The triumvirate of Republican governors is convening today to endorse Governor Corbett, dispelling rumors that the PA GOP is fractured.
Dick Thornburgh, Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker will announce their support for Corbett-Cawley at the Hershey stop of the “Promises Kept Re-Election Tour.” Ridge and Schweiker will appear in person with the candidates, whereas Dick Thornburgh has prepared a taped endorsement.
Ridge and Thornburgh endorsed Corbett-Cawley for the previous governor’s race in 2009, before Corbett defeated Sam Rohrer in the GOP primary.
Thornburgh was the first Republican governor in Pennsylvania elected to serve two consecutive terms (the state constitution once forbade governors from running for a successive term). He won the 1978 and 1982 elections. In 1988, Ronald Reagan named Thornburgh as his Attorney General. He continued to hold this title into the George H.W. Bush administration, until he ran for Senate in 1991.
Recently, Thornburgh has made headlines for criticism of former FBI director Louis Freeh’s report about Joe Paterno’s involvement in the Jerry Sandusky Scandal. A majority of Pennsylvania voters say Tom Corbett did not do enough in the Sandusky investigation as the state’s attorney general.
Ridge is the last Republican governor in Pennsylvania to win re-election. In 1998, he defeated Democratic candidate Ivan Itkin 57.4% to 31%, winning every county except Philadelphia. Ridge enjoyed a much higher approval rating in the year before his second gubernatorial election than Corbett has today.
Ridge’s 1998 campaign manager, Leslie Gromis-Baker, is now Tom Corbett’s campaign chief of staff. Corbett also borrowed his new communication director, Lynn Lawson, from the Ridge campaign. Lawson was Ridge’s campaign press secretary.
Ridge left his second term early to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and his Lieutenant Governor, Schweiker, served out the final year.
Last month, a Franklin & Marshall poll revealed only 20% of voters believe Corbett deserves re-election. Although Pennsylvanians largely have rejected their governor, Corbett has racked up endorsements from Republican leaders across the state and Washington. In September, Rick Santorum became the first notable politician to endorse Corbett. Pat Toomey and Newt Gingrich have also declared that they support Corbett’s re-election.
The campaign will hold the event at the Hershey Volunteer Fire Department at 5:30pm.