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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Posts tagged ‘Jo Ellen Litz’
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 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 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 24th, 2014
Max Myers, ETN file photo

Max Myers, ETN file photo

And then there were seven.

Max Myers, the longshot Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania governor, has withdrawn from the race, reducing the field of Democrats by one.

“The logistical and financial challenges of moving my campaign forward have become too great to overcome,” Myers said in a statement.

Myers, a Pentecostal minister from Mechanicsburg, focused attention on the plight of the poor during his campaign. Myers’ campaign said his goal was both to improve public understanding about poverty and to engage people in using their talents to help everyone in their communities prosper.

Myers said he also was the only candidate to propose: A moratorium on fracking until gas extraction could be done safely; a commission to examine state government and make it more representative of the needs of ordinary citizens; a unique solution to the pension crisis with a financial transaction tax that allows large and permanent property tax cuts by school districts.

“I hope that these ideas, now planted in the soil of political discourse, will grow among the remaining candidates,” Myers said.

As part of his announcement tour, Myers campaigned in Erie in March 2013.  

Myers said he does not plan to run for public office again but plans to stay involved in public issues as opportunities arise. “May we never lose hope that it is possible to create a better Pennsylvania,” he said.

The remaining Democratic candidates are: Katie McGinty and John Hanger, former state environmental protection secretaries; Tom Wolf, former revenue department secretary; 13th District U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; state Treasurer Rob McCord; former state Auditor General Jack Wagner; and Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.

They are trying to unseat Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who is seeking a second term.

– John Guerriero




Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 29th, 2014

Pennsylvania political analysts Terry Madonna and Michael Young have presented a case for a path to victory  in the 2014 state Democratic gubernatorial primary.

As many as eight Democrats could be on the May 20 ballot, with the winner advancing to face Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

Their full column, called “Politically Uncorrected,” can be found at

Madonna and Young list five key factors, including campaign cash, political geography, few issues separating the Democratic candidates, the risks of negative advertising, and gender. As many as three women could be on the ballot: Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz,  former state environmental protection Secretary Katie McGinty and Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.

The other Democrats are:  former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, former state environmental protection Secretary John Hanger, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Pentecostal minister Max Myers.

The analysts said any serious candidate will have to spend at least $5 million and the winner will spend $10 million or more. “Politics these days is many things — but one thing it is not, is cheap,” they wrote.

– John Guerriero


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 15th, 2013

There’s a reason that Gov. Tom Corbett specifically targeted U.S.  Rep. Allyson Schwartz for criticism during his campaign visit to Erie this week.

It’s early in the campaign, but Schwartz is one of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination and the right to oppose Corbett on Nov. 4, 2014.

Allyson Schwartz/AP file photo

Allyson Schwartz/AP file photo

Harper Polling, a firm founded by Brock McCleary, formerly with the National Republican Congressional Committee, put out a new poll showing Schwartz, of Montgomery County, D-13th Dist., with 22 percent of the vote. Rival Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary, was closest with 15 percent.

State Treasurer Rob McCord had 12 percent; John Hanger, former state environmental protection secretary, had 7 percent; Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski had 6 percent; and Tom Wolf, former Revenue Department secretary, had 5 percent.

Read the full poll here.

Two other candidates, May Myers, a former pastor from Mechanicsburg, and Jo Ellen Litz, a Lebanon County commissioner, were not included in the poll.

However, the poll of 649 Democrats likely to vote in the primary also showed that 34 percent weren’t sure who to pick, indicating the race is still wide open.

The poll was conducted Nov. 9-10.

– John Guerriero



Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 13th, 2013

Former  Gov. Ed Rendell cleared up any ambiguity about who he might be endorsing in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary: No one.

Ed Rendell/ETN file photo

Ed Rendell/ETN file photo

Rendell held a news conference and issued a news release to say he’s staying neutral.

Rendell said in a statement that speculation appeared to arise because he will be the co-chairman Monday of a fundraiser for Emily’s List, a national group dedicated to electing more women to political office.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, of Philadelphia, has been endorsed by Emily’s List and will speak at the event, Rendell said.

The money raised at the event does not go to the Schwartz campaign, but will be used to elect women candidates nationwide, he said.

Rendell said he has a high regard for Schwartz, as well as what he called the other five candidates in the race: Katie McGinty and John Hanger, former secretaries of the state Department of Environmental Protection; former state revenue secretary Tom  Wolf; Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski; and state Treasurer Rob McCord.

McGinty, Hanger and Wolf all served in Rendell’s administration, and the former governor said that choosing one of them “would be like asking a father to pick his favorite of three children.”

Rendell said that McCord and Pawlowski – who brings his campaign to Erie today — also would make “good candidates and fine governors.”

Rendell didn’t mention at least two other candidates in the race, Max Myers and Jo Ellen Litz.

The winner will advance and face Gov. Tom Corbett in the November 2014 election.

– John Guerriero


Posted in: Uncategorized