According to Politico and PoliticsPA, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) is 80% of the way toward challenging Governor Tom Corbett in 2014. With more than $3 million bucks in her war chest and a Democratic Governors Association poll favoring her candidacy, Schwartz is in a great starting position.
First off, I’m glad to see Congresswoman Schwartz thinking about jumping into the race. Schwartz is an excellent speaker, she’s sharp as a tack, and her fundraising has always been prolific.
In short, Congresswoman Schwartz would be a solid candidate to carry the torch in 2014.
I just want to point out one quick caveat.
Schwartz needs to prove she’s a team player.
Last year, Congresswoman Schwartz served as National Chair for Recruitment and Candidate Services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. While she was at the helm, Schwartz “failed to mount a serious challenge to any of the potentially vulnerable Republican freshmen in her own back yard,” according to PoliticsPA.
Schwartz had $3 million on hand in October of 2012, but “gave none to the DCCC in Q3 despite having a no name challenger.”
During the same cycle, Schwartz was notorious for agreeing to host fundraisers for candidates across the Commonwealth and then holding her own fundraiser immediately afterward, oftentimes drawing from the very same guest list.
Congresswoman Schwartz has tons of cash, tons of charisma, and she knows how to win campaigns. Yet, she has thus far been reticent to share her wealth of cash, charisma, and political capital with other Democrats.
Joe Sestak is sometimes accused of having suffered from this same problem when he led the ticket in 2010.
I won’t address the merits of those accusations, but I know for a fact that Admiral Sestak learned the important lessons from his narrow loss. In his conversations with party leaders across Pennsylvania during his “Thank You” tour, one of his themes was working together better as a party, up and down the ticket, and as a team.
Admiral Sestak now appreciates that while he proved to be an excellent leader at the helm of our statewide ship, the success of a single candidate at the top does not buoy everyone else to victory.
(Sestak, heavily outspent, narrowly lost 51%-49% to Pat Toomey in what was an otherwise terrible year for Democrats.)
If Schwartz can demonstrate in a meaningful way that she is ready to work hard for the party, and not just for herself, she deserves our support.
Until we see Congresswoman Schwartz prove herself as a good team captain, we must keep our minds open.
And until then, may the Schwartz be with you.
Schwartz’s political director, Neil Deegan, has sent Keystone Politics an email making the case that Rep. Schwartz is in fact a team player. Check out Neil’s response here.