Being a minister from Cumberland County doesn’t set up newly announced gubernatorial candidate Max Myers for too many institutional advantages in a Democratic primary. His opponent, John Hanger, was happy to point out why.
Myers, who first floated a bid back in 2011, launched his longshot campaign Monday morning at an LGBT community center in Philadelphia. He’ll have visited there, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie and Allentown by the end of the day on Wednesday.
Hanger announced his candidacy last year. He immediately challenged Myers to a debate.
“Pennsylvania voters deserve a chance to compare our ideas about personal liberty and about how to make sure all Pennsylvanians have access to a good public education and health care. The best forum for that comparison would be a debate, so I invite Reverend Myers to debate me at his earliest convenience,” he said.
Myers accepted the proposal of a debate in an email to PoliticsPA. “We look forward to beginning negotiations with the Hanger campaign and future candidates,” a spokesman wrote.
Hanger continued, citing Myers’ past role as the Director of the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
“My understanding is that Reverend Myers wishes to overturn Roe vs. Wade, opposes marriage equality for same-sex couples, and opposes banning discrimination against the LGBT community in employment, housing and public accommodations.”
Myers’ spokesman said the candidate was running as a moderate on social issues. On abortion, he said Myers didn’t accept the pro-life or pro-choice label. He gave a more nuanced explanation that sounds like a typical pro-life Democrat:
“The best way to respect both the life of the baby and the rights of the woman is for both sides to work together to attack the root of the problem, not the politics of the issue,” he wrote.
“The bottom line is that Max wants to move the dialog to the ‘why’ behind the number of unwanted pregnancies we see in our society. In reality, we can uphold the law of the land while focusing our attention on the cause of the situation, not the response to the situation.”
He gave a similarly general answer on gay rights.
“It is time for the LGBT community to be given the same respect that we give to all other people groups. In that vein, Max will support legislation that gives equal access and equal treatment under the law,” Myers’ spokesman wrote.
A Hanger campaign worker also forwarded the below document, which was prepared by Rachel Tabachnick and distributed to progressive groups around Pa. It details the political activities of the New Apostolic Reformation, a pentecostal movement with which Myers and GSSM are affiliated.
Tabachnick is an independent but left-leaning researcher who has focused on NAR. She is preparing a report on the NAR for Political Research Associates, a progressive firm based in Massachusetts.
PoliticsPA is still seeking a response from the Myers’ camp on Tabachnick’s report – and the fact that Hanger’s campaign is circulating it. Here’s a link to the video she cites, and here is the report:
And here is Myers’ full response on abortion and gay marriage:
Update: here is Myers’ response to charges about his religious background. He continues his effort to thread the needle between policy positions that most consider antithetical.