Former DEP head John Hanger drops out of governor's race

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 HARRISBURG -- The field of Democrats seeking to unseat Gov. Tom Corbett thinned Thursday as John Hanger, a former state environmental protection chief, ended his campaign.

"We have no path to victory because, to put it bluntly, Tom Wolf's television campaign has been startlingly effective," Mr. Hanger said at a Capitol news conference.

"What his advance in the race has done has meant that we are not able to have the polling results we needed to raise the money to put us on TV at the end of the race."

Mr. Wolf, a York businessman who has contributed $10 million to his own campaign, has shot to the front of the Democratic pack in public polling.

The field set to compete in the May 20 primary for now includes U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Montgomery County, state Treasurer Rob McCord, former state environmental secretary Katie McGinty and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, who has been absent from events that have drawn the other candidates.

Mr. Hanger lagged in fundraising, reporting at the end of January that he had raised a little more than $1 million, mostly from his own resources.

While he faced steep odds against better-financed candidates, Mr. Hanger won interest from some liberals for positions that included a commitment to legalizing and taxing marijuana.

Earlier this month, he won a straw poll at a meeting of Pennsylvania progressives in Harrisburg.

Mr. Hanger declined to endorse one of his former rivals, though he did not rule out doing so in the future. He said he would do all he can to ensure Mr. Corbett does not return to the governor's office.

"There's nothing more important to the future of Pennsylvania than the defeat of Tom Corbett," Mr. Hanger said. "Schwartz, McGinty, Wolf, McCord, all of them are orders of magnitude better for this state."


Visit the PG's Early Returns blog for the full statement from Mr. Hanger.


Karen Langley: or 717-787-2141 or on Twitter @karen_langley. First Published March 13, 2014 11:00 AM

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