PA-Gov: Hanger To Withdraw


Former DEP Secretary John Hanger will end his campaign for governor today at an 11am press conference.

“At its outset, in November 2012, this campaign had three goals. First, propose bold, transformational policies to strengthen education, create good-paying jobs, protect our environment, produce clean energy, and bring forth a new birth of freedom for all Pennsylvanians. Our second and third goals were to win the Democratic Primary and end the long nightmare of the Corbett Administration in November,” Hanger will announce at the conference.

“Our second goal of winning the Democratic primary simply slipped beyond our reach. Tom Wolf’s television campaign has been startlingly effective, and he has taken a commanding lead, having reached support of 40% or more. With no path to victory, to press on could cause damage to the issues and people for which we campaigned,” Hanger’s statement continues.

His withdrawal comes after a strong petition filing. The Hanger campaign was able to bring in 4,600 signatures and received 100 from 16 PA counties, but his recent polling performances have been lackluster, and put him in the back of the crowded field.

He is the *fourth candidate to withdraw, following Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, minister Max Myers and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Remaining in the Democratic field for governor are former Auditor General Jack Wagner, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, State Treasurer Rob McCord and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty.

*Corrected to say 4th candidate

43 Responses

  1. John Hanger has done an excellent job bringing critical issues to light and energizing progressive voters. But in this day and age, without funding a campaign cannot gain momentum. John is not a sell-out. He has great integrity. He did the honorable thing by dropping out of the race. Any Hanger supporters who vote for Schwartz (the most conservative Dem running) are sell-outs. I respect John’s decision and believe it was the right one for many reasons. PA finally has a progressive Democrat with the money to stand up to the millions that Corbett will get from the big energy companies that oppose a natural gas severance tax. Idealism only goes so far in modern campaigns. Without the cash to get your name out there, a candidate is lost from the beginning. John Hanger is a class act!

  2. The Hanger withdrawal surprised me quite a bit, but then again, he is a very honorable guy. I think he saw the writing on the wall and knew that he had a bunch of dedicated folks whose time and effort he’d be wasting. Now, they’re released to make a decision on the remaining candidates, get involved in other campaigns, and make the winner work a little harder to win the nomination.

    Ending his campaign means that his vote-share is there to be won, which means that the remaining candidates may have to take a step toward the left in order to win them, unless of course you’re like the person who commented as “Me” who went from supporting the most progressive candidate to the most conservative because you don’t do your homework. If he continues his campaign, he draws a significant chunk of the progressive vote, but he almost certainly loses. The sooner he withdraws, the more likely his supporters will be to vote for another candidate rather than staying home. That is influence, even in his absence.

  3. @paulb – Waaaaaaaaaaah, waaaaaaaaaaah, waaaaaaaaaaah. Thanks for reminding us what it sounds like to hear somebody cry when they don’t get their way. But keep making unsubstantiated accusations about a candidate beating your favorite candidate in every poll if that’s what you need to feel better. Just remember that nobody will be listening to you because they will be too busy laughing at you.

  4. im sure wolf got to him and bought him out he knew before petitions were due wolfs poll numbers were high.alot of volunteers wasted their time gathering signatures for him i dont think he is telling the real truth why he dropped out.if poll numbers matter mccord and mcginty will drop out tomorow.i think tom wolf is started to look like a democratic mitt romney not much of difference between them.

  5. I’d bet that Wolf’s poll numbers killed McCord’s and Schwartz’s fundraising momentum.

  6. Robbie, what I’m saying is the polls didn’t matter much the the campaign. At least that was the impression I got while volunteering for the campaign. Some of the polls were NOT good polls. For instance, one poll only polled people with landlines…Hanger did win the Straw Poll, but I guess that poll doesn’t get mentioned anywhere in his dropping out.

    Robbie, if the polls matter so much right now then why haven’t the other candidates who have done worse than John Hanger dropped out yet?

  7. Do you know who says “polls don’t matter”? People who are losing in the polls and people who can’t understand why their favorite candidate isn’t doing better. Nobody should believe any campaign professional who says polls don’t matter. That person is either telling a lie, doesn’t want to admit the truth, or doesn’t know anything. Every professional knows a good poll matters, and they know a little more about campaigns who only have experience reading articles and believing what they want.

  8. Also, I think Wolf is best positioned to pick-up moderate republican and independent voters in a general election. His story resonates with people regardless of political affiliation. I don’t particularly care if he puts in $10 million or more of his own $ to win this thing. As a democrat it doesn’t bother me one bit.

  9. Maybe someone close to Hanger could explain this to me,
    “With no path to victory, to press on could cause damage to the issues and people for which we campaigned”

    This implies that dropping out is better than losing the May primary. Can someone please explain this logic to me?

  10. David Diano,
    I’m not paranoid. I’m just speculating because this comes as a complete shock. John Hanger did not have to buy TV ads to win the primary. He was getting plenty of free advertisement in other ways and he’s a candidate that had a VERY strong and active following. Once someone decided to vote for John there was no changing their mind. Polls don’t mean much this far out with ONE candidate running TV ads. Once the other candidates start throwing their ads out and dirt at Wolf, they could have split off the votes from Wolf and Hanger had a chance.

    To all of a sudden drop out after locking up a spot on the ballot is suspicious to say the least. If the official reason for his dropping out is true, then it’s just sad. He could have gone to the May primary without spending another dime and at least finished with respect for trying. Sure he helped push some ideas around, but now there is no threat with him gone.

    Call me paranoid if you want, but typically when a story doesn’t add up, someone is lying.

    The polls never mattered before so why do they matter now?

  11. jjcnpa-
    Hanger supporters like Wolf because Wolf was in Peace Corps, believes in giving workers fair wages, supports the environment, etc.

    Wolf has a good story that appeals to progressives.

    Also, Wolf would be a more independent candidate, not part of what Hanger’s supporters view as institutionalized failures by insider candidates.

  12. It seems odd to me that Hangar voters would want to go to Wolf and that Hangar isn’t more critical of Wolf. Hangar was all about the “grass roots” but now a multi-millionare with very deep pockets is buying the air space and the grass roots supporters and candidates don’t see anything upsetting with that picture? I am not saying a millionare can’t be a progressive but it is pretty anti-democratic. The Howard Dean campaign was all about grass roots and was pretty impactful. There wouldn’t be an Obama if there hadn’t been a Dean campaign which was the first grass roots cyber campaign.

  13. Last but not least courage – moral courage – the courage to stick it out.

  14. McCord, the “safe choice.” He’s a sell out with a lot of skeletons in his closet. I’d vote for Corbett before I’d vote for him.

  15. Damn it… I was pulling for Hanger. It’s Pennsylvania’s loss… Now, my vote goes to Schwartz.

  16. There seems to be an air of inevitability to Tom Wolf getting the nomination. I guess if you have over $10 million in spare change hanging around you can do that. But Wolf is un-vetted and un-tested as a first time candidate. It can be a big gamble if the Dems nominate him. Since they are all close on the issues except Jack Wagner, McCord is the safest choice. He has the business background but has strong labor support too and also has run state-wide twice. I know people at the DEP who were not impressed with McGinty.

  17. Hanger wont endorse wolf he is the reason he dropped out.sadly money is a big deal more than the issues i think tom wolf is trying to bully the field with his money the same way schwartz did i cant wait to hear what rob mccord has to offer oh wait another self funder who does that leave katie mcginty.just made up my mind thanks mr.hanger.

  18. Jonathan-
    Blackmailed? Threatened? Paranoid much?

    John indicated in his email to supporters that Wolf’s position in the polls has made it impossible for the Hanger campaign to attract enough donors for a viable campaign going forward.

    “Tom Wolf’s television campaign has been
    startlingly effective, and he has taken a commanding lead, having reached support of 40% or more. His strong rise in the polls impacted the campaigns of all his competitors and stopped momentum that we had in January, though we alone among the competing campaigns did not lose ground in some polls. 

    Tom Wolf’s surge that stalled our January momentum meant that our recent polling has not been strong enough to raise the funds needed to pay for television and radio advertising that we will need at the end of this campaign. Furthermore, and crucially for our campaign, it is now probable that Tom Wolf, or whomever wins the Democratic primary, will get considerably more than 30% of the primary vote, a target we cannot reach. “

  19. John did a great job on targeting the real issues we face in the 21th century. His presence will be missed in this race.

  20. This is absolute bullshit.

    The small polling numbers should not be a reason for his dropping out. That does not make sense. The polls have been wildly inaccurate and all over the place and the primary is still two months away. The polls never stopped us before. If they did, then John Hanger would have dropped out months ago.

    I don’t buy this as the real reason. Hanger had people switching parties to vote for him in May and like he said he thinks he could win with 300,000 votes. Word of mouth is more effective at getting a vote than TV ads and a lot of people have been talking about John because his campaign stands out.

    John Hanger was going to get ALL the young voters and because of his campaign, I even got some people to register to vote for the first time! So they just registered to vote for someone that gave up? This can’t be the real reason. John did not sound like a quitter to me. Maybe I’ll vote in May, maybe not, but I’m definitely switching back to Libertarian.

    For this to be so sudden, I’m thinking he was blackmailed or threatened, but who knows. Maybe he really did just give up? It makes sense if he was blackmailed. Giving up just doesn’t.

  21. I take that as an endorsement of Wolf!

    Wolf needs to name Hangar as “Special Advisor of Renewable Energy for PA” when he is elected Governor and allow Hangar to transform PA into a clean energy leader.

  22. Fake Liberal Lion-
    It’s not a “huge blow”.

    1) It’s a disappointment. But, given the money/resources of the other candidates, the campaign was hopeful but a longshot.

    2) John, like many progressive leaders, is a few election cycles ahead of the curve. He brought up a lot of key issues and moved the needle.

    3) Wolf is pretty progressive, so it’s not like with Hanger pulling out that Corbett would win or that Schwartz would be the nominee.

  23. This is just a huge blow to the progressive movement. Leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach. Pennsylvania is so backwoods hillbillie, it’s sickening to me. We need an entirely new army built on the ground. I’m headed to my toilet to throw up. Time for revolution.

  24. I’m sad to see this. John brought a lot to the race, and his impact will surely live past his candidacy.
    As an avid supporter of Hanger, I’ll now transition my support to Wolf because I think he is a far better guy than McCord or Schwartz. I really hope John throws his support behind Wolf, and soon!

  25. John was the energy behind this democratic primary. He separated himself with his bold progressive ideas and I think he just was catching on. He will be missed.

  26. After John’s performance at PA Progressive Summit, I was looking forward to the rest of PA getting their chance to hear him in final Gov debate, when people are actually paying attention.

    Schwartz is the most conservative of the field, so she won’t pick up any of John’s supporters.

  27. My guess, Hangers supporters will go to Wolf and McGinty. They are more progressive than the rest.

  28. Katie McGinty should follow his lead, she had less petition signers and won’t be able to compete with the other fundraising jugernauts.

Comments are closed.

  • When Should The Special Elections For The PA House Be Held?

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