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.