The transition is now complete.
Katie McGinty has stepped down as Gov. Wolf’s Chief of Staff and Mary Isenhour will be taking her place.
McGinty is leaving to run for a Senate seat next year. She’ll face Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary, and if successful there, Sen. Pat Toomey in the general election.
As for the new Chief of Staff, Isenhour has been with Wolf from the very beginning.
She signed on to his campaign as a senior advisor while many pundits were debating whether Allyson Schwartz or Rob McCord would prevail in the Democratic primary. Isenhour also has a long resume as a political strategist and was serving as the Governor’s Secretary of Legislative Affairs.
The switch does bring into question, however, whether Wolf made a good initial decision when he picked McGinty to be his first Chief of Staff.
While an incredibly important position, Chief of Staff is not a glamorous job. Few politicians can make a smooth transition to staffer.
Wolf’s call mirrored President Obama’s first choice for Chief of Staff, ex-Rep. Rahm Emanuel. The results of that marriage were decidedly mixed and Rahm went on to become Mayor of Chicago just a year into Obama’s first term.
In fact, McGinty did ruffles the feathers of Harrisburg Republicans. Angela Couloumbis of the Inquirer reports that State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman once told the Governor he prefered McGinty not be in the negotiating room.
If the budget standoff doesn’t end satisfactorily and McGinty can’t defeat Sestak, we’ll have to wonder if the decisions of July should have been made in January.
UPDATE: The Governor’s office released the following statement:
“Katie McGinty has been an invaluable advisor and friend, and her contributions to the Commonwealth will be remembered. We worked together to expand Medicaid, eliminate the unfair and costly SNAP asset test, save the children’s health insurance program in Pennsylvania, and implement key government reforms like a gift ban,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Katie’s work has help lay the course for my administration, and I greatly appreciate her efforts to fix our schools, create jobs, and build a better Pennsylvania.”
“It has been an honor to serve Governor Tom Wolf,” said Katie McGinty. “I am proud to have helped to fight to expand Medicaid and eliminate unfair asset tests while advocating for policies that will fund our schools and strengthen our middle class. I will continue to fight for the principles and polices that we worked on in the Wolf Administration including fixing our schools, creating jobs, and advocating for a living wage for our workers.”
“Mary Isenhour is one of my closest advisors, and she has served as a valuable part of my administration,” said Tom Wolf. “Mary has earned respect from Republicans and Democrats, and she has vast and diverse experience in government that will help to guide my administration. I am eager to continue to work with Mary in her new role as my Chief of Staff.”
“It is an honor to serve as Governor Wolf’s Chief of Staff, and I look forward to continuing to work with the governor and the administration to serve the people of Pennsylvania,” said Mary Isenhour. “Governor Wolf has the right priorities for the Commonwelath: schools that teach, jobs that pay, and government that works, and I look forward to working with him to implement his vision.”