First off, this is in no way a Wagner endorsement. I’m personally a Hanger fan on the [wonk] issues, and a Schwartz fan with regards to electability and finally having a female governor. But, politically, if Wagner is indeed thinking about running for governor again, he’s likely going to have a hard time seeing any of the numbers and being dissuaded by them.
The easiest metric: John Hanger is from Hershey. Rob McCord is from Bryn Mawr. Kathleen McGinty is from Wayne. Allyson Schwartz is from Jenkintown. Tom Wolf is from York. Notice anything similar?
The west is empty and unrepresented. There’s no way Wagner or his people look at this map and say there’s not a good reason to get in the race. In 2010, Mr. Wagner was competing for Western PA Dan Onorato, our eventual defeated nominee. This time, he likely has the west all to himself — so he doesn’t have to worry about splitting said vote with a better candidate.
In addition to that, if you look at the poll that the Schwartz team dropped today, 48% of Pittsburgh primary-voting Democrats are still undecided. That’s a big chunk to start with. Combine that with 30% undecided statewide, which is almost Schwartz’s support in full (and keep in mind that it’s internal, which means her garnering 34% support is likely a bit skewed). Add in a few more things like being the Dem Gov Nominee runner-up from 2010, likely some of the highest name recognition, formerly holding a statewide position that most primary voters actually know about, and having a very recent campaign operation set up in Pittsburgh — you’ve got some pretty decent reasoning to jump in.
(Notice how Team Schwartz released their poll to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette? Not an accident.)
All of this isn’t to say that Wagner will in fact win if he enters, but the likelihood of winning the primary is good enough that if he’s weighting the option solely based on politics, it should be hard to find solid reasoning against it. Lots of politicians in his position would enter this type of race based on the map alone.
All other things being equal, Wagner represents a lot of what progressives are trying to get away from in the party: establishment, old, white, male, etc., which is likely part of the reason why he’s been on a losing streak recently. And the PA Gov race might not be much different for him — but this is one of the better chances he’s got.