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Featherman: Could Fattah's woes torpedo Wolf's chances?

Could a corruption case surrounding a beleaguered Congressman’s son and former aide/political adviser sink Democratic nominee Tom Wolf’s chances to win the PA governor’s race?

Featherman: Could Fattah's woes torpedo Wolf's chances?

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington as the 113th Congress began. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington as the 113th Congress began. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) AP

Could a corruption case surrounding a beleaguered Congressman’s son and former aide/political adviser sink Democratic nominee Tom Wolf’s chances to win the PA governor’s race?

That’s the million-dollar question several political insiders are asking right now.

While appearing to be a far-fetched outcome, the controversy surrounding 2nd Congressional U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah does have potentially serious consequences for others relying upon Fattah’s legendary campaign day street operation for support.

One such benefactor of a successful Fattah election day effort would be Wolf, who is leading in the polls over incumbent GOP Gov. Tom Corbett by as many as 25 points. In that poll, released yesterday by Franklin & Marshall, the Corbett campaign questioned the methodology, with Corbett campaign manager Mike Barley posting a statement on Twitter saying “Interesting that Tom Wolf's wife is on the board of trustees at F&M College, then junk poll comes out showing Wolf leading? hmmm #pagov.”

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A poll released earlier this month by Magellan Strategies BR and commissioned by conservative Website Keystone Report showed Corbett within a 12 point striking distance.

So how does Fattah play into this?

With very few competitive races on the Philadelphia ballot other than the governor’s race, a low voter turnout – last year’s general turnout was just 11.4% -- could spell danger for Wolf’s campaign.

While Democrats outnumber Republicans by approximately 8-1 in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania by over 1 million voters – a low voter turnout will require Wolf to turn out the vote in his bread and butter strongholds in order to become the first candidate to ever defeat an incumbent governor in Pennsylvania.

Philly GOP Executive Director Joe DeFelice believes that voters in Fattah’s district have been turned off by a number of corruption cases that have emerged over the past year. “In the last year alone, the following people that represent all of part of the 2nd Congressional have been involved in some type of investigation, specifically Reps Brown, Brownlee, Waters, Bishop, Miranda, Evans, Sen Washington and now Congressman Fattah,” DeFelice emailed me, adding, “Others like, Rep Delissio, have been subject to ethical questions about their residency.  This, my friends, is as a friend coined it to me, ‘The arrogance of Incumbency.’”

Can that voter fatigue turn into an advantage for Corbett and some other Republicans who might be riding his coattails?

U-Turn wanted to find out. So in an exclusive one-on-one interview today with U-Turn, Fattah’s Republican opponent, Armond James, spoke about why he has been silent about Fattah until now. The interview can be viewed here.

Various telephone attempts to reach Fattah or any live spokesperson at either his Philadelphia and Washington offices today were unsuccessful.

Contact John Featherman at John@Featherman.com

John Featherman
About this blog
John Featherman is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about politics and consumer-related issues. Reach John at john@featherman.com.

John Featherman
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