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Schwartz Campaign Flexes Grassroots Muscle

Schwartz Governor logoAllyson Schwartz’s campaign for Governor sought to kick off a new phase of the race on Sunday with a tangible show of support throughout the Commonwealth.

The Congresswoman’s campaign held house parties for grassroots supporters in fifteen counties.

She assembled a long list of notables to speak on her behalf at these events including elected and party officials.

“A state as great as Pennsylvania deserves better than Governor Corbett,” said Ellie Horvath from Johnstown in a press release. She was one of the many attendees who delivered a message in support of the campaign.

“We need a proven leader with a strong track record of getting things done on behalf of every day families — that is Allyson Schwartz, and I am proud to be supporting candidacy along with so many grassroots volunteers across Pennsylvania.”

The Congresswoman herself spoke from a supporter’s home in Lansdale and had her remarks webcast to all 38 gatherings in PA.

This move by Schwartz appears to be an attempt to both showcase her strength throughout the state and gain a head start on her opponents for the Democratic nomination in the realm of face-to-face, on the ground, grassroots campaigning.

A crowded Democratic primary to face Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014 – with several candidates competing within the expensive Philadelphia media market – means personal campaign outreach will have greater value.

Every Democratic candidate for Governor is raising money and meeting party bigwigs, and most have an active press department. Kevin Washo, the executive director of the Pa. Democratic Party for its successful 2012 cycle, said Schwartz is taking the next step.

“It’s a move by Allyson and her team to take her campaign to another level,” he said. “These face-to-face efforts resonate with party voters and activists.”

He said Schwartz was borrowing from President Obama’s successful campaign tactics, which relied heavily on neighbor-to-neighbor outreach.

“[Candidates] take something that worked well for other campaigns and integrate it into their own efforts,” Washo continued. “It’s a good way to break out of the slow days of summer.”

Washo presently works as a consultant in Philadelphia and is not affiliated with any of the gubernatorial candidates.

Polls have shown Schwartz leading the primary field, although several Democratic insiders believe her campaign hasn’t been firing on all cylinders – yet. Her highly touted communications director recently left the campaign under unclear circumstances.

Schwartz’s opponents for the Democratic nomination include State Treasurer Rob McCord, former Secretary of the Department of Revenue Tom Wolf, former Secretaries of the Department of Environmental Protection John Hanger and Katie McGinty.

The 15 counties where events took place include, according to Schwartz’s campaign: Allegheny, Bucks, Cambria, Carbon, Columbia, Dauphin, Erie, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Tioga, and Warren.

Schwartz’s campaign listed these campaign surrogates: : Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, Georgia Berner, David Caliguiri, Frank Fantuzzi, Millersburg Council member Chris Dietz, Harrisburg Treasurer John Campbell, Northampton County Chair Walt Garvin, Upper Dublin Commissioner Stan Ropski, Lower Merion Committee member David Dormont, State Representative Mary Jo Daley, Lansdale Borough Councilman Jack Hansen, Lansdale Borough Councilman Rich DiGregorio, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Lower Merion Committee Member Barbara Schick.

Keegan Gibson contributed to this report.

10 Responses

  1. Once voters research Schwartz’s Progressive tax and spend record in Congress I suspect she will drop like a lead balloon in the polls. The person most impressed with Allyson Schwartz is Allyson Schwartz.

  2. I believe Allyson is a strong candidate for Governor. Saying that a few house parties in friendly counties is going to help her much in the rural counties. In these areas her association with Planned Parenthood and a few selected votes out of the many votes Allyson has cast in her time in Congress are going to be negative. Allyson has to visit and connect with these rural counties about the positives she brings to the Governor race before her opponents go negative in these counties about what I have mentioned above.Kane showed how important it is to visit all sixty seven early and make these connections.

  3. btw….
    A few hours after I posted my comments, I got a Facebook message from Walt Garvin:
    “David, You might want to check your sources! WG”

    My (so far) unanswered reply:
    “Are you denying that you sent cease and desist to Easton committee for offering VoterWeb?”

    Background on this:
    Around Feb/Mar I offered my VoterWeb services to some of the Northampton committee people as an alternative/supplement to the VoteBuilder service. I was offering it free to help with petitions and free for school board candidates. (During the month of Feb, I even had an ad for this right here on PoliticsPA.)

    An intrepid Northampton committee person let his fellow committee people know about my offerings, and received a “cease and desist” letter from Mr. Garvin with the fraudulent claim that this was not permitted. This led to said committee person being kicked off the committee, which led to a threatened lawsuit, which led to reinstatement to the committee.

    If this is the kind of leadership and support that Mr. Garvin is bringing to the Schwartz campaign, then she’s in worse trouble than I thought.

    BTW, I think Mr. Garvin is up for re-election next year as county chairman, so I think he’s going to have his hands too full to worry much about Allyson. 🙂

  4. Excellent points.

    Other than than the money, and some name recognition, my impression it is all about smoke and mirrors to scare off prospective opponents (or convince donors that she’s the only viable candidate).

    The silence regarding the communications director is just going to increase speculation that there are more problems.

  5. Speaking about being unimpressed. I went to a Allyson Schwartz House Party where we were to listen to Allyson and she was going to take questions. Boy.. that was a bust. First, it was a live feed over you tube. The only way to ask a question was to submit it before hand through email. There was no interactivity. The feed froze during the presentation and the speech was not in-sync with the video.

    I went because I don’t have my mind made up yet and it was the Great Allyson Schwartz. But, the even seemed a lot like amateur hour. In her defense, she did just lose her Communications Director. But still, when she mentioned the counties who had watch parties there couldn’t have been more than 14 counties.

    I still like Schwartz but I don’t think her campaign in nearly as strong as she makes it out to be. I hear a lot of people connected to Harrisburg are supporting McCord plus 60% of the voters are undecided.

    This is something to watch.

  6. Agreed.

    Two of the names are just committee members. Aren’t there a few thousand committee members in the state?

    The Northampton county chair is actually a reason to vote against her. From what I have heard, he’s a disaster who has been hurting/holding back his county Dems and needs to be replaced.

    So, color me: unimpressed

    It’s the beginning of August, and we have 2013 local elections to get through. Hardly anyone is paying any attention to this primary, unless they are a paid staffer or a political junkie.

  7. I wouldn’t call this a list of bigwigs, although I’ve always been a fan of Braddock’s mayor.
    Most of the folks are from Allyson’s backyard, and at just the municipal level.

    And if she waned to release a list of attendees beyond the grasstops elected — like saying I had 500 people at 30 parties — that’s a bigger deal.

    That said, this isn’t nothing.

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