Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Pa. Dem leaders want no contested gov primary in '14

Pennsylvania Democrats should avoid an open primary in the 2014 governor's race, says state party chairman Jim Burn.

Pa. Dem leaders want no contested gov primary in '14

FILE - In this May 13, 2010 file photo, Allegheny County Democratic Chairman Jim Burn is seen in Pittsburgh. He is now chairman of the state Democratic Party. (AP Photo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pam Panchak, File)
FILE - In this May 13, 2010 file photo, Allegheny County Democratic Chairman Jim Burn is seen in Pittsburgh. He is now chairman of the state Democratic Party. (AP Photo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pam Panchak, File) AP

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Pennsylvania Democrats are focused on re-electing President Obama, of course, but some of the most interesting sidebars among the state’s delegates, donors and activists at the national convention revolve around hopes of taking out Gov. Corbett in 2014.

“We have a real shot,” said state chairman Jim Burn, a Pittsburgh lawyer. “This is the most unpopular governor in the United States.”

 Corbett’s approval rating was in the low 30s in recent polls. He supported requiring women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion, and has slashed spending on social programs and education. “He thinks like a prosecutor in black and white, but as an executive you live in a gray world,” Burn said.

The chairman added that state party leaders agree it would be wise to unite behind a single candidate in the 2014 gubernatorial primary, to avoid an expensive brawl and conserve resources for the fight against Corbett in a state that historically does not turn out incumbent chief executives.  

“There are a lot of conversations taking place,” Burn said. “We have a responsibility to vet this before the primary. Ideally we don’t want a contested primary.”

Among the Democrats earning buzz as potential governors: U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; State Treasurer Rob McCord; Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski; Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro; Mayor Nutter; state Sen. Daylin Leach.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, the party nominee for Senate in 2010, has begun hiring a small number of staffers to explore a governor’s race, Democratic sources say. Sestak brushed off a question about that in an email exchange with the Inquirer, making a joke – but neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

Millionaire businessman Tom Knox, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2007 Democratic primary for Philadelphia mayor, has expressed interested in running for governor.

Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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