsburgh since 2008, and is now seeking the row office position. 

As controller, Lamb launched the Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh website, a resource for citizens to see how taxpayer money is being spent and make city budget operations more transparent. 

The western Pennsylvania progressive has the endorsement of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, the Laborers District Council of Western Pennsylvania, Plumbers Union Local 27, Pittsburgh Firefighters IAFF Local 1, and Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1.

Republicans 

Just one Republican remains in the running for auditor general after state Rep. Cris Dush withdrew from the race in February to run for the Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnatti’s 25th District seat. 

Dush’s withdrawal leaves Dauphin County Controller Tim Defoor to face the winner of the June 2 Democratic primary in the November general election.

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.