Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced Sunday that he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett next year.
Mr. Pawlowski, who is unopposed for re-election to his third term as mayor in November, disclosed his statewide ambitions in an interview on MSNBC. He plans to launch his campaign with a kickoff rally today in Allentown followed by a statewide tour that will include a stop in Pittsburgh Thursday.
Echoing a theme sounded by the last successful Democratic candidate for governor, Ed Rendell, Mr. Pawlowski signaled that he would base his campaign on a record of civic rebirth. In a statement heralding his candidacy, he said, "I cannot sit idly by and let our state continue to suffer."
Assailing the polices of the Corbett administration, he added: "We have done many great things in Allentown, accomplishments made possible because we were able to work together across party lines at all levels of government. I want to bring that cooperation to Harrisburg, to break the gridlock that has brought our government to a standstill, and to address the many issues that face our state, our municipalities, and most of all, our people."
Mr. Pawlowski has a master's degree in urban planning and public policy from the University of Illinois. After working as a community organizer in Chicago, he became executive director of Lehigh County economic development group, became director of community and economic development for the city of Allentown and was elected mayor in 2005.
He boasts that his administration has revitalized of the city's downtown, reversed a municipal deficit and hired more police officers.
He joins a swelling roster of Democratic gubernatorial candidates including U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County; Tom Wolf, a York County businessman; Kathleen McGinty, a former state secretary of environmental protection; and John Hanger, another former DEP secretary during the Rendell administration.
State Treasurer Rob McCord plans to join the Democratic field in the coming week. Former Auditor General Jack Wagner has said that he is considering the race but has yet to make a public decision on his plans.
Politics editor James O'Toole: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1562.