Pa. governor wannabes field a full team

Governor's Race Pawlowsk
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski speaks during a rally on Hamilton Street as he formally announces his bid for Pennsylvania governor, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 in Allentown, Pa. (AP Photo/Express-Times Photo, Matt Smith)

WITH ALLENTOWN Mayor Ed Pawlowski's entry this week into the race for governor, the Democratic team lining up to take on Tom Corbett now numbers 11.

Yep. Seven announced, one expected, three considering.

More candidates than run in open-seat years. A number suggesting wide belief that anybody beats Corbett.

And although 11 is enough to field a football team, none of the players or possible walk-ons seems suited for contact sport - political or otherwise.

The team I see plays softball. Maybe even slow-pitch.

So, sports fans, welcome to the game. Now here's the lineup for your Pennsylvania Democratic governor wannabes.

Leading off and in leftfield is U.S. Rep. Allyson "I got it" Schwartz.

She's a good first-pitch hitter; would like to play a different position.

Batting second, playing centerfield (not really right, not really left) is state Treasurer Rob McCord.

He's unannounced but expected soon. And his fundraising prowess can help him cover lots of ground - once he's in the game.

Hitting third and playing second base is York County biz-whiz, former state Revenue Secretary Tom "the $10 million man" Wolf.

He's mobile, versatile, a real money player.

Batting cleanup and catching is the mayor of Allentown, "The Big Pawlowski." He's sturdy and strong behind the plate but has lots of catching up to do.

Batting fifth and playing first base is former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie "Stretch" McGinty.

Her big-league contacts and good field vision make her a real prospect.

Hitting sixth and in rightfield (he's an Evangelical minister; I'm not sure where else to put him) is Cumberland County's Max Myers.

Needs help from angels in the outfield.

In the seven spot and playing third base is Philly state Sen. Mike Stack.

He's rangy and quick and in his prime, but he's still considering; if he gets in the game he needs to show some serious stick or the odds are stacked against him.

Batting eighth at shortstop is Centre County state Rep. Scott "Turn Two" Conklin.

He's no rookie. He was the Democratic lieutenant-governor candidate in 2010. Really, he was. And although he's said to be considering a run for governor, there are those who think he'll turn two. Get it? Turn two? As in run for the two-spot again?


Hitting ninth and pitching is former state Environmental Protection Secretary (yes, another one) John Hanger.

Nobody throws more at Corbett. Nobody pitches more issues. Nobody tosses out more policy ideas. Nobody hurls like Hanger hurls. He just can't seem to get any calls.

Rounding out your Democratic team are two backup players.

There's pinch-hitter/pinch-runner Jo Ellen Litz, a veteran Lebanon County commissioner.

She's an announced candidate. Never mind she's from an uber-red central Pennsylvania county that's known for baloney. She's ready to play - in a pinch.

Finally, way out there warming up in the bullpen is former Pittsburgh City Council president, former state senator, former gubernatorial candidate and former state Auditor General Jack "put me in, coach" Wagner.

He's the only western Pennsylvanian seriously threatening to play. As such, he could enter the game late and maybe pick up a win.

So there's the team. Get out your scorecard.

We'll see who CATCHES on, who HITS it off with voters, who touches all the Democratic BASES, who plays without making ERRORS.

Then one emerges to take on Corbett. And the game changes to hardball.