Daylin Leach (born June 23, 1961) is a former American politician and lawyer, who was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 17th senatorial district from 2009 until 2020. He was previously a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing the 149th district from 2003 to 2009.
|Member of the Pennsylvania Senate|
from the 17th district
January 3, 2009 – December 4, 2020
|Preceded by||Constance H. Williams|
|Succeeded by||Amanda Cappelletti|
|Constituency||Parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties|
|Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives|
from the 149th district
January 7, 2003 – November 30, 2008
|Preceded by||Wallis Brooks|
|Succeeded by||Tim Briggs|
|Constituency||Part of Montgomery County|
|Born||June 23, 1961|
|Spouse(s)||Jennifer Anne Mirak|
|Residence||Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania|
|Alma mater||Temple University|
University of Houston Law Center
Early life, education, and legal career
Leach was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Parkland High School in 1979 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 1983 and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1986.
He practiced law for 16 years, focusing on family and education law. He taught constitutional law, legal ethics and First Amendment law as an adjunct professor at Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College. Leach served as president of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats in the early 1990s and on the Allentown Zoning Board from 1990 to 1994. During his career, he co-hosted Lehigh Valley Firing Line, a local weekly political debate TV program.
In 2016, Philadelphia law firm Sacks Weston Diamond LLC hired Leach to advise clients on medical marijuana licensing, permitting and regulatory rules. He left the firm in July, 2017, when he announced his congressional candidacy.
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Leach first ran for the 149th legislative district in a special election on February 12, 2002, following the resignation of Democrat Connie Williams. Leach was the Democratic nominee and lost to Republican Wallis Brooks 48%-44%, a difference of 273 votes.
In the November 2002 rematch of their February special election, the Brooks campaign sent dozens of direct mail advertisements, including one accusing Leach of defending child molesters as an attorney. On the Saturday before the election, one was sent to voters accusing Leach of being anti-Semitic. The mailer carried a headline of "Anti-Semitism, Neo-Nazism, Holocaust Denial. They are not 'a big joke.'" The charges stemmed from Leach's 1999 defense of an in absentia client from Texas who was sued in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for alleged comments in an Internet chat room. Following the dismissal, the plaintiff posted on the Internet, denouncing Leach and the Texas man as anti-Semites. The posts were unearthed by a Brooks researcher and used in the mailer. "She had to know I was Jewish, because it had come up in a debate. But since I have a non-Jewish surname, she apparently thought she could get away with this," Leach said. The campaign immediately convinced a local Jewish newspaper to denounce the mailer and reproduced the article on a flyer with a profile of Leach, emphasizing his Jewish roots and activism, on the reverse. By election day, 70 volunteers had hand-delivered the literature to most district households. On November 5, 2002, Leach defeated Brooks 53%-47%, a difference of 1,170 votes.
In 2003, the political website PoliticsPA named him to "The Best of the Freshman Class" list, saying that he "has all the ingredients of a rising star" and that he "makes the job look fun."
In August 2005, Leach published an op-ed article in The Philadelphia Inquirer criticizing the paper's coverage of the 2005 Pennsylvania General Assembly pay raise controversy. In what the Philadelphia City Paper called "the paper's first round against Leach," Inquirer columnist John Grogan responded by accusing Leach of "funny math." In response, Leach "struck back" against the Inquirer with a satirical email to associates under the pseudonym "Dutch Larooo" criticizing Inquirer reporter Mario F. Cattabiani.
On September 1, 2005, Mario F. Cattabiani published a front-page article in The Philadelphia Inquirer that "exposed" Leach's long-standing and satirical blog "leachvent.com." The Philadelphia City Paper criticized the Inquirer for allowing Cattabiani to "answer his attacker" through a news article, noting that "thousands of insiders have laughed at Leach's satire for years," but the Inquirer acted as though it had been "recently discovered." The Philadelphia City Paper wrote that Cattabiani's article incorrectly characterized Leach's website as a "blog" rather than satire and had focused on Leach's pseudonym's "impure thoughts," while ignoring the "satirical attack" on his Cattabiani's reporting. The next day, Leach removed his website. John Grogan wrote that Leach had "dug his own political grave." The Philadelphia City Paper criticized these negative articles about Leach by stating that "hidden behind the newspaper's florid obsession with Leach's naughty bits, is the state rep's pointed satire of their mediocre coverage – a criticism that the newspaper never addresses...The Inquirer savaged this young legislator because his satire was hitting its mark: Them."
Notable work in the House includes proposed bills that would allow hybrid cars into the state fleet, that give state funding for breast and ovarian cancer screening for low-income women, that would address redistricting reform, that would eliminate state's lethal use of paralytic drugs, and that would require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to sexual assault victims.
When Connie Williams of Pennsylvania's 17th senate district decided to retire, Leach decided to enter the election. He was the Democratic nominee and defeated Republican Lance Rogers, a Lower Merion Township Commissioner, 62%-38%.
Leach faced attorney and East Norriton Township Board of Supervisors Vice Chairwoman, Amanda Cappelletti, in the Democratic party. Cappelletti defeated Leach, receiving 63% of the vote and winning every county in the district.
Leach was awarded the 2008 Humane Legislator Award by the Humane Society of the United States, the 2011 Legislative Leadership Award by GVF Transportation, and the 2011 Friend of Education Award by the Lower Merion Education Association.
In January 2013, he proposed legislation that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania for people 21 years or older, called the "Regulate Marijuana Act." In defending it, Leach argued “We would never, in a rational society, starting from scratch, have the policy we have now.”
In 2017, Leach made headlines in response to President Trump's threat to "destroy the career" of a Texas state senator who proposed legislation requiring a conviction before civil asset forfeiture, by goading the President to try to destroy Leach's career in a social media post.
In December 2017, Leach was accused of inappropriately touching young female staffers and volunteers. Leach's attorney referred to media reports as a witch hunt. In a written statement, Leach denied the accusations, which he attributed to an unnamed political opponent. In response to the allegations, Gov. Wolf called on Leach to resign. In a statement the next day, Leach said he planned to stay in his seat and work with Senate leaders to address the allegations. On February 24, 2018, Leach abandoned his congressional campaign but announced that he will remain in his state senate seat. In September 2019, an auditors report commissioned by the Pennsylvania Democratic Caucus concluded, "With respect to Senator Leach's behavior while as a member of the Senate, we conclude that there is no evidence of actionable discrimination for harassment in violation of applicable law or Caucus policies." Further, the report found, "At no time did any such behavior actually create a hostile work environment under the circumstances presented here."
2014 congressional election
On April 1, 2013, Main Line Times reported that Leach would run for Pennsylvania's 13th congressional district, which was open as incumbent Democrat Allyson Schwartz ran for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014. However, while the majority of Upper Merion Township is within the boundaries of the 13th Congressional district, Leach's home in Wayne, Upper Merion Township is actually within the state's 7th Congressional district. Leach lost in the Democratic primary, winning only 16.6% of the vote.
2018 congressional election
On July 3, 2017, Leach announced his candidacy for the Congressional seat held by Republican Pat Meehan in Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district. Leach was expected to have several Democratic primary opponents. On December 18, 2017, Leach announced he was "taking a step back" from his campaign to deal with misconduct allegations of sexual talk and inappropriate touching. His lawyer said that "doesn’t mean he's quitting." In January 2018, Meehan withdrew his candidacy for reelection after revelations that he had used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint. (Meehan resigned On April 27, 2018, saying he would pay back the taxpayer funds used for the settlement.)
After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the state's old congressional map, Leach's home, along with most of the Montgomery County portion of the old 7th, was drawn into the new 4th District, the successor to the old 13th. On February 24, 2018, Leach finally succumbed to pressures from fellow Democrats, including Governor Tom Wolf, to abandon his congressional campaign, announcing his withdrawal on his Facebook page. He had accumulated an impressive war chest for the election to the newly redrawn district.
According to Jewish Exponent, Leach is "known for being outspoken and proud of his Jewish identity".
Leach serves as an ex-officio member of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and a member of the Norristown Farm Park Advisory Committee
- "SESSION OF 2003 – 187TH OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY – No. 1" (PDF). Legislative Journal. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. January 7, 2003.
- "Senator Daylin Leach – PA State Senate". PA General Assembly. Pennsylvania General Assembly. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
- "Sen. Daylin Leach | Complex Litigation Attorney in PA". Philadelphia Attorneys | Sacks Weston Diamond LLC. Sacks Weston Diamond LLC. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
- Esack, Steve (September 18, 2017). "Pennsylvania senator's medical marijuana moonlighting role". The Morning Call. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- "Our Campaigns – PA State House 149- Special Election Race – Feb 12, 2002". Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- "2002 Special Election for the 149th Legislative District". Commonwealth of PA - Elections Information. Pennsylvania Department of State. 2004. Archived from the original on November 28, 2008.
- Beiler, David; Joshua Runyan (May 1, 2006). "The mail-zilla: attack of the monster direct mail mistakes". Campaigns & Elections. [dead link]
- Levy, Faygie; Joshua Runyan (October 2002). "When Even the Mudslinging Gets Dirty". The Jewish Exponent. Philadelphia.
- PA State House 149 March 15, 2013
- PA State House 149 March 15, 2013
- Bryan Schwartzman (November 22, 2006). "Dems in Harrisburg Gain Modest Success". Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "The Best of the Freshman Class". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2003. Archived from the original on January 19, 2003.
- Leach, Daylin (August 15, 2005). "Pay raise issue treated unfairly; The vote wasn't nearly as nefarious as it's being painted by the media". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- John Grogan (August 23, 2005). "Keep shaming legislative greed". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Emails archived at Bruce Schimmel's personal website
- Schimmel, Bruce (September 22–28, 2005). "You Need Daylin Leach". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008.
- Archive index at the Wayback Machine
- Mario Cattabiani (September 2, 2005). "Off-color humor blog goes off-line;State Rep. Daylin Leach posted a note saying: "I was trying to make people laugh and think, not upset them."". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Cattabiani, Mario (September 3, 2005). "Blog by legislator to remain off-line;State Rep. Daylin Leach said the Web site was being pulled "permanently." He had vowed Thursday to put it back online". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Grogan, John (September 5, 2005). "This blogger dug his political grave". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- "REVVING UP A NEW IDEA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 18, 2004. p. A-13.
- "Death Penalty Opponents Challenge Lethal Injection". Fox News. September 17, 2004. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Daylin Leach". January 8, 2013. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Google News Archive Search". Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- PA State Senate 17 March 15, 2013
- PA State Senate 17 March 15, 2013
- Pennsylvania 17th District State Senate Results: Daylin Leach Wins December 13, 2016
- Damon C. Williams (January 30, 2014). "Medical marijuana moves closer to legalization". Philadelphia Tribune. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "Sen. Leach's bill to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania unveiled". King of Prussia Courier. Mainline Media News. February 21, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- Will Marble (February 1, 2013). "Bill legalizing marijuana to be introduced in Pa". Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "Pa. becomes 24th state with legal medical marijuana". CBS News. April 17, 2016.
- "Pennsylvania senator to Trump: Come after me, you 's***-gibbon'". February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
- @daylinleach (February 7, 2017). "Hey @realDonaldTrump I oppose civil asset forfeiture too! Why don't you try to destroy my career you fascist, loofa-faced, shit-gibbon!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Gambacorta, David; Couloumbis, Angela (December 17, 2017). "Ex-staffers: Sen. Daylin Leach crossed line with sex talk, inappropriate touching". Inquirer and Daily News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
- Gambacorta, David (December 17, 2017). "Sen. Daylin Leach responds: Alleged inappropriate touching 'did not happen'". Inquirer and Daily News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
- Gambacorta, David; Couloumbis, Angela (December 17, 2017). "Wolf: Leach should resign in wake of allegations". Inquirer and Daily News. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
- Couloumbis, Angela; Gambacorta, David (December 18, 2017). "Sen. Daylin Leach: 'I am taking a step back' from congressional campaign amid misconduct allegations". Inquirer and Daily News. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Gambacorta, David (February 25, 2018). "State Senator Daylin Leach ends congressional bid, cites 'attacks' on his family". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
- "In The Matter Of Certain Allegations Relating to Senator Daylin Leach". September 18, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- Ibid., p.42
- Committees April 6, 2020
- "State Senator Daylin Leach plans to run for Congress". King of Prussia Courier. Mainline Media News. April 1, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013.
- "2014 General Primary – Representative in Congress". Pennsylvania Department of State. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- Kauffman, Rick (July 5, 2017). "State Sen. Daylin Leach announces run for Congress in the 7th". The Times Herald. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Tamari, Jonathan (January 25, 2018). "Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek reelection after sexual harassment furor". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
- Tamari, Jonathan (April 27, 2018). "Rep. Pat Meehan resigns; will pay back $39,000 used for harassment settlement". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "Jewish Community Reacts to Allegations Against Daylin Leach". Jewish Exponent. Jewish Publication Group. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- "Bryn Mawr Film Institute Board of Directors". Bryn Mawr Film Institute. Archived from the original on December 3, 2018.
- "Norristown Farm Park Advisory Committee". Norristown Farm Park.