Reader Poll: Who Should Challenge Tom Corbett?

Coming off of strong statewide wins, Democrats are chomping at the bit to take on Gov. Tom Corbett. Despite a strong win in 2010, the first-term Republican has seen his numbers sour over the past year. So, PoliticsPA wants to know which Democrat is the best choice to challenge him? 

Which Democrat is the Best Choice to Challenge Tom Corbett?


  • Former Rep. Joe Sestak (20%)
  • Senator Bob Casey (20%)
  • Treasurer Rob McCord (18%)
  • Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro (9%)
  • Rep. Allyson Schwartz (8%)
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (7%)
  • State Sen. Daylin Leach (7%)
  • Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski (4%)
  • Businessman Tom Knox (4%)
  • Allegheny County Executive Rick Fitzgerald (3%)

Total Voters: 1,937

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51 Responses

  1. Sepafan, we don’t have many (or any) strong women in the pipeline in Western PA because the Dem party bosses and the good old boys in the PA House and Senate from the west try to either knock women out in the primary, or if one gets through the primary she gets no Democratic support in the general election. It’s a disgrace how Democratic women are treated in the Western half of the state!

  2. Michael Nutter or Patrick Murphy teamed with a strong woman from western Pa would be my choice. Murphy was victom of circumstance in congressional reelection bid(done in by Obama care vote) and by Bill Clinton in the AG primary but nonetheless a strong candidate as would be Mayor Nutter !

  3. Hmm… what about a challenge in a GOP primary? I’d love to see Pat Meehan take the plunge if Corbett’s numbers are too low for his reelection to be viable.

  4. Tom, please make the decision NOT to run in 2014, lest you drag the rest of the ticket down with you.

  5. McCord is just another empty suit that democratic party bosses will prop up and he’ll go down in flames. Plus McCord has some really bad and nasty people in his camp pulling his strings…..a rat name Lisko and a Fumo-hack name Chris Craig.

    Sestak would not be a bad choice but so many democrats hate the guy that things are guaranteed to get ugly if he’s in the race and that would be good for Corbett.

    Casey is a good c H5N1hoice on paper but he’s a lazy campaigner.

    In thinking outside of the box my choice would be Matt Cartwright. A progressive candidate

  6. I voted for Shapiro in this poll. I like what he’s done in Montco. But PoliticsPA is asking the wrong question. The question is who can knock off Corbett in the primary? There is only one guy, the guy who beat Corbett with 70% of the vote in the five county SE during the primary for AG in 2004 and has proven to be tough and able to take the heat. And shown to be right even when everyone was against him. That person is Shapiro’s partner as County Commissioner, former DA Bruce Castor. Castor is the only person with SE name ID, conservative creeds, and with the balls to take Corbett on in a primary. And this time, he’d have all those Penn State folks. That’s the question PoliticsPA should be asking. Who could knock off Corbett in the primary?

  7. Turzai is a joke of primary challenger to Corbett. He can’t get his fellow republicans to pass state store privatization legislation and he is going to be challenged by one of his fellow house republicans for majority leader.

    He won’t be able to raise the money and Corbett would kick his ass in SWPA.

    Turzai is only powerful in his little North Hills neighborhood. He never had the balls to take on Jason Altmire for Congress what makes you think he would try for Governor.

  8. Agree on Jack Wagner’s potential (prior comment), but think Josh Shapiro could pull it off.

  9. Sabrina, for outside of the box how about John Fetterman, Mayor of Braddock! He’d be awesome.

  10. We need to stop having an embarassing and utter lack of imagination when it comes to candidate recruitment in this state, up and down ballot. We need to find a dark horse that isn’t on this list.

  11. LOL at “Jackb1977” You’re wishful thinking about Corbett being a lock in the primary confirms that Democrats know Corbett is a dead man walking and they want to face him in the general instead of a more viable Republican candidate. That’s why it will end up being Leader Turzai as the Republican nominee, a man of the people!

  12. Ravenstahl may not survive a primary next year against either Jack Wagner or Bill Peduto for re-election.

  13. Corbett will run for re-election and win. He won’t bow to any pressure to get out. The RGA will provide him with enough funds to defeat any primary challenge.

    Democrats need to find a candidate and get behind them in the primary to avoid from spending all of their money like 2010.

    I think that McCord would be the person going into 2014 for the top of the ticket. He can raise money and would perform pretty well across the state.

    My pick for Lt. Governor would be York Mayor Kim Bracey. I think she would galvanize women, African-Americans and progressives across the state to defeat Governor Corbett and make him a one-term Governor.

  14. Stan, I agree with you about the Rep. primary. Honestly, I would not be surprised if Corbett does not seek re-election and opens it up for someone else.

    I don’t know any of the other Reps. besides Toomey. But, here is the problem with him. Why would the state trade one “Tea Party Darling” for another? It doesn’t make sense.

    For the Dems, the Governor will come out of SEPA while the LT. Gov. will come out of either NEPA or Pitt. The only way to screw this up is to have a Gov and Lt. Gov both out of SEPA.

  15. Jack, Joe Sestak treats his own staffers like garbage! He had the worst reputation in Congress for the way he blew through dozens of staff members that he treated horribly! The guy is unelectable, unstable, and if he treats his own people like that, how would he treat regular people? Look it up

  16. Robin Wiessmann would make a great governor, but she has low name recognition. She is well respected within PA Dems, Bucks, and with women, and is McCord’s predecessor. She started the entire process of all of the reforms McCord says in his commercials, so she has a set of accomplishments.

    Shapiro would be great but too young and needs to fix MontCo first.

    Sestak – too polarizing and motivates the Rs too much. Dems don’t even like him.

    Ravenstahl – don’t know much but seems too much like a local political hack.

    Schwartz – has leadership in House, so why move?

    Jack Wagner can’t even fundraise for girl scout cookies.

  17. Love how everyone here is still missing the message CLEARLY sent on Tuesday.
    OLD, WHITE,STRAIGHT, Same old story tellin’ MEN are no longer acceptable to the electorate.
    YOUNG,People of COLOR, Women, GLBT, is where our future is. Not back to white, middle ages, men.
    Get real.

  18. You’re asking the wrong question. The right question is who should challenge Corbett in a primary? Pat Meehan, Jim Gerlach, Bruce Castor, Pat Toomey? There’s where the real balls will come from. Corbett will lose to any reasonably well financed Democrat from the Southeast. The Democrats can only be beaten by a SE Republican viewed as able to cross party lines to get things done, but conservative enough for the rest of the state. That is the correct question you should be asking.

  19. Take a look at Senator Judy Schwank from Berks County–A true breath of fresh air. For at least Lt. GOv

  20. Jon-
    Pat Murphy couldn’t even hold his own congressional seat from the guy he previously defeated. Then, Murphy got his smarmy ass kicked by Kane. Murphy is damaged goods, with no statewide appeal (nor local appeal in his own district).

    I would love to see Shapiro as Gov, but my understanding is that he wants to complete his full term as Montco Commissioner and have a solid/full record of accomplishment before jumping to the next political rung. He’s got a great record so far on fiscal/budget and bipartisanship. Running for Gov too early could jeopardize that.

    I’d like to see Shapiro take out Toomey.

  21. I couldn’t even vote for this. None of them impress me. I actually like Corbett, he does what no one else will do! This Union run state needs cleaned up!
    I bet Mark Critz, the loser of all losers makes a run for it now that he is unemployed and unemployable!

  22. @anthony, Jonathan Saidel’s only appearance on the statewide scene was when he lost a Democratic primary (even though he was a 4 term Philadelphia Controller) for Lt. Gov. to Scott Conklin (a state representative from Centre County), who nobody had ever heard of. And Saidel had $1 million in his campaign account (in a race where almost nothing is spent) before the campaign began. He was a pathetic candidate.

  23. I selected Josh Shapiro. He was the top viote getter in vote rich Montgomery County, will appeal to SEPA voters and with the right Lt.Gov partner would give great balance to our state. That being said, being from SEPA can be a negative, but if Allegheny would vote the ticket instead of region, Dems could get this done.
    I also like Jack Wagner, but his last foray was such a disaster, he will never get the support.
    Rob McCord has an Onoratoish, Bill lloyd-like, Ivan Itkin type of feel to him…nice guy, but does not have what it takes.
    Bob Casey would be great and would win, hands down, but I do not think I would give up a senate seat at this point if I were him.
    Dems should not underestimate Corbett.

  24. Plowking, the people of Northeast PA have spoken and no children cried when that blue doggie was put to sleep in the primary. If Old Yeller Holden gets the guv nomination, he is going to be Onorato redux if he keeps being a woman hating, queer bashing, Republican coddling Frackenstein.

  25. I voted for Daylin Leach. The stand-comedian. His name on this really made me laugh. He’s always pulling these kinds of funny jokes–saying things and doing things that are out of place and inappropriate–like suggesting he could be gov. That’s funny Daylin. You finally made me laugh…

  26. Allyson did a terrible job for DCCC. Dems actually LOST a congressional seat in PA and picked up zero. Stu Rothenberg singled out PA for its awful candidate recruiting on the Dem side this year. Major hit for Allyson’s standing.

  27. Almost any one of these candidates would beat Corbett in 2014!
    Sestak would be a great choice, Casey would be fine if he wants to leave the Senate, McCord is a solid establishment pick, Josh Shapiro is a breath of fresh air and an executive type, and Leach and Schwartz both fight hard for progressives in the Philadelphia suburbs! Any of these choices are winners!

  28. I picked Allyson Schwartz, however, I agree with Sabrina that a woman from outstate who is progressive would be a dream.

    I think that the next gubernatorial candidate should be able to say these eight words “Fracking should be banned in all of Pennsylvania”. If they can’t say those eight words, they are wusses who should not be the standard bearer for the Dem nomination.

  29. McCord is a fresh candidate with a proven record as both someone that can get things done and win! Sestak is a loser. McCord is funny, brilliant, progressive, and from southeast PA. He is also a prolific fundraiser. McCord for governor!!!

  30. Ryan, Rep. Gerber stepped out of politics. I doubt he is looking to jump right back in, at that high of a level, this quickly. It’s a shame thought, he is a great politico.

    Scott, no, Allyson is not a joke. Not as a person, not as a politician, and not as a viable candidate. I live in her district, and I am politically active in my community, and she unites both parties with all of the amazing work that she has done for us. A huge part of my town’s revitalization is in thanks to her.

  31. I wish a strong female candidate would rise out of NEPA, Central PA, or the West. I want to see a woman governor and soon but Allyson is just too SEPA. It’s not that SEPA candidates can’t appeal to the rest of the state and win the support of voters in those regions (see Edward G. Rendell), but I don’t see Allyson being able to speak to those voters.

  32. Sestak was the top vote-getter in 2010. Would’ve been better if he’d joined the coordinated campaign, but clearly there’s a lot of enthusiasm for him. McCord is the uninspiring sort of dude you’d expect the party heads to want to run against Corbett, which is exactly why he’s to be avoided.

  33. Sestak doesn’t actually live in PA. He lives in Alexandria, VA. His campaign finance reports even reimburse him for his VDOT Ezpass.

    Sestak burnt a ton of bridges in PA politics during his last campaign. To his credit, he has been working hard this cycle helping out down-ticket candidates, but knowing Joe, it’s only to secure their support (and get his ego stroked) than actually caring about their races. During actual races, Sestak has already demonstrated his eagerness to GOTV to split-ticket Republicans that will vote against his down-ticket running mates, rather than encourage straight-ticket Dem voting. This was evident in 2010 when Sestak’s election day GOTV door hangers did not feature any other candidates (even though other candidates had the whole ticket on theirs)

    I’m concerned about Anthony Williams and his charter-school money. He raised a ton of money from a few donors last time.

  34. 1 Term Tom should announce today that he will not seek a second term as Governor. As a Republican and FORMER Corbett supporter, it will make his next two years much more pleasant. In the end, no matter who the D’s run, they will win.

  35. Casey is the top choice to go after Corbett. There are some fine people on this list. But any Democrat will do except Sestak.

  36. I am Rebulican who will be voting for Tom Corbett. But I think Joe Sestak is the strongest. He has the higher ID will do well in metro philly. Allyson Schwartz is that a joke? , Kathleen Kane is the bigest star for the DEMS. She could run in 2018 be the first female Gov. Does Bob Casey even care anymore? So lazy this he should have won with 57-58%

  37. What about Knox? he should at least be apart of the poll since he is the only candidate to officially say he is running.

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    • Yes. I enjoy mail-in voting. (50%)
    • No. I am going to the poll. (50%)

    Total Voters: 121

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