Thursday, July 30, 2015

Corbett 2.0?

The Allentown Call reports Tuesday that Gov. Corbett has no plans to break tradition of PA's two-term guvs; not really a shock, but news nonetheless.

Corbett 2.0?


And so it begins.

One week after Election Day 2012 comes a not-surpirising report that Gov. Corbett intends to seek a second term in 2014.

Nothing official, mind you, but no ambiguity either.

The Allentown Morning Call quotes Corbett as recently saying, "There's been a tradition since [former Gov.] Milton Shapp" of governors serving two terms, "and I have no plans to break that tradition...This is not a formal announcement, but I have no plans to break that tradition."

This actually sounds exactly like a formal announcement. I mean how does one not break the tradition of serving two terms without actually running for a second term?

Shapp was the first governor allowed to seek a second, four-year term. He did so and won in 1974. Every governor, regardless of party, has won a second term since.

That means Democrats (and some Republicans) pee-oed at Corbett for (pick your issue) cuts in education, cuts in human services, questions over handling of the Sandusky case, failure to privatize liquor and wine sales, now must start to decide whether Corbett is vulnerable to a GOP primary (I doubt it) and/or vulnerable in a General Election.

There are pluses and minuses here. Corbett did exactly what he said he'd do in terms of cutting government spending and not raising taxes. Expect the same governance going into the next election.

On the other hand, he's been less than a political leader, offering no visible effort to convey his goals, plans or direction on a host of issues beyond not raising taxes, and picking and backing GOP statewide candidates that, in succession, crashed and burned.

His relationship with the Legislature, especially the Senate, is suspect despite the fact the Legislature's Republican. And his dealings with the press have so far been more adversarial than proactive.

Still, there's plenty of time to reshape his image and reload for 2014. Look for more aggressive personal leadership on pressing issues such as pension reform and transportation funding.

As to Democrats, several need to decide whether it's worth the risk to take on the "tradition" of the state regarding incumbent guvs before they begin the slog of garnering support, raising a ton of money and shaping a message to unseat Corbett.

The Call mentions several, including Sen. Casey (I doubt it), state Treasurer Rob McCord, Montco Commissioner Josh Shapiro, Philly biz guy Tom Knox, former Rendell Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

I'd add, and keep an eye on, Joe Sestak who beat Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary before narrowly losing (51-49) to Pat Toomey in the General Election.

Bottom line? Corbett's in; Democrats are looking for their best shot to get him out.


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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