Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Yet Another Dem for Guv?

Still a year away from the Democratic primary for governor, yet another Democrat is expression interest in running for the office. We're now in double-digit territory.

Yet Another Dem for Guv?

File photo: State Rep. H. Scott Conklin (D - Centre County)
File photo: State Rep. H. Scott Conklin (D - Centre County)

And so still a year away from the Democratic primary for governor, yet another Democratic name is surfacing as a potential candidate to challenge for the chance to take on Gov. Corbett in 2014.

The Centre Daily Times reports that state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre County, is considering the race after, according to an aide, being flooded with social media requests to do so.

If he does run, an aide says his focus will be on education, especially early childhood and higher education.

Conklin, you might remember (actually, I'd be stunned if you do), was the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2010. He was on the ticket with Democratic nominee (Anyone? Anyone?) Dan Onorato of Pittsburgh.

Conklin is a former Centre County commissioner who's been in the state House since elected in 2006.

But he's not a cookie-cutter Democrat. When he ran with Onorato in 2010 he told me he's pro-life and pro-gun, which is not unusual for a Dem from the center of the state. In fact at the time, while chatting about guns, he said, "I only own 12...I'm an embarrassment to my neighborhood."

My favorite memory of Conklin, however, was his short-live candidacy for Lieutenant Governor way back in 2002.

It was a nine-way race eventually won by the late Catherine Baker Knoll. At an LG candidates' debate, the rhetoric and rambling answers created such a disjointed and dispiriting feel that Conklin retired from the race DURING the debate.

I've praised his political judgement ever since.

So maybe he's actually running for LG again. If not, he potentially joins a double-digit and growing field of Democrats mentioned, considering or aleady announced for a run at Corbett.

You know the names: McCord, Schwartz, Sestak, Shapiro, Wolf, Pawlowski, McGinty, Knox, announced candidates Hanger and Myers and anybody I've missed or already forgotten.

Long way to go, though, and you can bet that even as the list grows, it's sure to shrink by a year from now.

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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