Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pa progressives have their say

At a weekend summit in the Capital City state progressives make their picks for a Democratic ticket.

Pa progressives have their say

After listening to debates among Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, hundreds of Pennsylvania progressive voters have voiced their choice for a ticket to run against Gov. Corbett and Lt. Gov. Cawley this fall.

Winners were former state Environmental Secretary John Hanger for governor and current Harrisburg City Council member Brad Koplinksi for lieutenant governor.

Hanger drew 31.5 percent support among seven candidates. Koplinski got 59.7 percent among seven candidates. 

The strawpoll votes came during a weekend Progressive Summit sponsored by Keystone Progress, a statewide non-profit, at a downtown Harrisburg hotel. They offer stark contrasts to statewide public polling which suggests a Hanger/Koplinski ticket isn't likely.

An F&M poll last week showed Hanger with 1 percent support among statewide Democratic voters. A Harper poll last week showed Koplinski at 4 percent.

Both polls say if the Democratic primiary was held now (it's actually May 20), the ticket to face Corbet/Cawley in Novermber would be Wolf/Paterno -- the York biz-guy Tom Wolf and former Penn State assistant football coach (and son of you know who) Jay Paterno.

How did Wolf do with progressives? Third among seven with 22.8 percent. State Treasurer Rob McCord was second, 24 percent; Katie McGinty fourth, 10.9 percent; Allyson Schwartz fifth, 9.4 percent; Jo Ellen Litz sixth, .4 percent; Jack Wagner (who did not attend) last with .1 percent.

How did Paterno do wiith progressives? Tied for last with state Rep. Brendan Neuman (who did not attend), both with .6 percent. Philly state Sen. Mike Stack was second, 22.7 percent; Brenda Alton, an aide to former Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson, was third, 10.4 percent; former Johnstown Congressman Mark Critz was fourth, 4.5 percent; Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith was fifth, 1.3 percent.

But don't take all this to mean progressives are way out of step in a state not known for progressiveness. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday morning suggests progressive growth on at least two issues: 57 percent of state voters now support same-sex marriage and 85 percent support legalizing medical marijuana.

So the times -- they are a changin'?




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

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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