A Rare Battle Brewing In Bucks County Race

Posted: May 12, 1986

Mudslinging and innuendo! A trip to Europe billed to taxpayers vs. an incumbent who lives in his district only part-time!

Most of this year's state Senate primary races in the area are of the sleepy, unopposed incumbent variety. Not so in lower Bucks County's 6th District, where state Rep. John F. Cordisco of Bristol is hustling hard for the seat held by H. Craig Lewis of Southampton and Society Hill. The winner will face Republican Jim O'Brien of Tullytown in November.

Cordisco has questioned Lewis's loyalty to his district, making much of his job with the Center City law firm of Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, and his Philadelphia townhouse.

Lewis has called attention to a 10-day trip Cordisco took to Paris, Rome and Frankfurt, Germany, in November 1984, billed in part to taxpayers.

Cordisco, who chairs a legislative committee on solid-waste disposal, said he went to study trash technology in those cities. He produced no report when he returned, and was vague about what he learned when reporters questioned him. Cordisco said he billed taxpayers $2,300 and paid $2,400 himself, including his air fare. A female companion paid her own way, he said.

Cordisco, 31, has been a member of the state House for six years. His frequent absences to attend classes at Temple Law School prompted Lewis to nickname him "Casper," after the cartoon ghost.

Lewis, 41, is seeking his fourth Senate term. He acquired his Philadelphia home after marrying City Representative Dianne L. Semingson, who is required by the City Charter to live in the city. Job and family demands have made Lewis's Senate attendance record less than perfect.

Three of the eight state senators who represent some part of Philadelphia are up for re-election to four-year terms this year.

Only the 2nd District's Francis J. Lynch has Democratic primary opposition,

from activist Carol Coady. Democrats M. Joseph Rocks of the 4th and Hardy Williams of the 8th can coast until November.

Republicans running in those districts are Joe O'Donnell in the 2nd, Thomas Memmo in the 4th and Cordell D. Jones in the 8th.

A Democratic committeewoman from Mayfair, Coady, 33, has worked as a caterer and mental health therapist. She has lobbied Harrisburg on a variety of feminist and environmental issues, and is best known for her personal testimony in support of a marital-rape bill subsequently vetoed by Gov. Thornburgh.

In her first bid for elective office, Coady takes on a veteran campaigner backed by the district's 16 ward leaders. She has worked hard to make herself known in an oddly shaped district that stretches from Fairmount to Mayfair, and as far north as Cottman Avenue. Her efforts have paid off in frequent mentions in four community newspapers that serve the district.

Lynch, 63, served seven years in the state House, and has held his Senate seat for 13 years. A relatively low-profile lawmaker, he is the Democratic leader of Fairmount's 15th Ward, although he recently moved to the Tacony section.


These are the candidates for the Philadelphia seats in the state Senate; biographical information was supplied by the candidates (* denotes an incumbent):


Carol Coady, 34, 6244 Algard St. St. Hubert's H.S.; BA, Antioch Univ., Temple Univ. Catering business. Program director, Northeast YMCA; President, Northeast chapter, NOW; Member, Pa. Public Interest Coalition; Phila. Chamber of Commerce; Better Business Bureau; American Civil Liberties Union; National Women's Political Caucus.

* Francis J. Lynch, 63, 4207 Disston St.


Joe O'Donnell, 36, 5301 Frankford Ave. Father Judge H.S.; BA, Univ. of Pa.; JD, Temple Univ. Lawyer. Executive committee, Young Lawyers Section, Phila.; Executive committe, Brehon Law Society; President, Optimist Club of Frankford (1982).


* M. Joseph Rocks, 38, 940 Cathedral Rd. West Catholic Boys H.S.; BA, Univ. Iowa; AS, Comm. College of Phila.; Defense Language Institute. State representative (1978-82). Democratic chairman, state Senate Labor and Industry Committee; member, state Senate Aging and Youth, Education and Judiciary committees, state Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Board of directors, Therapeutic Center at Fox Chase, Rudolph Residence for the Blind. Member, Pa. State Job Coordinating Council, Phila. Council for Labor and Industry. Veteran.


Thomas Memmo, 839 Bells Mill Rd.


* Hardy Williams, 5630 Chestnut St. Penn. State Univ.; JD, Univ. of Pa. State Rep. (1976-80). Minority chairman, state Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee; Member, state Senate Finance, Judiciary, Urban Affairs and Housing committees; Chairman, Phila. state Senate delegation.


Cordell D. Jones, 4545 Sansom St.

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