Philly Democrats, Drexel to host gubernatorial primary debate

It only seems like the Democratic candidates for governor will face each other in a million debates between now and the May 20 primary.

Whatever the true number turns out to be, Philadelphia’s Democratic City Committee and Drexel University are determined to host the last one, eight days before registered Democrats go to the polls to choose their party’s nominee to take on Gov. Corbett, a Republican.

The televised debate will be held on Drexel’s campus May 12. Veteran journalist Larry Kane is scheduled to moderate the exchange, which will be available to all TV stations in Pennsylvania via satellite.

U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city Democratic chairman, noted that the party’s ward leader sponsored a clash between then-Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before the 2008 Pennsylvania primary.

“This last showdown is just as important for the future of Philadelphia and will be, I am confident, just as exciting,” Brady said in a statement.

An independent TV production company, Total Production Services, will handle the event.

Many debates are tied to one station or another, but this independent project has drawn interest from across the state, Kane said in an interview. “There’s chance to create a statewide network and make the last debate of the campaign a formidable one,” he said.

Drexel said that candidates Allyson Schwartz, Rob McCord, Tom Wolf, John Hanger, Ed Pawlowski, Katie McGinty and Jo Ellen Litz are expected to participate.