Allyson Schwartz Eyes Pennsylvania Governor’s Race

Allyson Schwartz, a five-term Democratic congresswoman representing a suburban Philadelphia district, is seriously eyeing a bid for governor of Pennsylvania next year.

Word of Schwartz’s potential candidacy was confirmed late last night by Rachel Magnuson, her chief of staff, at a meeting of the party’s state committee in Hershey. 

Schwartz, who was reportedly encouraged by a recent poll conducted by the Democratic Governors Association showing that she could mount a strong challenge to Gov. Tom Corbett (R), has been seriously considering a candidacy for several months.

A recent survey conducted by Franklin & Marshall’s Center for Opinion Research, found that only 26% of registered voters in Pennsylvania give Gov. Corbett “excellent” or “good” marks on his job performance — the lowest approval rating for a sitting governor in the history of the poll.  A similar poll released last month by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found that only 38 percent of the state’s registered voters approve of Corbett’s performance.

Schwartz, who sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was overwhelmingly reelected in November with more 69 percent of the vote.

If she enters the fray, the 64-year-old Schwartz, a close ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will undoubtedly be a formidable candidate, but could face a crowded field for the Democratic nomination.

According to PoliticsPA, several other potential candidates are looking closely at the race, including ex-U.S. Navy three star Admiral Joe Sestak, the former two-term congressman who spectacularly dislodged the late Sen. Arlen Specter in the state’s hotly-contested 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary before losing to archconservative Pat Toomey in the general election, and Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, who hails from Schwartz’s home county.

Former U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper of Erie, who lost her congressional seat in 2010 after serving only a single term, and wealthy York businessman Tom Wolf, a 63-year-old former Revenue Secretary during Ed Rendell’s administration, are also reportedly thinking of getting into the race, while two other dark-horse candidates — John Hanger, a policy-wonkish former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary who officially entered the race in late November, and political novice Max Myers, a Cumberland County pastor — are already actively seeking the party’s nomination.

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