Exclusive: Solobay Joins Gov-Stakes

Solobay (left) with prospective opponent Joe Sestak. Source: Solobay Facebook page

Add another name to the ever-growing list of prospective Democratic candidates for Governor: state Sen. Tim Solobay of Washington County.

According to four Democratic sources, including two who have spoken with Solobay, he’s floating his name for the office.

Several calls to Solobay and his office were not returned Tuesday.

The southwestern Pa. native who served in the state House for 10 years before his 2010 election to the Senate joins about 15 other Democrats who have floated their names for Governor.

Among Tom Corbett’s prospective challengers are Pa. Treasurer Rob McCord, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, businessman Tom Knox and more. Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger is already officially in the race. His Senate colleague Mike Stack of Philadelphia is also mulling a bid.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak is also a possible candidate and even U.S. Sen. Bob Casey hasn’t ruled it out.

What’s Solobay’s advantage in such a large field? Geography.

Almost every other candidate is from eastern Pa. In fact, only three live west of the Susquehanna River including one in Cumberland and another in York County. Just one – Dahlkemper, of Erie – lives in western Pa.

Solobay could have a built-in fundraising base (in a primary, if not a general). He is extremely well regarded by the natural gas drilling companies whose executives have contributed substantially to Pa. campaigns in recent years. He has voted in line with Republicans on most Marcellus issues.

The green lines denote Solobay’s current district; pink marks his proposed new district. Source: redistricting.state.pa.us

That said, one Democrat who’d heard of Solobay’s intentions said she believed he actually has his eyes on the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

On the Republican side, Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor said he is considering a primary challenge to Corbett.

A Solobay candidacy would have the adverse impact for Democrats of risking a seat in the state Senate. His party’s hopes to push for a majority in that chamber would be diminished in the event of an open Democratic seat in trending-red southwestern Pa.

Prior to his election to the state House Solobay, 56, served as a constable for 16 years. He was previously a radiographer at two local hospitals.

He’s a volunteer firefighter and in 2010 earned headlines when he fought off four muggers in Harrisburg.

17 thoughts on “Exclusive: Solobay Joins Gov-Stakes

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  2. I’ve known Tim since our High School days. I have always thought of him as an upstanding guy. I have however heard some VERY unflattering things about him as well… Some that may be federal offenses. If there is evidence to implicate him, I am sure it will be produced and just punishment handed out. I do know for a fact that he is VERY opposed to VOTER ID. That singular issue pegs him as Liberal in my opinion.

  3. Oh, hell no, not Solobay. When it comes to actually doing any work for his constituents, he’s worse than useless. Just ask him what he does for people in the Mon Valley suffering from mine subsidence damage.

  4. Those catchy “Can I help you chew your food? Can I help you wipe Your butt?” radio ads by the D Caucus will serve as quite a launchpad to the Solobay Juggernaut. Stay tuned.

  5. Agree with Square Chick

    Dems will NOT win with another conservative Republican-lite candidate from the southwest like Onorato, Solobay, et.al.

  6. Neither of the guys in that picture will be on the ticket. I’ll say it again – if Dems want to win, they should support a ticket with McCord for Governor and Dahlkemper for Lt. Governor.

  7. TNardi

    I supported Wagner, not Dan the Tax Man. I agree.. not onorato, he was horrible candidate. We need someone that can woo the southeast as opposed to being a solely regional candidate; but be someone who can be competitive (and marketable) in the rest of the state… which yes, includes alot of the Reagan democrats in the southwest.

  8. Aside from the womanizing, Solobay is involved in some shady real estate dealings, using taxpayer dollars to pay the mortgage on a house he owns in Harrisburg. He’s exactly what we DON’T need.

  9. Tim is a good guy. If we get stuck w someone too liberal from the southeast it’ll be the southeast dems vs the rest of the state.

  10. I’ll pass on another western PA candidate. Let me guess, NRA member, “sanctity of life,” fiscal responsibility.

    How’s this different from another four years of Corbett, again?

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