After several months of hinting, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Governor.
“This is not a decision that was easily made,” Pawlowski said. “But as mayor of the third-largest city in the state and president of the Pennsylvania Municipal League, I have seen first-hand the damage that has been done to our Commonwealth over the past four years under the current Administration.”
He officially announced the decision on MSNBC Sunday morning and will hold a campaign kickoff rally for Monday at 9:30 a.m. at 7th and Hamilton streets in Allentown.
Pawlowski was first elected mayor in 2005 and won both the Democratic and GOP nominations this year. He is facing one independent challenger, former Councilman Michael Donovan.
He has been attending Democratic party functions around the state for months and set up a PAC earlier this year with a focus on statewide issues.
His entrance in the race makes him the first gubernatorial candidate from the Lehigh Valley and one of many from eastern Pa.
His campaign announcement boasts that, “During the eight years since Pawlowski took office, Allentown has reversed an $8 million budget deficit, added 80 officers to its police force and reduced crime almost 30 percent, implemented a variety of neighborhood improvement projects that have helped restore vacant or deteriorating properties, and worked with local, state and federal officials to revitalize a downtown core once devastated by the loss of major retailers and locally owned businesses.”
Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz leads the gubernatorial pack, which also includes former Pa. DEP Secretaries. Katie McGinty and John Hanger, former Pa. Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz and others.
State Treasurer Rob McCord has not yet declared his candidacy, though he is widely expected to do so soon. Former Auditor General Jack Wagner is also exploring a run, and would be the only candidate who resides west of the Susquehanna river valley.
The latest public poll of the Democratic primary, from Quinnipiac in early June, showed Pawlowski with 1% of the vote.
Pawlowski, 48, lives in Allentown with his wife and two children.
Update: The campaign has released the schedule for its kick-off tour which is included below:
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who is overseeing the renaissance that has transformed Pennsylvania’s third-largest city over the past eight years, will kick off a tour around the state to discuss his candidacy for Governor of the State of Pennsylvania in 2014.
He will begin his tour tomorrow morning in Allentown, then visit the state capitol in Harrisburg, and end the day with a stop in front of City Hall in Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, Sept. 10 will visit Reading, Lancaster and York.
On Thursday, Sept. 12 he is scheduled to visit State College, Pittsburgh and Butler.
He is also scheduled to make stops in Farrell in Mercer County, Erie, Clarion, Ridgway in Elk County, Wellsboro in Tioga County, Towanda in Bradford County, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Carbon County, Northampton, Bucks and Chester Counties, and Norristown in Bucks County.
In all, Pawlowski will visit 23 counties across the state in just nine days.