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Crowded Democratic primary field underlines Corbett's re-election woes

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July 16, 2013

By Maresa Strano


HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's vulnerability to losing re-election in 2014 has grown in recent months. Outside race predictions by analysts at The Washington Post and Governing reflect the Republican governor's increasingly weak position heading into the election season, when his abysmal approval ratings and state Democrats, rabid for an ousting after years under a Republican trifecta, will finally be put to the test.[1]

A survey taken July 1-2 by Harper Polling showed that just under a quarter of state residents think Corbett deserves to be elected again in 2014.[2] Those results backed up earlier polling figures released by Quinnipiac University, which had him at 38 percent job approval and substantially behind Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz in a hypothetical general election match up.[3] The Quinnipiac poll showed Schwartz beating Corbett by a whopping 10 points. Better odds, as it happens, than had been revealed in a similar survey conducted previously by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican-aligned firm.[4]

Back in April 2013, Schwartz was already looking especially threatening vis a vis Corbett's dismal popularity among female respondents, 54-27 percent of whom expressed opposition to Corbett’s re-election, a margin of 2 to 1.[5]

There are 36 states holding regularly scheduled gubernatorial elections in 2014 and there are 5-10 seats considered most likely to face partisan switch, Corbett among them. He recently moved into to the top slot on the Washington Post's "engangered" list, after having been in third place during the prior rating cycle.[6][7][8] Corbett's upgraded vulnerability status comes to bear on the heels of his failure to enact any of his three tent-pole policy initiatives during the recently concluded spring legislative session. The timing also corresponds to a further swell of Democratic candidates entering the 2014 governor's race, as if they sense the office drifting nearer to their party's grasp with each of Corbett's setbacks.

Including Schwartz, six Democratic hopefuls - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger, his predecessor Kate McGinty, Cumberland County minister Max Myers, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz and York businessman Tom Wolf - have formally launched 2014 campaigns for governor, and the group could expand more in the coming months, with Treasurer Rob McCord still mulling over a bid.[9][10][11][12]

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