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September 7, 2012 | By | Posted in Governor

Dems eyeing challengers to Corbett, want to avoid primary battle in 2014

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pennsylvania Democrats gathered here for their national convention said there is not a clear-cut favorite to challenge sitting Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014.

Delegates with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, gathered at this breakfast meeting Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., said they have eyes on several candidates to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014.

Still, with Corbett’s approval rating in the mid-30s on most polls, Democrats said they are confident they can break a 60-year trend in which one party and then the other has controlled the governor’s mansion for eight years at a time.

Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro said the Democrats had a deep bench of candidates, who could make a case for replacing Corbett.

“Whoever takes on Tom Corbett is certainly going to have their hands full, but will certainly have a lot of wind at their backs,” Shapiro said, though he declined to offer a personal favorite.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, son of former Gov. Bob Casey, is mentioned frequently as a future gubernatorial nominee, but many Democratic delegates gathered here said they did not believe Casey was interested in running in two years.

Casey has brushed off questions repeatedly about whether he would run for governor someday, and he is seeking re-election for another six-year term in the U.S. Senate.

State Treasurer Rob McCord is among the names batted around by delegates, and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was mentioned by more than one delegate as a potential dark horse candidate who might not be known statewide.

McCord is running this year for a second, four-year term as state treasurer against Republican candidate Diana Irey Vaughan. Pawlowski’s second term as mayor of Allentown will end in January 2014.

Regardless of who becomes the Democratic nominee, Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said Thursday that party leaders would like to avoid a contested primary.

“We have an obligation to vet this before the primary,” he said Thursday. “There are a lot of conversations currently taking place.”

In 2010, a four-way primary that forced eventual nominee Dan Onorato to expend resources early in the campaign was a factor in Onorato’s 9 point loss to Corbett, Burn said.

Contact Eric Boehm at Eric@PAIndependent.com and follow @PAIndependent on Twitter.

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Eric Boehm is a reporter for PA Independent. He can be reached at Eric@PAIndependent.com or at (717) 350-0963.

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