McGinty: trouble for Allyson

Kathleen A. McGinty (David Swanson / Staff Photographer)

When Philly native Katie McGinty, a former state environmental protection secretary with national credentials, told the Harrisburg Patriot-News this week she's a Democratic candidate for governor in 2014 she also sent a message to Democratic U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

In a nutshell, that message is Schwartz will not have a clean shot at the critical statewide female vote or the essential southeastern Pennsylvania Democratic base vote.

In addition, McGinty, who served as an environmental advisor to both Al Gore and President Clinton, automatically becomes a Schwartz competitor for national, state and local campaign funds from activist women donors and groups.

Here's the newspaper's report on McGinty's candidacy.

“I'm definitely in,” McGinty told The Patriot, “I've gone ahead and I've secured significant financial commitments to my campaign, the better part of $1 million, and I quit my day job.”

McGinty, who also has formed an exploratory committee, was a senior vice president for Weston Solutions, a West Chester-based environmental firm with 1,800 employees and lots of government contracts.

She's a St. Joe's grad with a Columbia law degree who has long been popular with statewide Democrats.

"I'm not your off-the-shelf candidate,” she told the newspaper, “I come from a working class family, so for me fighting for those jobs is going to be number one. On the other hand, I have a deep and long commitment to the environment. [That's a] pretty damn unique combination.”

Her entry into the race can't help the cause of fellow Democratic candidate John Hanger, either. He, too, is a former state environmental protection secretary. Both served under Gov. Rendell.

A woman candidate would appear to be a distinct advantage for Democrats next year given Gov. Corbett's evident "gender gap."

Quinnipiac University polling earlier this year shows 45 percent of women registered to vote disapprove of the governor, compared to 37 percent of men.

So the question becomes which woman, McGinty or Schwartz, has greater statewide appeal to the Democratic base. That's unclear at the moment. But what's certain is Schwartz no longer has a clean shot.

In addition to Schwartz, Hanger and McGinty, other announced candidates (so far) are wealthy York biz-guy Tom Wolf and Central Pennsylvania minister Max Myers.