McCord enters governor's race with populist blast at Corbett (updated)

Rob McCord, PA treasurer, during a DRPA meeting today. August 25, 2010 (Sarah J. Glover / Staff Photographer) EDITOR'S NOTE: DRPA-H DRPA meeting

State Treasurer Rob McCord (D) struck a defiantly populist tone in his gubernatorial campaign kickoff Tuesday, saying that Gov. Corbett has pursued policies benefitting corporations and “the 1 percent” while cutting education and safety-net spending that benefits the working class.

He promised to “evict” Corbett and said that Democrats are much better stewards of the economy than the “dumb Republicans who try to govern by talking points, never created a job in their lives, don't know how markets work, don't know how pensions work, never touched anything more than crony capitalism.”

McCord, 54, spoke to a crowd of about 100 supporters at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell. Among them were dozens of members of Teamsters Local 107 and the Laborer’s Union. Henry Nicholas, president of Philadelphia-based Local 1199c of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees said that his union was throwing its weight behind McCord.

The Corbett campaign did not seem impressed at the new entrant. “Rob McCord joins a crowded field…that continues to push the same failed tax-and-spend agenda that resulted in a $4.2 billion budget deficit and double-digit unemployment,” said campaign manager Mike Barley.

[UPDATE: Pennsyvlania's unemployment rate has not reached double digits since a 23-month period between February 1982 and December 1983, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. (It peaked at 12.9 percent in March 1983). A Republican, Richard Thornburgh, was governor of Pennsyvlania at the time. Ronald Reagan was president.]

McCord, who lives in Bryn Mawr, is the eighth Democrat to declare for the party’s primary to take on Corbett, who polls show is vulnerable. He joins U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, also of Montgomery County; businessman and former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf of York County; former environmental secretaries Katie McGinty and John Hanger; Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski; Cumberland County minister Max Myers; and Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.

A graduate of Harvard and Penn’s Wharton School, McCord was a congressional aide, head of a policy think-tank in Washington, and had a lengthy career as a venture capitalist who backed technology and life-sciences start-up companies. He also was head of the Eastern Technology Council, which has been described as a chamber of commerce for tech and bio firms.

McCord said his conviction that government can be a source of good comes from his modest upbringing as the son of a single mother and the role that public education and college financial aid played in his success.

He said his mom, who is deceased, disapproved of his choice to enter business. She worried that he would become too focused on money, McCord said, and he promised to return to public service.

He was elected state treasurer in 2008, and reelected last year.

“So to a certain extent, I have a mandate,” McCord said. “I’m just doing what I told my mom I would do.