Campaign '14
By John Guerriero, Kevin Flowers Erie Times-News staff bloggers
John Guerriero and Kevin Flowers have joined forces for Campaign ’14, a blog about the 2014 races for governor and U.S. House, among others. And you'll read about President Barack Obama, Congress and what's going on in Harrisburg. Check it out and you’ll be a lot more informed before voting in the May 21 primary and the Nov. 5 election.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: March 13th, 2014
John Hanger/ETN file photo

John Hanger/ETN file photo

It’s been a tough week for Democratic candidates for governor.

John Hanger, the former state environmental protection secretary who made marijuana reform a key part of his campaign, withdrew from the race today. The timing was unexpected, coming three days after filing petitions to get on the May 20 primary ballot.

But in a statement, Hanger said, “There is no longer a path to victory in the Democratic primary, and so I am therefore withdrawing my candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania.

“This decision disappoints my great campaign team and me, as it does thousands of our supporters. We have tried every possible means to find a way to win and so avoid the necessity of making this decision. With no path to victory, to press on could cause damage to the issues and people for which we campaigned,” he said.

Hanger, of Dauphin County, said that Democratic candidate Tom Wolf’s television campaign has been “startlingly effective,” and the former state revenue department secretary has taken what Hanger called a commanding lead with support of 40 percent or higher in the Democratic primary race.

“Tom Wolf’s surge that stalled our January momentum meant that our recent polling was not strong enough for us to raise the funds for television and radio advertising needed for victory at the end of this campaign. Furthermore, and crucially for our campaign, it is now probable that the winner of the Democratic primary will get considerably more than 30 percent of the primary vote, a target we cannot reach,” he said.

Hanger said the remaining five Democratic primary candidates are “conducting their campaigns well and honorably, never losing focus on the ultimate goal” of winning the office. Hanger said the objective of defeating Republican Gov. Tom Corbett remains “clearly in sight and I have never been more optimistic that we will be toasting that victory the evening of Nov. 4.”

Another longshot Democratic candidate, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, didn’t file her petitions by Tuesday’s deadline to get on the ballot. She cited the rigorous rules for a gubernatorial candidate to file.

Candidates need at least 2,000 signatures, with at least 100 from a minimum of 10 counties.

Besides Wolf, of York County, the remaining Democratic candidates are: U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, 13th Dist., of Montgomery County; Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, also of Montgomery County; Katie McGinty, of Chester County, another former state environmental protection secretary; and Jack Wagner, of Pittsburgh, former state auditor general.

Conservative Bob Guzzardi, of Montgomery County, will oppose Corbett in the GOP primary.

– John Guerriero

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 13th, 2014
Dan LaVallee/contributed photo

Dan LaVallee/contributed photo

Dan LaVallee, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 3rd District, has picked up another labor union endorsement.

Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 12 has endorsed LaVallee, who is unopposed for his party’s nomination in the May 20 primary. He will face U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., in the Nov. 4 election. Kelly is unopposed in the GOP primary.

“For decades, the Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 12 has created and protected good, family-wage paying jobs for western Pennsylvanians,” said LaVallee, of Cranberry Township, Butler County, in a statement.  “I am proud to have their endorsement as we seek to put families back to work and bring new leadership to Pennsylvania’s 3rd District.”

Dave Bernett, business manager for Sheet Metal Workers union, said in a statement that the laborers were ”proud to support and endorse Dan LaVallee for the 3rd Congressional District to represent and fight for working class people and our values.”

 LaVallee previously received an endorsement from Steamfitters Local No. 449 and its nearly 1,500 members.

– John Guerriero
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 12th, 2014

Barring any successful challenges to petitions, the GOP and Democratic fields are now set for the May 20 primary for governor.

Six Democrats are running. The one minor surprise is that Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz did not file her nominating petitions to meet Tuesday’s deadline. The Lebanon Daily News, her hometown newspaper, reported that Litz dropped out because the signature requirements are too tough.

A candidate running for governor must gather at least 2,000 signatures, including a minimum of 100 from at least 10 counties.

A below-the-radar filing came from conservative Bob Guzzardi, of Montgomery County, who met Tuesday’s deadline to get on the ballot and will oppose Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the primary.

Corbett will be favored to win the primary, but he now has to deal with a primary challenger instead of focusing his full attention on what is expected to be a tough re-election battle. But Guzzardi, in a post on his Facebook page, has expressed confidence. “There is more than a reasonable likelihood that I can beat Tom Corbett for the nomination. Then from May 21 to Nov. 4, it is attack, attack, attack Democrats as they have never been attack(ed).”

The GOP nominee will face one of the following Democratic candidates: Tom Wolf, of York County, former Pennsylvania revenue secretary; U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, 13th Dist., of Montgomery County; Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, also of Montgomery County; Katie McGinty, of Chester County, and John Hanger, of Dauphin County, both former state environmental protection secretaries; or Jack Wagner, of Pittsburgh, former state auditor general.

It should make for an interesting two months.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 10th, 2014
Tom Wolf/AP file photo

Tom Wolf/AP file photo

The new frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor in Pennsylvania had a big weekend.

Tom Wolf, a York County businessman who leads the race in the most recent polls, picked up endorsements from 17 elected officials and 24 local party officials in the Pittsburgh region.

Among those endorsing Wolf are U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, of Pittsburgh, D-14th Dist.; Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto; and Allegheny County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy Mills.

Wolf, a former state revenue department secretary, said in a statement that he is humbled to have the support, and “I am thrilled to join with them to fight for a fresh start for Pennsylvania.

“These great leaders are working together to rebuild western Pennsylvania’s economy and strengthen the middle class. Their vision and efforts to revitalize Pittsburgh and Allegheny County is exactly the model I will follow as governor, and with them, I know we can be successful,” he said.

The western Pennsylvania support is considered important for a candidate with roots in eastern Pennsylvania.

The winner of the May 20 primary will face Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the Nov. 4 election.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 7th, 2014
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey/File photo

The mentions include Bob Casey and Linda Small.  Check it out here.

Have great weekend, everyone.

 

–Kevin Flowers

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 6th, 2014
Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

Gov. Tom Corbett/ETN file photo

The polls haven’t shown much love for Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election chances.

And that trend continued today.

The Robert Morris University Polling Institute shows Corbett with  low approval ratings, with few state residents saying they plan to vote for him in the Nov. 4 election. The survey of 501 likely Pennsylvania voters showed that only 29.4 percent hold a favorable impression of the incumbent. The job approval rating for  Corbett, who’s seeking a second term, is 32.5 percent.

Among likely Democratic voters, the leaders were: Tom Wolf, 51.4 percent; Allyson Schwartz, 17.3 percent, Rob McCord, 13.3 percent, and Katie McGinty, 9.2 percent. Just 20.7 percent of those surveyed suggest they plan to vote for Corbett, while 40.3 percent indicated they would vote for the Democratic candidate. Another 12.3 percent would vote for another candidate, while 27% are undecided.

Just 18.6 percent expect Corbett to be re-elected.

“Likely voters have a poor impression of Gov. Corbett overall, across many demographic categories. The governor has even lost a segment of Republican voters too — while 49 percent of Republican likely voters have a good impression of the governor, 36 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable impression,”  Robert Morris political scientist Philip Harold said in a statement.

An open-ended question asked respondents their reason for their impression of Corbett.  When Republican likely voters were asked why they have an unfavorable impression of Corbett, they tended to respond that his record of accomplishments disappointed them, that they expected more from him and that Pennsylvania is not better off now as a result of his leadership.

“Even those voters who favor the governor gave responses that were not enthusiastic, but rather saying that he is doing the best he can do under the circumstances, that he is trying to hold the line on spending, and that he is better than the alternative,” Harold said.

On the question of marijuana, the poll found that a majority of Pennsylvanians, 56.1 percent,  support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

The poll was sponsored by Trib Total Media.

– John Guerriero

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 5th, 2014
Rob McCord/ETN file photo

Rob McCord/ETN file photo

In case you missed it, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord said he would boost the state’s minimum wage if he’s elected governor.

McCord, one of seven Democrats seeking his party’s nomination in the May 20 primary, pledged to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.70 in his first year in office.

“Today, too many Pennsylvanians are working twice as hard to get half as far,” McCord said in a statement.

“I know what it’s like to suffer from wage insecurity because my mom lived through it. A family that works hard and plays by the rules should not be living in poverty. That’s why my minimum wage proposal lifts more than 16,000 working families out of poverty my first year in office. It also gives our state’s sputtering economy a shot in the arm by increasing the purchasing power of thousands of families across the Commonwealth and reducing the number of Pennsylvanians relying on government assistance,” he said.

McCord’s plan would: Immediately increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.70 in 2015, with an annual increase of 10 cents through 2024; raise the tipped minimum wage from $2.83 to $5 in 2015, with 10 cent increases for the first 10 years; keep a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for student employees; and set annual increases, based on the rate of inflation, to the minimum wage, tipped minimum wage, and student minimum wage rates.

– John Guerriero

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 3rd, 2014
Dan LaVallee/contributed photo

Dan LaVallee/contributed photo

Congressional candidate Dan LaVallee today received an endorsement from Steamfitters Local No. 449 and its nearly 1,500 members.

LaVallee, 26, of Cranberry Township, Butler County, is a Democrat running for his party’s nomination in the 3rd District, which includes the city of Erie and western Erie County.

He is the only Democrat in the race. If no one else files nomination petitions by March 11, he would oppose U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-3rd Dist., in the Nov. 4 election.

“The working families of northwestern Pennsylvania have gone without a voice for far too long, and having the Steamfitters Local No. 449 endorsement is the first step in ensuring we are heard,” LaVallee said in a statement.

Ken Broadbent, business agent of Steamfitters Local No. 449, said in a statement: “The real issues are the lack of jobs and increasing the minimum wage, and Dan is the guy who can rally the people and get them to vote. This is an opportunity: Dan is energetic, he’s passionate, he thinks the right way and he’s working hard.”

– John Guerriero

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 3rd, 2014
John Hanger/ETN file photo

John Hanger/ETN file photo

Tom Wolf is leading recent polls for the Democratic nomination for governor, but John Hanger scored a victory over the weekend.

Hanger, a former state environmental protection department secretary, received the most votes for governor in a straw poll following a debate hosted by Keystone Progress in Harrisburg. The liberal group hosted 800 progressive activists over the weekend at the Pennsylvania Progressive Summit.

“This is a very important victory. The more than 700 people attending the Progressive Summit represent the conscience of the Democratic Party and the heart of its activist community,” Hanger said in a statement.

Hanger had 31.5 percent of the vote. Here are the other results: state Treasurer Rob McCord, 24 percent; Wolf, the former state revenue department secretary, 22.8 percent; former state environmental protection department secretary Katie McGinty; Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, 9.4 percent; Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, 0.4 percent; former state auditor general Jack Wagner, 0.1 percent; none of the above, 0.7 percent.

A total of 267 votes were cast.

The winner of the May 20 primary will take on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the Nov. 4 election.

For lieutenant governor, on the Democratic side, Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski got the most votes. He received 59.7 percent of the vote. Jay Paterno, son of the late football coach Joe Paterno, finished last in the straw poll, with 0.6 percent.

– John Guerriero

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 28th, 2014
Tom Wolf/AP file photo

Tom Wolf/AP file photo

Tom Wolf is among the mentions.  Check it out here.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

–Kevin Flowers

Posted in: Uncategorized

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