Former Erie U.S. rep passes on governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper is not going to join the rush-hour traffic of Democrats exploring campaigns for governor of Pennsylvania, and instead will run for Erie County Executive.

She issued a statement to the Erie Reader Monday night confirming her plans; the development also was reported by the website PoliticsPa.

Kathy Dahlkemper

“I would like to confirm and clarify my plans. I intend to run for Erie County Executive this year,” Dahlkemper wrote to the weekly newspaper. “I have spent recent months pursuing various options, including a run for [Pennsylvania] Governor. I have decided that serving the people of northwest Pennsylvania as county executive affords me the greatest opportunity to help advance the region I love so much.”

Dahlkemper, 55, was elected to the House in 2008, upsetting seven-term GOP Rep. Phil English. She joined the Blue Dog Coalition, an organization of moderate Democrats in the House, and was defeated in the 2010 midterms, a “wave” year for Republicans, by car dealer Mike Kelly of Butler County. Dahlkemper's votes in favor of Obamacare made her vulnerable.

Kelly was reelected easily to a second term last November.

 Former state environmental secretary John Hanger has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Others expressing interest in the race include: U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Jenkintown, Montgomery County, state Treasurer Rob McCord (also a Montco resident), businessman and former state revenue secretary Tom Wolf, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Tom Knox, the millionaire insurance executive who finished second in the 2007 Philadelphia mayoral primary.