A state Senate committee on Tuesday took the unusual step of sending Pedro Cortes’ nomination for a second stint as Pennsylvania’s secretary of state to the Senate floor without any recommendation. The State Government Committee voted without dissent after an hourlong hearing that largely focused on Cortes’ role in the case of former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence for killing three babies born alive during illegal abortions at his former clinic.
Sen. Mike Folmer, the panel’s chairman, said the committee is divided over Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s nominee and that sending the nomination to the floor would move the confirmation process along.
The goal “was simply to allow Mr. Cortes to be voted on by the full Senate and people can make their choice as they see fit,” the Lebanon County Republican said.
Cortes, who was secretary of state in Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration from 2003 to 2010, called the neutral vote “a great outcome” that will set the stage for a vote on his nomination by the full Senate.