State Senator Leaves Democrat Party, Will Caucus With Republicans as Independent

State Senator John Yudichak has switched from being a Democrat to being an independent who will caucus with Republicans.

Yudichak said Tuesday that registering as an independent is the only way he can faithfully and fully serve the people of his northeastern Pennsylvania district.


MSN reports a state senator from Luzerne County said Tuesday he is changing his party registration from the Democratic Party to become an Independent, and will start attending caucus meeting in Harrisburg with the majority Republicans.

John Yudichak said in a statement that he is leaving his old party because he is weary of “’purist’ politicians who demand that you choose a battle camp. You must pass their litmus test, and declare if you support ‘us,’ or ‘them.’”

Yudichak, who won his third term in the Senate in 2018, said he believes that going forward he will best be able to serve the interests of his constituents as an independent, supporting Democratic and / or Republican ideas case by case when he believes they “serve the greater good and help government work for people rather than the narrow interests of the partisan ‘purists.’”

In a phone interview after he made his announcement, Yudichak said his move is the culmination of a growing feeling that the Democratic caucus in the Senate – which added a number of more liberal Democrats in the last election cycle – has become a harder place for him to represent his constituents from northeastern Pennsylvania.

Yudichak, 49, cited what he felt was a lack of recent support within the caucus for regional issues he was battling for, like a tax credit to help the waste coal industry, or the preventing the closure of state prisons and state centers for those with intellectual disabilities.

“It became clear to me that I was going to be a marginalized voice, or worse, a silent voice, if i continued in that caucus,” Yudichak said.

The move takes the minority Democratic caucus from 22 to 21, and it has the feeling of blunting some of the momentum Democrats felt after gaining six seats since the 2016 elections. Republicans currently hold 27 seats, with one vacant seat set to be filled in a January special election.

Yudichak – whose next re-election campaign would be 2022 – will be the chamber’s sole Independent, though he will be apparently draw new committee assignments through the Republican leadership.

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