Tom’s Club: Pennsylvania’s Popular Gubernatorial Name

Wolf CorbettPennsylvania has been governed by a “Tom” or “Thomas” for nearly 31 years collectively since statehood – more than any other name – and will add to that total in 2015.

In the first head-to-head public opinion poll conducted after Pennsylvania’s primary nearly two weeks ago, a Rassmussen survey finds Democratic challenger Tom Wolf leading one-term incumbent Tom Corbett by a 20-point margin, 51 to 31 percent.

Democrats have been favored to pick up the GOP-held seat for some time with the big question being which candidate would emerge victorious from the party’s primary.

Wolf answered that question emphatically during the closing few months of the campaign and ended up recording a 40.3-point primary win over U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz in the four-candidate field.

As a result, Pennsylvania voters will be electing a “Tom” one way or another in 2014 – and the Keystone State should be getting quite used to “Governor Tom” by now.

In fact, Pennsylvania has been run by more Toms (and Thomases) than any Dick, Harry, John, William or governor with any other name over the last 225+ years.

Smart Politics tabulated service data from the National Governors Association and found that through Sunday a “Tom” or “Thomas” has served as governor of Pennsylvania for 11,067 days since statehood, or slightly more than 30.5 years collectively.

Toms have served as governor for approximately three months more than the seven “Johns” who have governed Pennsylvania since statehood.

Democrat-Republican John Shulze and Republicans John Geary, John Hartranft, John Tener, John Fisher, John Bell, and John Fine governed the Keystone State for a total of 10,988 days.

Coming in third are the seven Williams at 8,938 days: Democratic-Republican William Findlay, Whig William Johnston, Democrats William Bigler and William Packer, and Republicans William Stone, William Sproul, and Bill Scranton.

Overall, 18 of the 47 Pennsylvania governors since statehood have been named Tom/Thomas, John, or William totaling 30,993 days and counting, or 36.7 percent of the time.

Next in service are the two governors named Robert (Democrats Robert Pattison and Bob Casey) who were in office 5,838 days, followed by the three Eds (Republicans Edwin Stuart and Edward Martin and Democrat Ed Rendell) at 5,826 days and the three Georges (Democratic-Republican George Wolf and Democrats George Earle and George Leader) at 5,117 days.

As for the Toms, Federalist Thomas Mifflin was the first, governing for 11 years, 2 months, 16 days between 1788 and 1799. (Note: Excluding Thomas Wharton, who was the first President of the Supreme Executive Council after the 1776 Constitution).

Mifflin was succeeded by Democratic-Republican Thomas McKean who led the state for 9 years, 3 days from 1799 to 1808.

It would be more than 185 years before the next Tom was sworn into office, but they have been well represented since.

Republican Tom Ridge served 6 years, 8 months, 18 days from 1995 to 2001 when he resigned to become the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Governor Corbett, meanwhile, has been in office 1,230 days through Sunday, but will add at least another 233 days to his total through January 20th of next year, at which point either he or Tom Wolf will continue to pad their collective Governor Tom record.

When Tom Wolf/Corbett ends his term in January 2019, Toms will have run the state for 12,756 days, or more than 15 percent of the 84,405 days since statehood at that time.

And as for the Tom vs. Tom matchup in 2014?

It has been over 160 years since the last (and only) time two major party candidates with the same first name squared off in a Pennsylvania gubernatorial election.

In 1851, Democrat William Bigler defeated incumbent Whig William Johnston by 2.3 points.

If Wolf is elected governor this November, Pennsylvania will move up into a tie with Alabama for the third most governors named Tom or Thomas across the country throughout history.

Maryland has had seven statehood governors named Tom or Thomas with six in Ohio.

Alabama has had five while Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina have had four each.

Originally posted here. Reprinted with permission.

June 2nd, 2014 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Governor, Top Stories | 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Tom’s Club: Pennsylvania’s Popular Gubernatorial Name”

  1. PAINDY1 says:

    Will the discussions between UPMC and Highmark be as rigged and staged as a Johnny Depp PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN SWORD FIGHT?? Keep the Corbett Team away from the healthcare honey jar!!

  2. PAINDY1 says:

    Can Tom Corbett’s team be trusted to negotiate a healthcare agreement between UPMC and Highmark? The conflicts are glaring. Kathleen Kane keep the Corbett Team out of Healthcare honey pot!!! Governor creates a team to address UPMC, Highmark dispute – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  3. PAINDY1 says:

    THE BRABENDER-CORBETT CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD OR WESTERN PA HEALTH CARE WARS: As has been often reported, there is a war in Western PA between Highmark and UPMC. These large institutions control the majority of the Western PA healthcare market: UPMC from the provider side and Highmark from the insurance side. The public is being scared to death. It wants open access to health care providers in the region; employers want cost containment. While UPMC and Highmark are both state-regulated, standing in the honey pot of this controversy are Corbett administration officials and advisors. Gromis-Baker is the wife of Scotty Baker, the head of Government affairs for World Class Jeff Romoff of UPMC. The rumored strategic political advisor and producer of those wonderful Highmark ads telling the truth about the UPMC system is the Brabender-Cox team supposedly led by former long-time Corbett Chief of Staff Baby Brain Nutt. Considering the number of taxpayers and voters that buy health insurance in Western PA, isn’t this conflict of interest, breach of the public trust and lack of transparency by the Corbett Administration far worse than Christie’s Bridgegate scandal? Quite frankly, I’m sick of the Post-Gazette, asking Corbett to solve this healthcare war, while both sides buy thousands and thousands of dollars of ads. If what I’ve been hearing is true, the Tom Corbett Administration cannot resolve the UPMC-Highmark wars, until Tom and Sue Corbett stop allowing their top political advisors to enrich themselves at the expense of Tom Corbett’s very survival and that of the voters and taxpayers in Western Pennsylvania. It will probably take some firings to resolve these terrible conflict of interests in the Corbett Administration, but as Brabender said himself about Christie, “sometimes the public likes a tough guy.”

  4. PAINDY1 says:

    I hear there is a little budget crisis in Harrisburg. Maybe Acting Governor Brabender should leave his Virginia horse farm and do some damage control here in the Keystone State. I am for Government FOR THE PEOPLE, ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE; NOT UNELECTED GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLICAN CONSULTING CLASS! PABudget: “We may actually receive less money than last year.” – Keystone Politics

  5. PAINDY1 says:

    HERE IS ACTING GOVERNOR BRABENDER ON CNN SPINNING FOR RGA Chair CHRIS CHRISTIE: Our Dark Prince declares that he does crisis management (Hello-there is a crisis in Harrisburg and 111 State St.). Our Acting Governor Brabender likes bullies who show humility; Sounds like World Class UPMC Jeff Romoff, recent political marriage partner of Tom Corbett.

  6. Alistar Rothschild says:

    Eric Bradway Former Lower Merion Constable is running a Write In Campaign for Governor of Pennsylvania

  7. Larry says:

    I heard that the last Governor with a beard was Pennypacker. Oh, how progressive the Dems are!

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