May the Schwartz Be With You

Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa. speaks after a round table discussion with Vice President Joe Biden on gun control, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, at Girard College in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
National Journal
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Aug. 29, 2013, 5:21 a.m.

A new poll con­firms that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) faces huge hurdles in win­ning a second term. But Demo­crats are far from united on who they should nom­in­ate to face him. Rep. Allyson Schwartz‘s sup­port­ers hoped that an in­tim­id­at­ing warchest and two leaked polls would es­tab­lish an air of in­ev­it­ab­il­ity around her cam­paign. Months later, the out­come of the Demo­crat­ic primary is far from cer­tain.

— Sev­er­al rival Demo­crats loom as po­ten­tial road­b­locks to Schwartz’s nom­in­a­tion. Busi­ness­man Tom Wolf has pledged to spend $10 mil­lion on his cam­paign. Treas­urer Rob Mc­Cord, with two statewide wins un­der his belt, is ex­pec­ted to jump in next month. And former De­part­ment of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Sec­ret­ary Katie Mc­Ginty has as­sembled a top-shelf cam­paign team, at­trac­ted in­flu­en­tial labor sup­port­ers and gen­er­ated buzz in Demo­crat­ic circles. Ex-state Aud­it­or Gen­er­al Jack Wag­n­er may run, and could ap­peal to mod­er­ates and voters in west­ern PA.

— Schwartz also has faced sev­er­al rounds of spec­u­la­tion about a late entry from At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Kath­leen Kane, the hot­test com­mod­ity in the state Demo­crat­ic Party. While Kane has said she won’t run, linger­ing spec­u­la­tion about an­oth­er heavy­weight en­ter­ing the race nor­mally doesn’t oc­cur when a field already con­tains an over­whelm­ing fa­vor­ite.

— Schwartz’s cam­paign re­leased an in­tern­al last week show­ing her with a lar­ger primary lead than pub­lic polls have shown. But rivals say Schwartz’s huge ad­vant­age in the Philly mar­ket is due to a head start in name re­cog­ni­tion, and they ques­tion her ap­peal in the west­ern half of the state.

Schwartz wants po­ten­tial donors, her fel­low can­did­ates and re­port­ers to think that her primary vic­tory is all but as­sured. Her op­pon­ents don’t buy it. Corbett, for now, is happy to sit back and watch the Demo­crats fight it out.
Kev­in Bren­nan

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