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PA-Gov: Allyson Schwartz Could Set Pennsylvania Democratic Record Even With Loss

Allyson Schwartz

No female Democratic candidate for governor in Pennsylvania has eclipsed the 20 percent mark in a primary to date; only seven of 165 Democratic and GOP primary candidates in state history have been women

Pennsylvania U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz jumped into the 2014 gubernatorial race early and was heralded as the frontrunner well into late 2013, but is now bracing for a distant second place finish in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Former Keystone State Department of Revenue Secretary Thomas Wolf launched one of the most impressive Democratic candidacies over the last half year and is expected to flirt with winning an outright majority of the vote as he moves on to face embattled incumbent Governor Tom Corbett in the general election.

State Treasurer Rob McCord and former Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection Katie McGinty complete the four-candidate Democratic field.

But while political observers do not believe Schwartz is in contention for her party’s nomination, she can nonetheless set a new benchmark on Tuesday.

If Schwartz receives just 20 percent of the primary vote, she will set the all-time mark in Pennsylvania for a female Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

Overall, just five women have appeared on the Democratic gubernatorial primary ballot over the 100 years since the first primary in 1914 – including Schwartz and McGinty.

None have won their party’s nomination.

The high water mark thus far is 19.6 percent recorded by Treasurer Catherine Baker Knoll 20 years ago in 1994 in a seven-candidate field won by acting Governor Mark Singel.

Placing fourth in that race was another woman – 1992 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Lynn Yeakel – who garnered 13.9 percent of the vote.

The only other woman to make it to the primary ballot in a Democratic gubernatorial race was Jennifer Alden Wesner in 1978 – the first such female candidate for governor in state history.

Wesner, the former mayor of Knox, a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania, placed fourth out of four candidates that cycle with just 2.9 percent.

Wesner later became a state constable and ran for president in 1988.

Overall, just five of the 84 Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates in Pennsylvania since 1914 have been women, or 5.9 percent.

Pennsylvania Republicans, meanwhile, have had only two female candidates for governor on the primary ballot, but can claim one female gubernatorial nominee – Barbara Hafer in 1990.

Hafer, then the state’s sitting State Auditor, won 54.4 percent to secure her party’s nomination for governor in a race against fellow female GOPer Peg Luksik.

Hafer subsequently lost the general election to Democratic incumbent Bob Casey.

Luksik and Hafer are the only two women to appear on a Pennsylvania primary gubernatorial election ballot over the last 100 years out of more than 80 such candidates.

Despite low approval ratings Governor Corbett will run unopposed for his party’s nomination Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Republicans have coalesced around their nominees much more than Democrats in recent decades.

Keystone State Republican gubernatorial nominees have not faced a primary opponent in six of the last nine cycles: Dick Thornburgh (1982), Bill Scranton III (1986), Tom Ridge (1998), Mike Fisher (2002), Lynn Swann (2006), and Corbett (2014).

Democratic nominees, meanwhile, have run unopposed in the primary in just two of 26 gubernatorial contests in state history: John Hemphill in 1930 and Ed Rendell in 2006.

Only 15 Republicans have appeared on the primary ballot since 1982 – just one more than the record 14 GOPers who ran in the 1934 cycle – compared to 30 Democrats during this span.

Pennsylvania is one of two-dozen states in which a woman has never served as governor.

Smart Politics is the non-partisan political news site authored by Dr. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Originally posted here: Reprinted with permission.

13 Responses

  1. Allyson Schwartz is the only one who said in her issues that she would return Pennsylvania’s unemployment back the way it was before that two faced liar Tom Corbett turned against Pennsylvanians.We need anyone who will send Corbett down the road!!!!!.

  2. I thought there were TWO women running. MCGinty must be a guy. Sorry I got her gender wrong

  3. I thought that there were TWO (2) WOMEN running for governor. McGinty must be a guy.

  4. McCord’s poor judgement in using racial attacks was the equivalent of when Republicans used the same guilt-by-association style attack regarding Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Utterly ridiculous. (By the way, it didn’t work that time either.)

    McCord ran a terrible campaign, but worse, McCord revealed his flawed character and lack of integrity.

  5. Here are my guesses for Governor:

    Anyone else want to make predictions. Closest wins a beer

  6. Vote McCord on election day. Ed Rendell spoke out against McCord because McCord would not play politics when Rendell was in office and McCord was treasurer. Rendell thought just because McCord was a democrat that McCord would do what was in Rendell’s interest. Instead, McCord chose to do what was in the best interest of the citizens of Pennsylvania. As well, Rendell spoke out against McCord because of all the money Wolf has given Rendell in his runs for office. If you want politics as usually, vote Wolf or Schwartz. If you want someone who will make a change for the better, then McCord is the only option. Vote McCord on election day.

  7. McCord lied which is why Fact Check, Ed Rendell, Bob Casey and many others called him out on it. Fact Check called McCord’s ad false and misleading. McCord has NO integrity. Pennsylvanian’s have gotten to see the real McCord: a cocky, arrogant, 2-faced politician who outsourced jobs to India when he was in the private sector. ANYBODY BUT MCCORD.

  8. So, SoCePol McCord’s not allowed to being up a real concern without being called a typical divisive political coward? Hmmm. What does that make you who doesn’t even list his name in a comment.

    It took a lot of guts for McCord to bring up an issue like racism that’s not pleasant but which is still very relevant despite GOP declarations that racism is over.

    Worse is the fact that Wolf supports charter schools over working to improve the public school system.

    McCord is far from a typical politician and he’s far from cowardly. He’s smart and genuine just as Wolf seems to be. If Wolf wins, let’s hope he gets a new attitude about public education.

  9. McCord is an arrogant, divisive typical politician who played the race card. Pennsylvania deserves better than a coward like McCord.

    Vote for the only candidate who has remained positive and has cleared outlined his plan for Pennsylvania.

    Vote Tom Wolf for Governor tomorrow!

  10. Vote for McCord on Tuesday. His experience and vision makes him the best candidate to beat Corbett and for our state.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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