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Schwartz Campaign Removes Top Fundraiser

Allyson Schwartz 2013 lores
Allyson Schwartz

Aubrey Montgomery will no longer serve as Allyson Schwartz’s Finance Director, a spokesman confirmed Thursday.

It’s the latest staff shakeup in the Congresswoman’s gubernatorial effort.

In a statement, the campaign emphasized that Montgomery will remain affiliated with Schwartz’s bid.

“As we continue to build momentum in this campaign, I am pleased to add two strong, experienced members to my team as well as keeping Aubrey as a key part of the campaign,” Schwartz said in a statement.

“I have been honored to be part of Allyson’s team and know she will make a tremendous Governor of Pennsylvania,” Montgomery said in the statement. “As I try to create a better work and personal life balance for myself, I will continue to work as part of the Schwartz team but in a different role.”

Montgomery will be replaced by Chris Carr, who most recently worked as a regional finance director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But several Democratic insiders familiar with the move said the campaign essentially was showing Montgomery the door. It could be an indication of lackluster fundraising, they said.

“There’s only one reason a fundraiser leaves a campaign this close to a filing deadline,” said one operative.

The current gubernatorial campaign finance cycle ends on Dec. 31. It will not be possible to fully assess the fundraising activities of Schwartz or any of the candidates until reports are due on Jan. 31.

Schwartz has been a prolific fundraiser during her tenure in Congress, bringing in multiple millions of dollars each cycle.

But donors who support members of Congress aren’t necessarily willing spend to support a state-level candidate, several fundraising experts told PoliticsPA.

“It shows that they’re not where they want to be” with fundraising, said one Democratic operative of the decision to replace Montgomery. “And worse, it shows they don’t understand why.”

Additionally, major donors have thus far remained on the sidelines of the primary. Several of the Democratic hopefuls would be viable opponents to Gov. Tom Corbett.

“People are still trying to figure out who the best candidate is. They aren’t writing checks,” said another Dem insider.

Sources close to other campaigns corroborate the notion that money has been hard to come by. That excludes Tom Wolf, the former Pa. Revenue Secretary and businessman who pledged $10 million of his own money to the race.

Carr, the Schwartz campaign’s new Finance Director, was a regional finance director for the DCCC for the past 2 and a half years. He oversaw the western and midwestern regions. Prior to that he served as FD of the Maryland Democratic Party.

Additionally, Schwartz’s son Jordan will join the campaign as a Senior Advisor. He left his position as deputy Chief of Staff to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

News that Schwartz had hired Montgomery was the catalyst for the initial burst of speculation in December that the Congresswoman was planning to run for Governor.

Prior to that, conventional wisdom had been that Schwartz would run for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Montgomery served as finance director for the Pa. Democratic Party during its successful 2012 cycle. Like Schwartz, she is a vocal advocate for women in politics. PoliticsPA named her one PA’s Rising Stars in 2012 and in 2010.

It’s the second high profile departure from Schwartz’s campaign. Communications Director Ressa Kossoff left in late July.

26 Responses

  1. You know what? I’m done with all of these bought politicians. People keep voting the same attorneys and morons into office and then wonder why nothing ever changes…DUH.

    I’m voting for JEWELL in 2014, I really like what this guy has been saying, and what he stands for, wish he would get more exposure.

  2. Jeremy-

    I expect that Rob will be the front runner once we get to polls that actually matter in early 2014, and candidates who haven’t been able to raise viable funds drop out.

  3. What is wrong with Schwartz’s campaign? A few months ago she lost her communications director and now she lost her finance director. Her house parties were a disaster. She hasn’t really been campaigning. What is her deal? One would think she never ran a campaign before.

    I would love to see an unbiased third party poll to see where all the candidates stand. Does anyone think Schwartz has fallen from the top tier? Is McGinty the top woman in the race? Is McCord now the front runner? Can Wolfe eek out a win?

  4. Perhaps Schwartz’s fundraising problems have more to do with the fact that her offices have ignored constituent requests for the past six months while they focus on the gubernatorial run? People who are pissed off don’t write checks.

  5. When the Schwartz campaign recently called me asking for support, I inquired if she favors a single payer health plan, like SB 400, see: for more. They asked me if it was a deal breaker, I said yes, but ……..and as I tried to elaborate they hung up on me!!!!! Same thing happened when they phoned my wife. Apparently Schwarz brooks no dissent and closes her door and mind to views she does not like.

  6. Seems to me that this is basic. Raising money in a competitive primary is not as easy as raising money in an uncontested seat in SEPA. Not to mention that your target donors are not the same. Fundraising 101.

  7. Delco Observer-

    The Lentz campaign was pretty pissed when they when house to house putting out GOTV door-knockers for the entire Dem slate, and discoverer that “team” Sestak had already put out door knockers with just Joe and not the rest of the Dem slate.

    Sestak purposely undermined the 2012 race for the 7th by refusing for months to announce he wasn’t running. This made it impossible for candidates to fundraise in late 2011, because donors were permitted to speculate that Sestak might jump in. Candidates announcing before Joe admitted he wasn’t running would be viewed by Sestak supporters as disrespecting Joe and not having his blessing.

    Sestak clearly enjoys having Dems lose the 7th so he can claim the mantle as the only one who can win it.

  8. Aubrey dodged a bullet. Schwartz treats her district staff like crap, she thinks everyone is out to get her (read: Josh Shapiro), and she’s down-right rude. Aubrey is good people- Schwartz, on the other hand, is a blood-sucker.

  9. @Truth To Power

    Until Sestak, no candidate for the 7th had raised over $100,000.

    Lentz was at a bit of a disadvantage because Sestak’s senate campaign was sucking up Delco money and volunteer resources that otherwise might have been available to help Lentz campaign.

    Badey raised about half a million.

    So, criticizing Aubrey and/or Lentz for raising 1.6 million is unreasonable. Also, as a fund raiser, Aubrey is NOT responsible for the candidate’s message, communications, field-strategy, volunteers, etc.

    Meehan got in because the Delco GOP machine was geared up to take back the seat in a GOP wave year. (Sestak had gotten in during a Dem wave in 2006).

  10. Truth2Powah is spot on! Aubrey SUCKS, as does the entire State Party from Burn down. They are arrogant assholes and not much else.

  11. Delco Observer-
    “this does seem like a Schwartz over-reaction to McCord bringing Richard Sestak aboard” ???

    You must be smoking something if you think there is any connection. I think it’s you who is over-reacting in thinking Richard Sestak is actually an asset to McCord’s campaign.

  12. @PoliticsPA Troll – thank you for that – I couldn’t have said it any better myself! Hear, hear!

  13. There are way too many candidates. This is the downside of not having more party control like Republicans. I’m not suggesting an uncontested primary, but the ability to keep it to two or three candidates would be really helpful.

  14. No good reason to throw Aubrey Montgomery down the stairs like she is,,,this does seem like a Schwartz over-reaction to McCord bringing Richard Sestak aboard…such knee-jerk reaction by Schwartz and her team does not speak well for any ability to cope with adversity as a cheif executive.

  15. Former Lower Merion Constable Eric Bradway is running for Governor on the Democratic Ticket against Tommy {Sandusky} Corbett

  16. I was in the foxhole with her one cycle and can say with absolute certainty that she is one of the best FDs I know.

  17. Aubrey is smart and hardworking. I hope Rob McCord hires her – she would be an asset to his campaign or any campaign for that matter.

  18. This story and rumor has been cycled and promoted by someone whose name is similar to mine. All I have to say is Katie McGinty should be embarrassed by him.

  19. Oh good Lord – must we really kick Aubrey in the teeth? She’s a bright young woman who works hard for her party and her candidates. She doesn’t deserve that sort of a rant.

  20. @Truth To Power

    I just have to say that your comment is totally classless. Its one thing to attack a candidate because they put themselves out there to the public but to attack a staffer in the manner that you did is pretty low. Most staffers are just working class citizens trying to make a living and build a career. Now I don’t know Aubrey at all but its not as if she was removed for criminal or unethical behavior. Your put-downs and rant against her just make you look jealous and small.

  21. Aubrey Montgomery is one of the most over-rated fundraising professionals in PA. She got her start as the Finance Director for Philly DA Seth Williams in 2009 – he won his race, but not because of the money he raised. In fact, Williams only raised about 50K during the 2009 Primary Cycle, about 1/5 of what Williams’ main competitor (Dan McCaffrey) raised.

    She then went on to become the Finance Director for Congressional Candidate Bryan Lentz in 2010. Bryan raised about 1.6 Million, which isn’t insignificant, but it was only HALF of what Pat Meehan raised, who, despite being an incredibly weak candidate in a 50/50 district of Ds to Rs, DESTROYED Lentz with a 55-44% victory in an open seat that had previously been held by Joe Sestak.

    She then moved on to the State Democratic Party, and while they saw minor electoral gains during her tenure, they didn’t see an increase in fundraising when she was there…and the minor electoral gains were the result of a broader Democratic wave rather than her fundraising results.

    Aubrey has had her fundraising incompetence hidden by working on campaigns whose outcomes have been dictated by political winds, not money. Schwartz saw this and took action.

  22. Schwartz should be ashamed that her team is telling people they are “showing Montgomery the door.” That is a totally classless move from an wildly entitled bunch.

    If Schwartz can’t run a campaign, how can she expect to run the state? God help us if the DC elite pick our Democratic nominee.

  23. This is bad news for Schwartz. A regional finance director in DC who has never raised in the state? She is the candidate of DC, promoted by DC, and funded by DC.

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