The wide field of potential Democratic candidates for Governor just grew by one. Kathleen McGinty, the former Pa. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and a Clinton administration alum will form an exploratory committee this week, PoliticsPA has learned.
According to a document obtained by PoliticsPA (below), McGinty wants to be able to collect contributions as she weighs a possible campaign.
Her name has been floated for months among some Democratic politicos, several of whom told PoliticsPA that McGinty has called them in recent weeks to solicit support.
PoliticsPA was unable to reach McGinty for comment, but a source close to her confirmed that she is seriously exploring a bid.
“She wouldn’t be in this if she didn’t think she was the strongest candidate,” said the source. “A centrist, pro-jobs, pro-growth, and pro-environment Democrat is a winning combination and that’s what she brings to the table.”
“Plus she has proven executive experience, she’s shown she knows how to run complex organizations.”
The source confirmed that McGinty filed to form the committee Monday, saying she is eager to have a destination for the roughly $1 million in preliminary fundraising commitments she has collected to date.
McGinty filed the paperwork with the Pa. Department of State on Monday. It will be official upon the department’s approval.
A Senate advisor to Al Gore, McGinty rose to become the Chairperson of the Council on Environmental Quality for the Bill Clinton administration from 1995 to 1998. Rendell tapped her as DEP Secretary from 2003 to 2008.
McGinty, 49 and a northeast Philly native, lives in Wayne in Chester County with her husband Karl Hausker (who is listed as the chairman of the exploratory committee). He has a PhD in economics. The couple has three daughters.
Following her tenure at the DEP, McGinty began to work for Weston Solutions, where according to her bio she is, “remediating and redeveloping marginalized properties and by optimizing or repurposing assets. She is working to identify, finance and build clean energy projects, grow our strategic sustainability services and develop innovative clean water investments.”
If she gets in, she won’t be the only Rendell alum – not even the only former DEP Secretary. Her successor, John Hanger, announced his candidacy late last year. Former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf has also said he is likely to run.
She would complicate an already busy field of potential challengers to Gov. Tom Corbett.
The top tier on the Democratic side comprises Pa. Treasurer Rob McCord and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, both of whom have signalled their intent to run. Former Congressman Joe Sestak would also be formidable.
2 Democrats who said they’d received calls from Schwartz and McGinty told PoliticsPA that Schwartz, formerly the recruitment chair for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was trying to encourage McGinty to challenge Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) instead.
But the source close to McGinty said Congress was not on the table.
“She’s exploring a bid for Governor and that’s the only office she’s exploring.”
Though McGinty has not held public office, she could prove to be a potent fundraiser – thanks in no small part to her thick rolodex of Clinton, Rendell, and private sector contacts.
McGinty or Wolf would be most likely to enjoy the benefits of the remaining Rendell fundraising network, said one source close to the former Governor.
“If Tom Wolf or Katie McGinty gets in, he will turn on the Philadelphia spigot. He won’t turn on the Philadelphia spigot for Rob or Allyson,” said the source during the winter meeting of the Democratic State Committee.
Given, Corbett’s consistent polling gap among women, many have argued that a female candidate would provide the starkest contrast for Democrats. For the few weeks since former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper announced she would skip Guv to run for Erie County Executive, Schwartz was the only woman in the running.
Hanger and Cumberland County minister Max Myers are the only declared Democrats so far. Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor has floated the possibility of a GOP challenge.