Conservative Activist Mounts Primary Challenge to Corbett
Angry with Tom Corbett’s record, activist Bob Guzzardi is mounting a primary challenge to the Governor.
“I would like to know if you think it feasible that you could get 250 signatures in your county to put my name on the Republican Primary Ballot as a challenger to Tom Corbett,” Guzzardi wrote in an email to Republican activists this week.
Guzzardi, 69, resides in Ardmore, Montgomery County. The longtime politico is an attorney and businessman who made his living in real estate. He advocates for lower taxes and is staunchly pro-Israel.
He cited Corbett’s support for the recently passed transportation funding bill, which removed the cap on the Oil Company Franchise Tax. Consumers are expected to pay 28 cents more per gallon for gasoline once the law is fully phased in.
“Why would you want to be complicit in the nomination of a Promise Breaker to represent you? This is a moment,” Guzzardi wrote.
“The polls tell us that Tom Corbett is very likely to lose and not likely to get better with the Corbett Gas Tax.”
Following the legislative pay raise vote in 2005, Guzzardi stepped up his efforts to reform the Republican party. He’s contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Republican primary challengers and over the past decade, including notably state Sens. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon).
He also funded Democrats who ran against Republicans he thought were undermining conservative principles, including Brendan Boyle against former House Speaker John Perzel.
Guzzardi is a frequent commenter on PoliticsPA.
The Corbett campaign had not yet responded to the primary challenge as of 10:30am.
For months, driven by poor poll numbers and a belief that the Governor has not sufficiently pursued a conservative agenda (particularly on labor issues), activists have floated the possibility of a primary challenge. Names like Senator Pat Toomey, Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor and York County businessman Scott Wagner entered the conversation.
Guzzardi’s challenge has a silver lining for Corbett. It means that conservatives critical of Corbett were unable to recruit a notable public figure into the race.
Toomey categorically ruled out a primary challenge, Castor considered a bid but ultimately declined and Wagner opted for a run for state Senate.
Meanwhile, Corbett remained firm in his determination to seek a second term.
Guzzardi acknowledged his long odds.
“Winning is unrealistic,” he said. Instead, he wants to send a message.
“My goal is to mobilize a disaffect grassroots, the Forgotten Taxpayers, who are forced to fund Unions and Government Contractors and Vendors.”
He said that a primary challenge may even benefit Corbett in the long run.
“A challenge to Tom Corbett by The Forgotten Taxpayer and Constitutional Republican will demonstrate how ‘moderate’ he really is making him more appealing to the General Electorate in November 2014,” he wrote.