Gov. Corbett’s campaign web site has crackled to life again, with a rebranded splash page designed to get supporters’ email addresses, recruit volunteers and accept donations.
It is a sure sign that the governor is warming up his political organization ahead of the 2014 reelection campaign, which has already attracted at least seven Democratic candidates eager to challenge him.
“We’re looking forward to having a conversation with the voters and to push back on the attacks against the governor,” said Mike Barley, recently hired as campaign manager. “We haven’t been active at all on the campaign level and we’re going to ramp it up. It’ll be good for the governor.”
Not only has the opposition party been beating him up, but Corbett is in negotiation with lawmakers (both chambers are in Republican control) to get key items of his agenda enacted: transportation funding, privatizing the state liquor system, cuts in business taxes, changes to control the cost of public-employee pensions – and, of course, the 2013-14 budget. It’s a busy spring. As the governor has often said, legislating isn’t always pretty, but he expects some victories by the legislature’s summer recess.
Expect the reelection campaign to show that Corbett has kept his promise not to raise taxes and did the hard but unglamorous work necessary to overcome a deficit and put Pennsylvania into better fiscal shape than many other states.
“Doing the right things in the right way,” Barley summarized. “We’re going to be talking about why the governor made some of the tough decisions he did, and how those are making the state better.”
The website will be built out more soon, campaign officials said.
Since nothing goes uncontested for long in today's politics, Democrats had their own take on the governor's record.
"Governor Corbett will have to defend his record of failure and controversy," said Marc Eisenstein, spokesoman for the state Democratic Party. " Governor Corbett has cut education, thrown Pennsylvania's most vulnerable off our healthcare rolls, and insulted women, unemployed Pennsylvanians and now Latinos."
The last is a reference to remarks Corbett has made about legislation requiring ultrasounds before abortions, intimations that some jobs are going unfilled because unemployment benefits are too generous and many people cannot pass a drug test. Finally, in a story that broke Wednesday, Corbett was filmed at a recent forum sponsored by Al Dia newspaper in Philadelphia responding in the negative when asked if he has any Latinos on his staff. "If you can find us one, please let me know," he said.
The video, produced by Al Dia, was circulated by the liberal organization Think Progress.