BY JOE SHAHEELI/ Despite the cold and inclement weather some Pennsylvanians have gone through, and the fact Christmas and New Year are just around the corner, the clamor from candidates vying for Governor and Lieutenant Governor grows louder. We must face the fact May 20, the D-Day for the Pennsylvania primary, is just around the corner.
We think those hoping to win the Democratic primary for Governor will remain at nine with no surprise announcements. Declared are Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery), Kate McGinty, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, John Hanger, Max Myers, Tom Wolf, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
Eric Bradway, a former Constable of Lower Merion Township, also says he is running for Governor on the Democratic ticket. But we aren’t counting him as a contender, so this is his last mention, unless he surprises us in the future. By Monday we should know if Harrisburg municipal worker Brenda Alton, who has announced for Lieutenant Governor, decides to take a whirl at the top of the ticket instead (or as well?).
That leaves ne question mark: Jack Wagner. Ever since last summer, the former Pennsylvania Auditor General has been announcing he would announce whether he would run, at some later date. Currently that date is the end of this year.
Wolf hoped to pick up some chits by announcing he would donate $5,000 to each of three Pennsylvania food banks rather than throw a party at the Pennsylvania Society. He’s going as a guest rather than a host. “My candidacy is grounded in the idea that I am a different kind of leader – a nontraditional candidate – a businessman who has never run for office,” Wolf wrote in an open letter to supporters.
Also in the race for Lieutenant Governor are State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast), former Congressman Mark Critz, Harrisburg Councilman Brad Koplinski and Bradford Co. Commissioner Mark Smith.
Since candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor run separately in the primary and the winners are joined on party tickets for the general election, the lineup for both can pose a problem for Democrats.
Mar. 11 is the last day for candidates to file nominating petitions to get on the primary ballot. By then, both parties’ state committees will have made endorsements. The Republicans are going with Gov. Tom Corbett and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley. But it’s way too early to call who’ll get the Democratic nod.
What happens to the Democrats’ chances to take down a poll-stricken incumbent Governor if their candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor hail from the same region … the Harrisburg area, say, or Southeastern Pennsylvania?
The latter is a strong possibility since Schwartz and Stack are seen as front runners for their respective posts, with McCord also coming from Montgomery. But if McGinty or Wolf takes the Number 1 spot while Koplinski or Alton takes Number 2, this would forge an odd all-Harrisburg ticket.
The powers to be at the Democratic State Committee in their February endorsement meeting need to come up with 2/3 of the total vote at the meeting. That will take some doing. It could lead to an open primary, which has both a good side and a bad side, depending on who is looking.
The good side for Democrats will be their candidates will get more needed exposure as they eventually begin to flail away at each other. On the other side, it could be a good thing for the incumbents. They conserve their campaign money until they know who needs to be targeted, and use what tidbits they could glean after the Dems have muddied up each other in the primary fight, to tweak what could help their cause and reuse that info again.
The candidates for Governor in Pennsylvania will discuss their positions on a range of important sustainability issues Jan. 13, at a gubernatorial forum presented by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and its partners. The forum is free and open to the public.
In the end, we see these forums as opportunities for candidates to inflict damage on themselves. In this forum, we don’t expect any of them to have all the answers the audience will hope to hear.
It begins at 6 p.m. and is presented in partnership with the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania-Citizen Education Fund, Conservation Pennsylvania, and Penn Environment. The forum will be moderated by Dave Davies, senior government and politics reporter for WHYY. To register to attend the forum, visit sustgovforum.eventbrite.com.
The forum will focus on important sustainability issues that directly affect jobs, public health, energy efficiency, and the economy, now and in the future. These issues, such as energy and the environment, involve the careful balancing of the needs of both natural and human systems now and in the future.
At this stage, endorsements may hold more sway than forums. Schwartz has received the endorsements of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, Pennsylvania State Council of Sheet Metal Workers, United Mine Workers of America, United Steel Workers Local 10-1, Boilermakers Local 19 and Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals. McCord has won the coveted backing of the state AFSCME.
In the race for Lieutenant Governor, gambling for an endorsement, nevertheless, is Critz, who comes from Western Pennsylvania. He sees himself as a ticket balancer, and believes he has the support to win the nomination in any event.
Undaunted by the presence of Stack in the race for Lieutenant Governor, enters the race “to give balance to the eventual Democrat ticket.” He’s a pro at campaigning, with a strong grassroots operation, developed during three campaigns as a Congressman (he was finally done in by redistricting). He’s just received the endorsement of the Johnstown Building & Construction Trades Council, from his back yard.
As a Johnstown resident with deep roots in several southwestern counties, Critz feels he will bring the necessary geographic balance to the Democratic ticket since all five gubernatorial frontrunners — McCord, Wolf, McGinty, Pawlowski and Schwartz — are from the eastern end of the state.
A reception was held for Critz Monday night at the home of April Maxwell and Nathan Shrader in East Kensington and was attended by interested Democrats from several city neighborhoods, numerous AFT members, as well as Lindsay Patterson, President of USW Local 404-U and his wife Annette. The United Steelworkers have already endorsed Critz and have pledged a full-fledged get out the vote effort in preparation for the May 20 primary.
Marcel Groen, Montgomery Co. Democratic Party Chair, has thrown his support behind Marjorie Margolies in her bid to return to Congress. That may cost State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) votes he needed to keep him in the race. He should reassess his decision to run.
The 202nd has joined the 174th Legislative Dist. seat as another district to be heavily contested. This was obvious from the fact a good crowd weathered Sunday’s snowstorm to attend Jared Solomon’s announcement he would challenge longtime incumbent State Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Northeast) in the newly revamped district which includes an area relatively new to Cohen as well.
In the 174th, no change has been reported yet, as State Reps. John Sabatina, Jr. and Ed Neilson are buckling their helmets to butt heads.
Solomon, founder of the Castor Gardens/Oxford Circle-based civic group, ‘Take Back Your Neighborhood”, was joined by fellow community leaders Pat Kane, Sharon Williams and Pam Baranackie who echoed the need for strong representation. Solomon is a lifelong resident of Northeast Philadelphia.
An Army JAG Reserve officer, Solomon was raised in Castor Gardens. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Villanova Law School. Jared worked as a top strategist for Congressman Joe Sestak, after years of public service for Controller Alan Butkovitz and the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus.
If anyone is interesting in running for committee person in either of the major parties, know you are invited to a class on how to run for that post in the 2014 primary election according to an announcement from the office of Commissioner Stephanie Singer. It is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 1606 Walnut Street.
Also reported from Singer’s office, in the statewide judicial top-of-the-ticket race, Ward 40B wins the “Most Improved Since Four Years Ago” award, pulling out 177 more votes this year than four years ago. While city turnout as a whole was down 14% from four years ago, turnout in 40B was up 18%.
In the DA and Controller races, the 40th Ward (A and B together) turned out more votes than the powerhouse 10th Ward…. “a notable change from four years ago.”
The woman were out in force for Dan Savage who is running for State Senator against Tina Tartaglione. Co-hosting his latest fundraiser held at Trieste Restaurant were Barbara Deeley, Businesswoman Nancy Marinucci, Shannon McClure Roberts Esq., Architect Kusrin Dhamawongse, Mariya Vetser. President of CM Studios, and Winnie Clorry, of LeBus.
Said Dan. “ I think that women vote for the best candidate. As a former elected official, I have the skillset enthusiasm, expertise and energy to move forward. As you can see, the women of my district recognize me as the best candidate.”
UNION LOTTERY WORKERS KEPT IN LOTTERY DEAL
It’s reported Gov. Tom Corbett has managed to make a deal with the Lottery Union employees, clearing the way for his effort to privatize management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Though no final agreement has been reached, both sides – the administration and AFSCME Council 13 – have indicated they have agreed “in concept” to a proposal that would keep unionized state employees on the job in the event of a private firm taking over management of the Lottery.