Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty (D), who has pushed economic development and trimmed government in his city, was in the Philadelphia area Thursday meeting with prominent pols and operatives to express his interest in the party's gubernatorial nomination in 2010.
Doherty recently commissioned a statewide poll that showed 54 percent of Democratic voters had no favorite in the impending governor's race. Perceived front-runner Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County executive and a favorite of Gov. Rendell's network; Philadelphia businessman and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Tom Knox; and state Auditor General Jack Wagner of Pittsburgh; and Doherty himself were all bunched together between 10 and 20 percent in hypotheticals.
(The poll did not measure Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel, who just last week told supporters that he wants to run for governor as the true progressive.) Onorato and Wagner are classic "Casey" Democrats who oppose abortion rights.
"That's one of the big hurdles Onorato faces in the Southeast," said one uncommitted Democratic insider who met with Doherty and found him impressive.
A Catholic, Doherty supports abortion rights, often a litmus test for party liberals - many of whom say the enthusiastically backed Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in 2006 despite his opposition to abortion rights, and now want/deserve a pro-choice nominee for governor.
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