There is much more to politics than partisanship. Geography, for starters. On countless issues large and small, an elected official from another party who represents your home will serve you better than an official from your own party who represents someone else’s home.
Gov. Tom Corbett is from metropolitan Pittsburgh. Although Southwestern Pennsylvania is little more than half as populous as Southeastern Pennsylvania, it famously rallies behind its home team – and I don’t just mean the Steelers. The result is the Southwest routinely punches above its weight in state politics.
Too often, Pittsburgh’s gain is Philadelphia’s loss. While the Governor has taken admirable care of some crucial Delaware Valley needs, especially in economic infrastructure, on the whole our city and region has suffered from a shift of power toward midstate and the west since 2010.
Fast forward to 2014. The May primary is already looking at a crowded field in the quest for the Democratic nomination to challenge Corbett.
For either party, a top concern in primary voting is a candidate’s winnability. This will be particularly true in this election, since polls show Corbett looks beatable.
But voters in Southeastern Pennsylvania have a second consideration which should weigh heavily on our minds. That is regaining power in Harrisburg for our region. We will all fare better if we swing a big political stick – as big as our population, which is one-third of the entire state’s.
Currently three Southeasterners are in the gubernatorial race or eyeing it closely: Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery Co. and State Sen. Mike Stack of Philadelphia. It will be crucial for all Southeastern Democrats to select a statewide ticket which features a powerful place for one of our own.
Primaries are contests. In the end, though, city and suburban Democrats will be wise to close ranks behind a favorite son or daughter who can bring back home to us the government that is our due.