Governing Magazine Ranks Corbett “Potentially Vulnerable”
Here’s the write up from Governing Magazine’s Lou Jacobson (who also contributed to PoliticsPA):
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R)
Control of the Pennsylvania governorship has shifted between the two parties like clockwork every eight years since World War II, and no Keystone State governor has lost reelection since 1970, when the state’s governors were first allowed to run for a second term. If Corbett were to lose in 2014, it would break both of these ironclad patterns — but his chances of losing currently seem higher than they were for recent incumbent governors. Corbett is not considered an especially good salesman for his agenda, which tends toward small government. He has also irked educators more than his Republican predecessors have, and his party controls the Legislature, reinforcing a policy agenda that’s ideologically to the right of many voters in this blue-leaning state. Corbett, already saddled by the recession and budget challenges, will also need to defend his handling of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal while he was attorney general, a line of inquiry that will be pushed by an ambitious, newly elected Democratic AG, Kathleen Kane. For the moment, Corbett’s ratings are up modestly, due to his response to Hurricane Sandy — 40 percent approval, 38 percent disapproval in a November Quinnipiac poll, compared to 28 percent approval in an August Franklin & Marshall poll. But the bump may not be enough to scare off credible Democratic challengers. Former state environmental protection Secretary John Hanger became the first to officially join the race, but other potential candidates have higher name recognition, including state Treasurer Rob McCord and former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who narrowly lost a Senate race to Republican Pat Toomey in 2010. U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz would be a strong contender and has been making some moves that suggest she’s thinking about it; another possibility is Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro. Meanwhile, Corbett could be vulnerable to a primary challenge. Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor is publicly mulling a bid, and a self-funding candidate to Corbett’s right — such as Tom Smith, who just lost a U.S. Senate race to incumbent Democrat Bob Casey Jr. — could pose problems for the incumbent as well.