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Allentown Mayor Pawlowski Launches Bid for Governor

Ed Pawlowski headshot
Ed Pawlowski

After several months of hinting, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Governor.

“This is not a decision that was easily made,” Pawlowski said. “But as mayor of the third-largest city in the state and president of the Pennsylvania Municipal League, I have seen first-hand the damage that has been done to our Commonwealth over the past four years under the current Administration.”

He officially announced the decision on MSNBC Sunday morning and will hold a campaign kickoff rally for Monday at 9:30 a.m. at 7th and Hamilton streets in Allentown.

Pawlowski was first elected mayor in 2005 and won both the Democratic and GOP nominations this year. He is facing one independent challenger, former Councilman Michael Donovan.

Pawlowski logoHe has been attending Democratic party functions around the state for months and set up a PAC earlier this year with a focus on statewide issues.

His entrance in the race makes him the first gubernatorial candidate from the Lehigh Valley and one of many from eastern Pa.

His campaign announcement boasts that, “During the eight years since Pawlowski took office, Allentown has reversed an $8 million budget deficit, added 80 officers to its police force and reduced crime almost 30 percent, implemented a variety of neighborhood improvement projects that have helped restore vacant or deteriorating properties, and worked with local, state and federal officials to revitalize a downtown core once devastated by the loss of major retailers and locally owned businesses.”

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz leads the gubernatorial pack, which also includes former Pa. DEP Secretaries. Katie McGinty and John Hanger, former Pa. Revenue Sec. Tom Wolf, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz and others.

State Treasurer Rob McCord has not yet declared his candidacy, though he is widely expected to do so soon. Former Auditor General Jack Wagner is also exploring a run, and would be the only candidate who resides west of the Susquehanna river valley.

The latest public poll of the Democratic primary, from Quinnipiac in early June, showed Pawlowski with 1% of the vote.

Pawlowski, 48, lives in Allentown with his wife and two children.

Update: The campaign has released the schedule for its kick-off tour which is included below:

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who is overseeing the renaissance that has transformed Pennsylvania’s third-largest city over the past eight years, will kick off a tour around the state to discuss his candidacy for Governor of the State of Pennsylvania in 2014.

He will begin his tour tomorrow morning in Allentown, then visit the state capitol in Harrisburg, and end the day with a stop in front of City Hall in Philadelphia. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 10 will visit Reading, Lancaster and York. 

On Thursday, Sept. 12 he is scheduled to visit State College, Pittsburgh and Butler. 

He is also scheduled to make stops in Farrell in Mercer County, Erie, Clarion, Ridgway in Elk County, Wellsboro in Tioga County, Towanda in Bradford County, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Carbon County, Northampton, Bucks and Chester Counties, and Norristown in Bucks County. 

In all, Pawlowski will visit 23 counties across the state in just nine days.

10 Responses

  1. Quit frankly about the mayoral/gubernatorial conflict. That issue is for the voters of Allentown to decide. If they think he shouldn’t run for 2 offices, then they won’t elect him, or they’ll take that chance that he becomes governor. Either way, if they truly believe in what he stands for, they will support him for governor where he can help more people. As a former resident of Allentown, I have seen with my own eyes the improvement in that city. I love that city, it’s quickly turning its fortunes around. Why wouldn’t you want these types of improvements in the whole state? Also, not many people can say they ran on both the democratic and GOP ticket, in a state so diverse as Pa, these kinds of qualities can be very valuable. I think he will do well and I wish him the best of luck.

  2. The Democratic Primary for Guv is a complete free for all. How many candidates are we up to?
    Schwartz, Hangar, Wolfe, McCord, McGinty, Myers, Litz, Pawlowski, and who ever I forgot.

    It’s out of control. How many people really vote in this primary? The winner may only need 200,000 votes. It seems just nuts.

  3. Brad-
    I would absolutely support a law legally prohibiting candidates from running unless they completed their term of office. If that included Rob, and prevented him from running, so be it.

    While I think Rob would make a great governor, I’d be willing to sacrifice his candidacy if it would mean stopping ALL the other politicians from doing the same thing.

    However, Pawlowski’s case is far more egregious and contemptuous, as he is announcing a bid for Gov two months before he’s going to ask voters to go to the polls in November to reelect him for a 4 year term for mayor.

    Also, in Pawlowski’s case, voters now have the opportunity to reject a candidate who has admitted he really doesn’t want the job.

    As for Rob, I like him a lot, but I haven’t committed to him for the primary. I think he’s doing a great job as treasurer, but I really haven’t gotten to know the positions and see debates with the other candidates.

    Schwartz has already lost my primary vote due to her position on NSA. At this point, Rob seem to be the one most able to defeat her.

    One of the biggest reasons Pat Murphy lost to Kathleen Kane was that it was obvious that he just wanted to use the AG office to run for Gov. Democrats rejected him for a candidate who was going to fill out her term.

  4. His campaign team should probably learn that Norristown is in Montgomery County, not Bucks County

  5. @David Diano:

    Let’s test your consistency. You wrote: “I think candidates for office should be legally prohibited from seeking higher offices that start before their current term ended. The taxpayers get stuck with the bill for a special election for replacements.”

    Rob McCord is a very nice guy who currently is doing a very good job (my opinion) as Pennsylvania Treasurer. Rob’s current term as Pennsylvania Treasurer ends in January 2017 (fact). Rob also is running for Governor of Pennsylvania in the 2014 Primary Election (Though he has not declared officially, anybody who knows anything about Pennsylvania politics also knows Rob is running for Governor–on more than one occasion, Rob has volunteered to me, in private conversations, not chance encounters at county picnics or chicken dinners, “It doesn’t matter when I announce, everybody who is important in politics already knows I’m running.”–Rob told many people, even before re-elected in 2012, that he would run for Governor in 2014). According to your logic, Rob McCord “should be legally prohibited from seeking higher offices that start [Governor of Pennsylvania, January 2015] before their current term ended [Pennsylvania Treasurer, January 2017].”

    Should Rob McCord be prohibited from running for Governor in 2014? Yes or no. A one word answer will suffice.

    If you choose to be consistent, your answer will be “yes.” If you choose merely to be a sycophant attempting to carry water for those you like, your answer will be “no.”

  6. Update: on a FB post, Ed said he’s still planning to run for mayor.
    Ed wrote: “I am thrilled to be running for Mayor for a third term this November. Next year in 2014 we will find out if the voters of PA want me to help replicate the progress in Allentown for the whole State. If they choose someone else, then you still have Me as mayor for four more years. And even if I won for Governor, I would have another year and a half to serve and plan for the future of the city. Also Allentown will have its first mayor as governor. Not bad for the city either way. The mayors race is this November and the primary for governors race is next May. I have a great team supporting me at city hall and am very confident the city will not miss a beat. I will always be on top of what is happening in the city.”

    My response to Ed:

    You’re currently running for a 4 year job as mayor, but plan to spend the first 6 months after the election (until primary) running for a better job (and entire year if you win primary).

    Running for Gov is a pretty time consuming job that takes you to all 67 counties. I don’t see how you can do mayor’s job well when you are everywhere but Allentown, unless running Allentown is a relatively easy part-time kind of job that doesn’t require much effort. I guess “not miss a beat” confirms this.

    BTW, your “another year and a half to serve” math seems a bit off. Your current term ends in January 2014. Should you win Gov, you would start in Jan 2015. That’s a year, not a year and a half (and it’s a year where you’d be busy planning for Gov of Pa).

    As a general rule, I think it’s pretty bad when a politician announces a run for a higher office, while still running for a lower office that they plan to abandon if the higher run pans out. It shows a complete lack of commitment to the voters for the lower office.

    I think candidates for office should be legally prohibited from seeking higher offices that start before their current term ended. The taxpayers get stuck with the bill for a special election for replacements.

    However, in this case, since you have NO chance of winning Gov primary, it’s a moot point.

    The classy move would be to exit the mayor’s race, since your heart really isn’t in being mayor, and allow someone else who is willing to make a 4 year commitment to the job.

  7. Ed has done great things here in Allentown! He will be a great Gov as well. Good luck! You have my support and the support of all of us here in Allentown

  8. There was a poll before the June one from Quinnipiac that showed Pawlowski as the strongest challenger to Corbett as well. His profile should play well in this election, as he is the only person in the race who has actually had success running government. Allyson just ran an abortion clinic and Tom Wolf sent PA jobs to Virginia and Maryland for tax breaks.

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