The Lead

PA Society’s annual gathering returns to NYC on Thursday

By: - November 29, 2023 4:01 pm

The Pennsylvania Society holds its annual gathering in Manhattan, New York City, New York. (Photo by Jakub Hałun, CC BY 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Pennsylvania politicos will travel to New York City this weekend for the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering. Founded in 1899, The Pennsylvania Society is a nonprofit that touts its mission as celebrating service to the commonwealth. But the organization has garnered its share of criticism for not holding its annual event in Pennsylvania and for being generally out of touch with the average Pennsylvanian. 

The multi-day gathering of cocktail receptions and fundraisers is scheduled to kick off on Thursday with events throughout midtown Manhattan. Elizabeth Preate Havey, the organization’s president defended its continued existence and the location of its annual gathering in a recent op-ed for PennLive. She argued that holding the event out of state lets participants “leave behind our competitive and often combative environments for a new festive and celebratory atmosphere.”

The 125th annual dinner of the Pennsylvania Society is scheduled for Saturday evening at the New York Hilton Midtown. The cheapest ticket, for those 35 or under costs $350 (plus a $10 processing fee if purchased online), while a standard ticket costs $600. The cost of a patron table of 12 is $10,200, while the cost for a standard table of 12 is $7,200.

Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer and Joseph Neubauer, who run the Philadelphia-based Neubauer Family Foundation, will be honored as Gold Medalist recipients at this year’s gathering. Havey praised the Newbauers for their work “improving K-12 urban education and reducing gun violence,” and the global reach of their philanthropy.

Previous gold medalists have included then-Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Judge Marjorie Rendell.

In addition to the PA Society annual dinner, there will be receptions in support of Republican National Committeewoman Christine Toretti, House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia), Philadelphia Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker, U.S. House Agriculture Chair Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-15th District), plus elected officials, and other candidates for office. 

With the 2023 election in the rearview mirror, which delivered victories for Democrats seeking statewide judicial seats, discussions about 2024 will almost certainly be front and center for the gathering.

While the Keystone State is expected to play a pivotal role in the 2024 presidential election, that’s not the only race that will be top of mind for attendees this weekend. U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is hosting a reception on Friday evening, is facing what is sure to be a tough reelection campaign against likely GOP challenger Dave McCormick. Races for the three statewide row offices —Attorney General, Auditor General, and Treasurer— will probably dominate plenty of conversations as well. Past PA Society events have also included chatter about state legislature races, which in 2024 will determine the balance of power in the General Assembly.

Although races beyond 2024 may seem like a lifetime away, potential candidates gearing up for elections in 2025 and 2026 will likely be in attendance to contribute their names to the conversation, and rub elbows with deep-pocketed potential campaign donors.

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John Cole
John Cole

John Cole is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He's worked for various outlets such as The Northeast Times, PoliticsPA, and PCN. In these previous roles, he covered a wide range of topics from local civic association meetings to races across the commonwealth. He earned a degree in journalism from Temple University.