U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz launched her campaign for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor Monday, declaring that Gov. Tom Corbett's "failed leadership" has crippled the Pennsylvania economy in a competitive world.
"He's just missing in action most of the time," Ms. Schwartz, of Montgomery County, said in an interview. She noted that the state's unemployment rate has been well above the national average during Mr. Corbett's term. "What I'm hearing from people around the state is that they know we need a fresh perspective about the economy and growth."
Ms. Schwartz filed the paperwork to establish a state campaign committee that will allow her to raise money for a governor's race. Her staff said that $3.1 million in her congressional campaign account would be transferred to the new entity, providing a head start on that effort.
Ms. Schwartz, 64, argues her experience in Washington and Harrisburg makes her the strongest potential nominee to challenge Mr. Corbett. The governor's approval rating in independent public polls is at a historic low, although Pennsylvania voters have yet to turn down an incumbent chief executive seeking a second term.
"We've got to do all we can to defy history," Ms. Schwartz said. "It's not going to be easy."
If she is successful in 2014, Ms. Schwartz would be the first woman elected governor of Pennsylvania. Her backers and strategists have used that historical milestone as an argument for her candidacy, but she sought to downplay it.
"I'm running to be governor, not the 'first woman' governor," she said. "But the fact that I am the only woman in the congressional delegation and in a senior policy-making role, means people know I can beat the odds."
Although known as a strong advocate of abortion rights and gun control measures, Ms. Schwartz's record on economic and fiscal issues is moderate, a fact her campaign intends to highlight. In the U.S. House, for instance, Ms. Schwartz sponsored the largest-ever tax credit for biotechnology companies, a growing sector of the economy in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Schwartz's move had been expected. She joins a growing field of contenders for the Democratic nomination of those considering a run.
Tom Wolf, a York county businessman and former state revenue secretary, entered the race last week.
Kathleen McGinty, a former state environmental secretary and aide in the Clinton White House, is raising money toward a possible run.
Others considering it include state Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery County, as well as former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Delaware County.
John Hanger, also a former environmental secretary, has declared his candidacy, as has Max Myers, a minister from Dauphin County. Then there???s Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski; state Sen. Mike Stack of Northeast Philadelphia; and Montgomery County Commission Chairman Josh Shapiro.
First Published April 8, 2013 6:45 PM