With Corbett’s poll numbers in the tank, even a generic Democratic opponent to him in 2014 would lead 45 percent to 39. Given that kind of positive climate, former Guv candidate Tom Knox said he plans to enter the race.
A video posted by Philly.com showed Knox guest-bartending at R2L restaurant to raise money for charity. He also talked shop with his interviewer, saying he plans to run against Gov. Corbett.
Knox is no freshman candidate. He ran for Philadelphia major five years ago, and also for governor in 2010 – but dropped out before the primary and endorsed Dan Onorato.
With enough money to self-fund a challenge, Knox’s name will be one to look for.
Update: PoliticsPA has decided that it would be silly to throw the name of one possible challenger to Gov. Tom Corbett without mentioning the considerable chatter going on amongst party insiders about the other possible primary contenders for the 2014 race. This is especially the case given Knox’s record as a perennial candidate and statements by insiders that brushed off Knox’s name as not one to seriously consider.
Our friends at the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Monday that, given Corbett’s disapproval from within his own party (Public Policy Polling put it at 28 percent among GOP) there are several potential candidates insiders are focused on.
Robert J. Vickers has the report:
Corbett’s worrisome poll numbers have ignited rumors that the usual suspects of hopeful Democrats are focusing their ardor on the governor’s office sooner than expected.
They include: former Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, who lost to Corbett in 2010; state Auditor Jack Wagner, who lost to Onorato in the party primary; former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who was defeated by Pat Toomey in the 2010 U.S. Senate race; and state Treasurer Rob McCord, recognized as one of the state’s prolific Democratic fundraisers.
Despite currently seeking a second term as treasurer, the low-profile McCord is “having trouble going places without people asking him about” opposing Corbett, said a McCord confidant who spoke on condition of anonymity.
McCord’s re-election campaign spokesman Mark Nevins didn’t close that door.
“While it’s impossible to predict what will happen two years from now, it’s fair to say Treasurer McCord is more focused on his role as the fiscal watchdog for the state than he is looking ahead to 2014,” Nevins said.
PoliticsPA reported in June that McCord’s name came up frequently during the summer Democratic State Committee meeting in King of Prussia – and that, despite the state Treasurer’s best efforts to deflect questions about a run for the office, he couldn’t shake greetings from friends who shook his hand and addressed him with enthusiasm as “Governor!”
Wagner, highly ambitious, left little room for conjecture on the subject.
“I have no intention of running for governor,” he said. “The answer is no.”
A spokesman for Sestak, who hasn’t stopped campaigning since his Senate loss, said the erstwhile candidate will re-enter public life but offered no clues as to when or how.
“Joe likes service, as he did in the U.S. Navy and Congress,” said Sestak spokesman Edwin Wee. “He’ll do it again, some way, because he believes that, if anything, the nation needs people more involved, not less.”
And despite a widely held belief that Onorato has left politics for good, Oxman said the southwest Pennsylvania stalwart would consider a second run for governor because of polls showing he could take Corbett in a rematch.
“Many people have asked him to run, and he has not closed the door on that,” Oxman said.
The Patriot-News also reported the names of two so-called “wildcard names” – Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Bob Casey.
Rendell dismissed the possibility, saying that the state Constitution would prohibit it, although the language is not specific.
But Sen. Casey looks as though he may be a person of interest, and someone to look for come 2014.
The Patriot-News also said there is a possible dark horse candidate in Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-Montco). PoliticsPA has written about her before as someone whose name is on the short list of potential future House Speakers, which says something about her power within the chamber as well as her potential.
If Corbett’s numbers remain in the tank, such speculation is sure to grow in the coming months – particularly after the Democratic National Convention and Election Day. Come time for Corbett’s reelection, he may be able to sit back and watch a long line of Dems duke it out for the nomination.