Friday, August 1, 2014
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Obama and PA Dems

Politico reports that President Obama intends to campaign against GOP governors in states that he has carried, including Gov. Corbett in PA.

Obama and PA Dems

The news service Politico.com is reporting that President Obama intends to raise money and campaign next year in nine states that he carried in 2008 and again in 2012 where Republican governors are facing reelection.

Pennsylvania, of course, is one of those states. The others are Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Iowa and New Mexico.

You can read Politico's story here.

The issue is a dicey one given the President's falling popularity and the uncertainty of where his polling numbers might be by next summer and fall.

Politico,for example, quotes Ed Rendell saying, "If it were right now, I don't know that any Democrat running for governor would like the president involved."

Gov. Corbett is widely reported as the most vulnerable of all governors facing reelection in 2014. This is a big part of the reason no fewer than eight Democrats are poised to compete in a May primary for the right to oppose him.

What's unclear is whether whoever emerges from that primary would benefit from Obama's involvement.

Certainly money would be welcome. And turn-out-the-vote efforts in Democratic-rich Philly and the southeast wouldn't hurt.

But a weakened president in a mid-term election is among Corbett's strongest assets. As I've written before, in PA's last 19 gubernatorial elections, state voters went with the candidate of the party NOT in the White House 18 times.

(The sole exception was Gov. Thornburgh's reelection in 1982 when Ronald Reagan was president.)

The latest Franklin & Marshall College poll  of PA voters (end of October) shows Obama's job approval rating at 39 percent. But I'd note that's higher that Sen. Casey (29 percent), Sen. Toomey (22 percent) and, of course, Corbett (19 percent). Plus, as mentioned, that was then; who knows what such ratings will show by mid-2014.

So it's too soon to say if an Obama presence helps PA Dems in 2014. But the history of PA voting suggests the president might want to focus on those other states that he carried.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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