Gov. Corbett to announce re-election bid next week

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett will return to Pittsburgh next week to kick off a formidable task: a bid for re-election in the face of approval ratings that have energized Democrats and prompted some Republicans to question if he is the best candidate to lead their ticket.

The governor, a Republican, will announce his campaign for a second term Wednesday morning at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District before heading out on a statewide tour, according to three people with knowledge of the plan. The tour will start in Pittsburgh and hit the major cities in Pennsylvania, said Jim Roddey, the county Republican chairman and former Allegheny County executive. The history center, where Mr. Corbett announced his campaign in 2009, confirmed the governor has an event scheduled that morning.

The Corbett campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The re-election campaign will kick off as more than half a dozen Democrats jostle for the chance to try and unseat a governor who appears particularly vulnerable. A survey released Thursday by Franklin & Marshall College was the latest public poll to show much of the electorate has not been convinced that Mr. Corbett deserves another four years.

Just one in five voters -- and 37 percent of Republicans -- think the governor should be re-elected, according to the poll. Only one in four voters believe Pennsylvania is headed in the right direction. And the portion of GOP voters who think Mr. Corbett should run again, at 42 percent, is matched by those, at 44 percent, who believe he should step aside so another Republican can lead the 2014 ticket.

The poll uncovered one area of potential upward movement for the governor: his request that the federal government allow Pennsylvania to enact changes to its Medicaid program while offering low-income people subsidies to purchase health insurance.

While 64 percent of registered voters support increasing the number of state residents eligible for Medicaid, the survey found, 72 percent are in favor when asked about a proposal that would utilize private insurers and require recipients to pay monthly premiums while seeking work or training for a job.

The Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College interviewed 628 Pennsylvania registered voters from Oct. 22 to 27. The poll has a sample error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Democrats in the Legislature have pounded the governor for what they see as too little investment in education, and Democratic primary campaigns -- including those of U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord -- are talking up their support for public schools. It's the issue voters name more than any other as the most important problem facing Pennsylvania, the Franklin & Marshall poll found, followed closely by two others: unemployment and personal finances, and government and politicians.

Karen Langley: or 1-717-787-2141.

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