PA-Gov: Mayors Endorse McCord

McCord

McCord

Earlier today, 30 mayors from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania announced their united support for State Treasurer Rob McCord in his campaign to become governor.

Even better for McCord, this endorsement will go down in history as the largest, most diverse group of municipal officials support a gubernatorial candidate at once, according to a release from his campaign.

“Today’s announcement is truly humbling and historic,” said McCord. “When such a diverse group of passionate mayors from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania come together in a primary election to support one candidate, you know something important is happening. And it is, because together we’re going to invest in our classrooms, stop the natural gas drillers from taking our natural resources for pennies on the dollar, and raise the minimum wage. But most importantly, we’re going to defeat and evict Tom Corbett.”

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Mayor of Allentown Ed Pawlowski was one of the 30 who threw his weight behind McCord.

“No one in this race is standing up for working families like Rob McCord and no one in this race has had the courage to make the bold proposals that Rob McCord has,” said Pawlowski, also the acting Chair of Mayors for McCord. “Rob is hands down the only one who can beat Tom Corbett, and as the mayor of the third largest city in the commonwealth and the Chair of Mayors for McCord, it’s exciting to be part of this historic day and help Rob win the primary in May.”

Pawlowski dropped out of the Democratic primary race in early February due to the difficulties of running a city and a gubernatorial campaign at the same time. At that point, the Allentown mayor had announced his full support for McCord.

In addition to Mayors for McCord, the gubernatorial candidate has a wide range of endorsements to carry with him into the primary month. This includes six current and former state senators, 25 current and former state representatives, 27 of 67 Democratic county chairs, and roughly 455,000 current and retired union members. The unions include the Laborers’ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association.

The list of mayors endorsing McCord is as follows, straight from the press release:

Mayor City/Town County
Angela Adkins Midland Borough Beaver
John Antoline Monaca Borough Beaver
Ed Burns Girardville Schuylkill
Kenneth Cecconi Homer City Borough Indiana
Dennis Clawson Clymer Borough Indiana
Ronald Evanko Blairsville Indiana
Adam Forgie Turtle Creek Allegheny
Tom Grady Narberth Borough Montgomery
Edward Hozza, Jr. Whitehall Township Lehigh
Frank Janakovic Johnstown Cambria
Dan Lello Dupont Luzerne
Anthony Mastrangelo New Castle Lawrence
Sal Panto Easton Northampton
Ed Pawlowski Allentown Lehigh
Nancy Petritsch Mahanoy City Schuylkill
David Poling Economy Borough Beaver
George Quay III Beaver Falls Beaver
Wayne Quick Hughestown Luzerne
Thomas Reenock Northampton Borough Northampton
David Rhome Canonsburg Borough Washington
Tim Scott Carlisle Borough Cumberland
Joseph Sinnott Erie Erie
Rick Smith Borough of New Brighton Beaver
Vaughn Spencer Reading Berks
John Szczyglak Shenandoah Schuylkill
Vincent Tozzi Yatesville Borough Luzerne
Donald Wachter Big Beaver Borough Beaver
Anthony Weaver McSherrystown Adams
Richie Wiaterowski Nanticoke Luzerne
Nicholas Yanosich Industry Beaver

Also in the running for the state governor Democratic primary are former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty.

Lt. Gov.: Neuman Wins The West

Rep. Neuman

Rep. Neuman

If you’re still wondering how the west was won, ask State Rep. Brandon Neuman (D-Washington).

Last week, Neuman unveiled a slew of Northwest PA endorsements from elected officials, and this week, he wrangled in another handful from the Pittsburgh area.

The latest endorsers include Pa. Rep. Pam Snyder (D-50th), Frank Dermody (Pa. House Minority Leader), Paul Costa, Dom Costa, Dan Deasy, Tony Deluca, Dan Frankel, Bill Kortz, Nick Kotik, Joe Markosek and Rob Matzie.

“Representative Neuman is one of the brightest people in the House and he has a big impact on legislation that affects people,” said Rep. Frank Dermody. “He’s a forceful advocate for better protection of vulnerable children and care-dependent seniors. Brandon Neuman is an engaging person who brings energy and deep intelligence to everything he does.”

“Among the greatest compliments that a public servant can receive is being acknowledged by your peers for your efforts and performance,” Neuman responded. “I am very grateful for their confidence in me.”

His Erie area support comes from PA lawmakers Reps. Ryan Bizzarro of Millcreek, Patrick Harkins of Erie, and Flo Fabrizio, also of Erie, have pledged their support to their colleague Neuman. Several other Erie County Dems have thrown their support behind Neuman, including Erie City Councilman Bob Merski, Erie County Councilmen Jay Breneman, Phil Fatica and Andre Horton, and former Erie County Councilwoman Joy Greco, who is also an elected Millcreek Township auditor.

Neuman is one of two Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor from Western PA; the other being former Congressman Mark Critz. But despite running multi-million dollar campaigns in the region, Critz is being outpaced in fundraising and endorsements by the young State Rep.

Also running for the Democratic nomination are Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski, State Senator Mike Stack and Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith.

PA-Gov: Schwartz Doubles Down on ACA Support

schwartz aca adAllyson Schwartz wants everyone to know she supports the Affordable Care Act; she also wants everyone to ask Tom Wolf whether he does too.

The Congresswoman and candidate for Governor held a conference call with reporters this afternoon to further emphasize the campaign’s recent push on her work on, and support for, the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m here to talk about how proud I am of this accomplishment,” she stated in her opening remarks. “I’m very proud of my work on the Affordable Care Act. I’m proud of my work helping to write this law, I’m proud to run on it and we should all be proud of it.”

The Congresswoman specifically mentioned working on the provisions to close the Medicare donut hole for seniors and to ensure children can not be dropped from their health plans because of pre-existing conditions.

She also called out her Democratic opponents, especially front-runner Tom Wolf, to join her.

“Tom Wolf has been a little evasive in expressing his support of the law,” she said at one point.

When read Wolf’s statement to the York Daily Record that he felt the law was a “step in the right direction” Schwartz responded incredulously.

“I don’t know what that means? What does [that] mean?”

When asked by PoliticsPA whether she was afraid her strong support of the law would hurt her in a general election, Schwartz dismissed the criticism.

“I will go toe-to-toe with Tom Corbett on this issue,” she said.

When asked if she he felt she could turn this issue into a winner in the fall, the Congresswoman made her feelings clear.

“Of course!” she responded. “You have 500,000 people who won’t get health insurance,” she said in reference to Corbett’s refusal to not fully accept the Medicaid expansion. Schwartz asserted that this stance would shortchange Pennsylvanians and that she would win this fight with Governor Corbett if given the chance.

In addition to slamming Schwartz in their statement, Corbett’s campaign took this opportunity to hit Wolf as well.

“Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz is the only Democrat brave enough to run on President Obama’s failed policies and the ObamaCare disaster she helped to write. We already know they all want to expand ObamaCare’s grasp in Pennsylvania, but we agree that our opponents should speak up and join her in proudly voicing their support for this disastrous legislation,” Corbett’s campaign manager Mike Barley said.

“Again, here is another example of where Secretary Tom Wolf has been elusive.  Why is Wolf afraid to deliver straight answers on simple questions? If he  really supports ObamaCare, he should come out and let Pennsylvanians know where he stands.  Who is the real Tom Wolf?”

According to Wolf’s campaign, these accusations are unfounded.

“Tom’s record in support of the Affordable Care Act has been clear and unambiguous,” Wolf spokesman Mark Nicastre said. “Tom Wolf would expand Medicaid, institute a state level exchange, and work toward universal, quality access to health care for Pennsylvanians. It’s unfortunate and disappointing that Allyson Schwartz would play politics on this given her own record of zig zagging.”
Tom has been clear on his support for the Affordable Care Act since the start of the campaign,” Nicastre finished, and provided the following citations.
April 2, 2013 – Patriot News: “As for boilerplate issues, Wolf fits firmly in the Democratic Party establishment. He’s for marriage equality, is pro-choice, backs “reasonable” gun-control laws, and favors Obamacare.”
November 21, 2013 – York Daily Record: Tom Wolf: A better insurance plan for Pa. (column)
February 28, 2014: Tom Talking About Obamacare at the Progressive Summit Debate

Lt. Gov.: National Organization for Women Endorses Koplinski

Koplinski

Koplinski

The National Organization for Women endorsed Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski in the race for Lieutenant Governor.

“For many years, Brad Koplinski has been committed to not only women’s rights and Choice, but social and economic justice as well. He is a Progressive leader and will be a great partner for the head of the ticket that takes on Governor Corbett in November,” Caryn Hunt, President of Pennsylvania NOW said.

“I am extremely pleased and honored to receive the endorsement of NOW. For decades, it has consistently fought for Progressive ideals and ideas and has changed America for the better,” Koplinski said. “I look forward to working with them as we both fight for equal pay, marriage equality, reproductive rights, greater diversity and understanding, a living wage and other vital issues in Pennsylvania.”

NOW was founded in 1966 and is one of the largest organization of its kind with 19 chapters across Pennsylvania. PA NOW also endorsed Shaughnessy Naughton in PA-8 and Billy Smith in HD-164 in their Democratic primaries.

Also running for Lt Gov are Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith, former Congressman Mark Critz, State Rep. Brandon Neuman and State Senator Mike Stack.

Stack and Koplinski appear to be trading socially progressive endorsements as last week, Stack racked up the support of three LGBT organizations in the state.

PA-Gov: Corbett Campaign Pushes For Opponents to Reveal Tax Returns

tax returnsAfter releasing 10 years of his own tax returns, Governor Tom Corbett’s campaign pushed his Democratic opponents to follow suit.

In a press release, Corbett’s campaign manager Mike Barley pointed to Democratic support of the action.

PA Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn and former Governor Ed Rendell both called for Mitt Romney to release his tax returns in 2012.

“Mitt Romney continues to betray the American people and his refusal to release his tax returns and give straight answers about his role at Bain Capital and his offshore bank accounts, makes people wonder what more is he hiding? Mitt Romney should take Rick Santorum’s advice and come clean to the American people,” stated Burn in 2012.

And now the Corbett campaign applies Burn’s argument to Corbett’s prospective opponents, particularly former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf.

“Like Democratic Chairman Jim Burn, we believe that the Democratic candidates for Governor continue to betray the Pennsylvania people for refusing to publicly release their tax returns,” stated Barley.  “Specifically, as it relates to Secretary Tom Wolf, he continues to betray the people of Pennsylvania for refusing to give straight answers about his role at Wolf Organization when Pennsylvania taxpayers lost millions, and it makes us wonder, what more is he hiding?  The Democratic candidates should take Democratic Chairman Jim Burn’s advice and come clean to the Pennsylvania people.”

“Governor Rendell and the Democratic Party beat up Mitt Romney for paying a 14 percent tax rate, so I would only expect that they would join us in criticizing millionaire Secretary Tom Wolf for paying nearly half of that,” added Barley.  “How did he get to that tax rate?  The people of Pennsylvania deserve to know who the real Tom Wolf is and that will require him to be open and transparent about his campaign loans and questionable business practices.”

Last week, Wolf released his tax return, showing $2.2 million in income in 2012. He also released the terms of the $4 million loan he took out to partially finance his campaign.

Former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty, State Treasurer Rob McCord and Rep. Allyson Schwartz also released their returns from 2012.

At this point, Republican challenger to Governor Tom Corbett is refusing to release his returns.

PA-Gov: Schwartz Appears on MSNBC With New ACA Ad

Gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz led “The Last Word” on MSNBC on Monday night to promote her latest ad, a pro-ACA spot.

“I worked with President Obama on the Affordable Care Act and getting health care coverage to all Americans. It was my legislation that said insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions,” Schwartz narrates in the ad.

“Tom Corbett has decided not to take the Medicaid money, as governor, I will take the Medicaid expansion because 500,000 Pennsylvanians need health coverage,” she continues. “That’s exactly the kind of leadership I will bring as your next Governor.”

Throughout the spot, the Congresswoman highlights her connection with the President, including showing signed photographs of the two of them together and footage of Rep. Schwartz and President Obama descending the stairs of Air Force One.

schwartz aca adThe ad will begin running in Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning.

Ari Melber filled in for Lawrence O’Donnell on the show and interviewed Schwartz after the preview of the ad.

“It’s simply wrong to have a governor who’s refusing to use this tool to give Pennsylvania the health care that they need,” Schwartz said in the interview.

59% of Pennsylvanians support Medicaid expansion according to Public Policy Polling on a map shown during the spot.

Schwartz shared anecdotes of ACA success stories, including a woman she met on the campaign trail named Christine who was just diagnosed with breast cancer but can no longer lose her coverage thanks to the law.

At the end of the interview, Melber also asked if Schwartz would welcome the President to campaign for her. Schwartz answered that she would love to have the President appear with her, both before the primary and ahead of the general election.

The candidate’s embrace of the President is a calculated risk as she trails former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf with a month to go. President Obama’s approval in the commonwealth has been dropping steadily the last few months yet he’s still popular with Democrats.

Also in the primary, she faces State Treasurer Rob McCord and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty.

After the major unveiling of the ad, Corbett reelection campaign manager Mike Barley released the following statement.

“Despite cancelled policies, skyrocketing premiums, lost doctors and jobs, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has turned her back on Pennsylvania for good,” said Barley. “Congresswoman Schwartz has embraced an extreme liberal agenda in Washington, DC and the disastrous healthcare takeover she helped to write and force upon hardworking Pennsylvanians. Now Congresswoman Schwartz hopes to bring those failed budget-busting Obama policies to Harrisburg, proving just how out of touch she is with the people of Pennsylvania.”

Lt. Gov.: Koplinski Financially Behind Competitors

Koplinski

Koplinski

Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski is the last Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate to have his financial report scrutinized by PoliticsPA — and things are not looking too good for him.

Koplinski finds himself at the bottom of every major financial category when compared to his competitors. He only was able to raise $24,685, he has spent only $12,628, and as far as cash on hand, Koplinski has a mere $28,474. He carried over just $16,418 from last quarter.

To put all this into perspective, State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) has $700,000 in spending money left, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith has $144,319, and State Rep. Brandon Neuman is running two campaigns and was still able to accrue $45,000 for his lt. gov. bid. Former Democratic congressman Mike Critz only has $37,676.13 on hand, but he has also spent much more than Koplinski — $89,602.57 to be exact.

Contributions

Koplinski took in mostly smaller donations, in the $100 to $250 range, but he was also able to reel in some more sizable contributions. In total, $11,800 worth of his fundraising efforts came from donations larger than $250.

One of those larger contributions came from a relative, Charles Koplinski, who donated $500.

Expenditures

Koplinski hasn’t spent much, but what he has spent money on has been printing, office space rent, events, and travel expenses. He is also spending a little on staffers and help.

In addition, the Harrisburg City Councilman took out a loan to the tune of $15,000 to help give his campaign a boost but this was in 2013.

Although financially Koplinski is not measuring up to his fellow candidates, he still has garnered strong support during his campaign. He received the endorsement of the PA Young Democrats and he also received more than 50 percent of the vote from the Democratic state committee. Unfortunately, he was unable to garner an endorsement because he did not reach the needed two-thirds majority.

It is worthwhile to note that in 2010, Scott Conklin was massively outraised by his primary opponents and came out on top.

Sierra Club Bashes Corbett’s DEP Plan (Updated)

Tom-Corbett-upsetOn Saturday Governor Tom Corbett’s Department of Environmental Protection will release a tentative plan to reduce the amount of smog pollution produced by large coal plants. However, the Sierra Club is not impressed with the Governor’s efforts.

“Governor Corbett is clearly unconcerned with protecting the health of millions of Pennsylvanians breathing unhealthy air,” said Tom Schuster, Senior Pennsylvania Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club. “There’s an easy and affordable solution to cut dangerous pollution, but Governor Corbett has ignored it, choosing instead to give the largest polluters a free pass to poison the air we breathe.”

The Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy organization, claims that Corbett’s proposal is “weak” and will inevitably fall short of producing any legitimate cuts to the amount of dangerous smog produced by the coal burning process.

“The proposed pollution limits are actually higher than the current rates of pollution at many plants – as much as four times higher in some cases,” said Kim Teplitzky, Deputy Press Secretary for the Sierra Club. “Failing to require coal plants to use the pollution controls they already have, puts a significantly more expensive burden on other industries that will have to install and operate new controls.”

As Governor, the Sierra Club claims that Corbett is responsible for curbing smog emissions in the state, most pressingly in areas designated as nonattainment under the Clean Air Act — meaning that pollution has caused the air quality to dip below national standards. Seventeen counties in Pennsylvania fall under that category, with most of them located in the southwestern and southeastern portions of the state.

“It’s commonsense to make coal plants use the pollution-cutting technology they already have, yet Governor Corbett’s plan fails to do so,” said Joanne Kilgour, Pennsylvania Chapter Director of the Sierra Club. “Cutting pollution from coal plants is an easy fix that will protect our kids’ lungs, prevent frightening and expensive hospital visits and save lives.”

But Governor Corbett’s administration says that the Sierra Club has been uncooperative in developing this plan.

“Despite offers from us to discuss important environmental issues such as the one below, Sierra Club would rather engage in what is obviously a naked political attack at the governor. In doing so, they demonstrate their complete ignorance on this topic, and substitute it with classless personal attacks,” Deputy Chief of Staff & Energy Executive Patrick Henderson told PoliticsPA. “If the Sierra Club truly cared about improving air quality, they would actually engage in rational and intelligent discussion, not engage in baseless, partisan political attacks from the safety of their keyboards.  They would also acknowledge that, across the board, air emissions are significantly down over the past few years and air quality is significantly better today than a few short years ago.”

“It is also worth noting that, in their hurried effort to attack Gov. Corbett, the Sierra Club is actually maligning the integrity and dedication of DEP’s professional air quality experts who crafted the recent white paper on reducing carbon emissions – and likewise attacking these employees concern with protecting the health of millions of Pennsylvanians,” Henderson continued. “The vast majority of these experts are the same dedicated personnel that worked under the prior Administration, including when Ms. McGinty and Mr. Hanger served as Secretary.”

Update: Sierra Club claims that the Corbett administration has not responded to meeting requests.

“Primarily, contrary to the Corbett admin claims, we have requested meetings several times and submitted extensive comments on the process. All of our meeting requests have been denied, ignored or dismissed for a later date that no one will confirm,” Kim Teplitzky of Sierra Club told PoliticsPA. “Our meeting requests are all documented.”

The DEP even provided PoliticsPA with details of the plan, critiquing some of Sierra Club’s claims.

  1. What is the purpose of the plan?

PA DEP’s proposed rulemaking establishes additional Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) requirements for existing major stationary sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as required under the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). NOX and VOC emissions are the precursors for the formation of ground level ozone (smog). Ground-level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction between VOCs and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the presence of sunlight.

This re-evaluation of RACT is necessary because EPA revised the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards in 1997 and 2008. Compliance with RACT is required statewide in Pennsylvania because the entire Commonwealth is included in the Ozone Transport Region established under CAA.

The proposed regulation would apply Statewide to the owner and operator of a major NOx emitting facility or a major VOC emitting facility, or both, that was in existence on or before July 20, 2012. RACT is defined as: “the lowest emission limitation that a particular source is capable of meeting by the application of control technology that is reasonably available considering technological and economic feasibility.”

  1. Are the new rules more restrictive than previous rules for power plants?

The proposed RACT II NOx emission rates are lower than the current RACT allowable emission rates.

  1. Critics say the proposed control levels won’t require plants to use their already existing smog control devices.

DEP will consider all positions during the public participation process and is also willing to meet with interested parties to discuss their concerns with the proposal. Any changes to the proposed rulemaking will be discussed with advisory committees including the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee prior to submitting the final rulemaking for consideration by the Board.

Significant collateral NOx emission reductions will be realized. As proposed, certain EGU owners and operators will need to optimize their current operations to reduce their allowable NOx emissions in order to comply with a 30-day rolling average NOx limit.

Additional information on the proposal’s timeline:

  • The Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee concurred with the DEP’s recommendation to present the proposal to the Board for consideration on February 14, 2013.

  • The Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) Policy and Regulatory Oversight Committee reviewed the proposal on February 6, 2013. Based on the CAC committee’s recommendation, the full council concurred with DEP’s recommendation to present the proposal to the EQB for consideration.

  • The proposal rulemaking was presented to the Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee on July 24, 2013. The committee concurred with the DEP’s recommendation to present the proposal to the EQB.

According to the Sierra Club’s research, the portions of Pennsylvania most affected by the coal industry also suffer from the highest rate of asthma related hospitalizations.

“Asthma is the most common chronic health condition among children and the third most common reason for hospitalization,” said Dr. Esther K. Chung, Professor of Pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and Nemours. “I see many children with asthma who are unable to play sports or participate in physical activity, and some suffer so severely that they cannot speak and require intensive care at a hospital. Smog contributes to and exacerbates these problems.”

Going forward, this could very well be an issue that one of the four Democratic candidates running for governor will use against Governor Corbett to help their campaigns — especially former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty. Her latest ad touts her experience as a “job-creating environmentalist,” and she has been adamant in her campaign about highlighting the Governor’s shortcomings.

PA-Gov Round-Up: Wolf and McCord Trade Endorsements

PA-Governor-Mansion2The big news this week was the first shot across the bow that was fired by Rob McCord in his latest TV ad against Tom Wolf. While it wasn’t mean or vicious, it still represents the start of a new phase in the campaign.

Therefore, it only makes sense that this week’s round-up of gubernatorial election news would focus on these two candidates. This week we’ll take a look as Wolf and McCord trade political endorsements.

Wolf

Last Saturday, Wolf held a press conference in Lancaster to announce the support of two prominent, local officials. State Rep. Mike Sturla and Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray voiced their support of Wolf’s candidacy and then joined him on a tour of the city’s Central Market.

Turns out this was just the beginning Wolf’s endorsements from lawmakers this week, as on Wednesday he received the support of two more State Representatives, Eddie Day Pashinski and Marty Flynn.

Pashinski is a four-term legislator whose district covers Wilkes-Barre and Flynn is a freshman representing Scranton.

“Tom Wolf has a commonsense plan to restore much needed resources to our education system and make gas companies pay their fair share,” Rep. Pashinski said. “Cities like Wilkes-Barre have suffered economically while gas companies have been let off the hook. I know Tom Wolf will stand with Pennsylvania families and that’s why I am standing with him.”

“Tom Wolf has made education his number one priority, and my priority is to help him get elected,” Rep. Flynn added. “Scranton public schools are in disrepair, and the state is holding money that we desperately need to repair our schools’ infrastructure. Northeast Pennsylvania cannot afford more funding cuts and broken promises – Tom Wolf will give our region the fresh start it needs to grow.”

“I am humbled to earn the support of Representatives Pashinski and Flynn,” said Tom Wolf. “Each of these leaders cares deeply about their community and understands that if Pennsylvania is to grow and thrive, we must invest in our future by focusing on education and standing up for middle-class families. I look forward to working with Eddie and Marty to help Northeast Pennsylvania grow.”

McCord

Meanwhile, McCord started his week off with another union endorsement. The State Treasurer picked up the support of the Scranton Federation of Teachers Local 1147.

According to the organization, STF Local 1147 is made up of about 1,000 current and retired employees. The McCord campaign stated that this endorsement brings the total membership of unions that are backing McCord to over 455,000.

“Scranton’s teachers are all in for Rob McCord,” said Rosemary Boland, President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers, Local 1147. “He knows what working families are going through and he isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get to work.  He’s taken the time to visit Pennsylvania classrooms, talk with teachers, parents, and administrators, and to come up with a bold plan that will demonstrate a real commitment to our students and schools.”

“My mom was a teacher, so it’s a personal honor, as well as a great boost to our campaign, to receive the endorsement of the Scranton Federation of Teachers, Local 1147,” said McCord. “Scranton’s schools, like the rest of Pennsylvania’s communities, have been hit hard by Tom Corbett’s misguided $1 billion in classroom funding cuts. The time for half measures has long since passed. Now is the time to go all in on our schools.”

McCord also scored the support of some State Reps., although these legislators are much higher on the totem pole than Wolf’s. On Thursday, McCord’s campaign announced that they have earned the endorsement of Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, Democratic Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee Rep. Joseph Markosek and Chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic County Delegation Rep. Dom Costa.

“Getting the support of these three Western Pennsylvania champions – Dermody, Markosek, and Costa – is both exciting and humbling, because it shows that our plan to invest in education and working families is one that’s striking a chord, especially in places where people are really feeling the squeeze of the Corbett years,” said McCord.

“I’m endorsing Rob McCord for governor not just because he has the right background and experience, but because he will beat Tom Corbett in the general election,” Leader Dermody said. “When you look at what Rob has accomplished as a job creator, champion for working families, and as our state’s treasurer, it’s impressive. I want our next governor to work with both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of the legislature to get things done. Rob has proven he can do that, and so for me, Rob McCord was the easy choice to back for governor.”

Larry Kane’s Political Notebook: What would you do if you were…?

PA-Governor-Mansion2What would you do if you were?

Allyson Schwartz

Going for the gold, the Schwartz campaign went all in this week on a familiar slogan, with high risk and high reward. Her latest effort to break the Tom Wolf bandwagon is her effort to break through what she calls the “old boys club” in Harrisburg. The high reward is the possibility that she can regain momentum with her base. The risk is that while she appears to aim at a base that is critical in Democratic primaries, she is in endangered territory with more moderate voters. If she believes that appealing to gender will make a difference, how will that play to the other gender? This reporter sees it as a gutsy move, but “old boys club” cab be interpreted in several ways. First and foremost it is all about male dominance in Harrisburg. But “old” also refers to age. I think I would have stuck with the “boys.”

The Congresswoman should have a natural ally in the Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, but Kane is living under an ongoing cloud of controversy concerning the aspects of her decision to pass on charges against alleged gift taking by state lawmakers. Kane used the “old boys” defense in her unusual reaction to the press reports on The Sting.

But Kane’s embrace of Schwartz at this point would not be helpful. What would be helpful are other women who were elected to office.

One thing is certain: When the experts write about this campaign, the “old boys” campaign will be viewed as a real turning point, or the beginning of the end.

What would you do if you were ?

Katie McGinty

Would you talk more about education as well as your environmental credentials? If this were California, Katie McGinty could be a frontrunner. She has run a consistent campaign that is well funded, but short of the real big cash.

Why is education so important?

For the first time since 1947, education has shown up in most opinion polls, including Terry Madonna’s F&M Poll as the number one issue in Pennsylvania. Rob McCord now owns the issue, although all the candidates talk about the quality of education in their stump speeches.

McGinty has run a positive campaign, and could surge at the end, depending on the final debates.

What would you do if you were?

Rob McCord

Keep pounding on education. This is a suburban lightning rod. The suburbs surrounding Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will decide this election. Money aside, education may determine the outcome.

McCord is currently waging a campaign to tax the gas drilling industry higher than Tom Wolf would. This may not fly. Education rules, unless of course he can tie education to increased taxes.

McCord might also reinforce his role as Treasurer. He is, after all, the only statewide office holder in this race.

What would you do if you were?

Tom Wolf

Stay the course, and avoid negativity. For the first time in a long time, we see a candidate who appears to be quite natural, and avoids the negative vibes of most campaigns. This is unusual. People want mellow not mean in this campaign. Schwartz has avoided the negativity and that could serve her well on May 20.

The bank loan issue is a decent issue, but Wolf has studiously avoided countering Allyson Schwartz’s attacks loan. As she launched her “old boy’s network” campaign, he has refused to point out the fact that some of his opponent’s funds come from big banks and pharmaceuticals, who are definitely part of the “old boys networks.”

So far, Wolf has caused a positive stir among voters. If he changes that tone, there could be challenges ahead.

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