#PAGov: June 2013 John Hanger Says John Hanger Should Drop Out of the Race

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I got a lot of pushback from John Hanger fans for arguing that weak fundraisers like Hanger, Ed Pawlowski, Max Myers, and Jo Ellen Litz should drop out of the race for Governor sooner rather than later, since they obviously won’t win the primary and a crowded field bodes poorly for Democratic competitiveness against Corbett.

But that’s not just my view. Back in June, my co-blogger Jake Sternberger reported that Hanger himself said he needed to be polling at 15% by December to be competitive in the primary. The last Harper poll had him at 7% – less than half what he said he needed by now:

Hanger was quick to add that he will work hard for Schwartz if she is the nominee. Hanger is beginning a multi-day school bus tour of the state, and said that he needs to reach 15% in the polls by December to be competitive in the primary election.

This wasn’t just a one-off remark, Hanger said it several times in his stump speech during this period. Does he still believe that? And if so, why hasn’t he dropped out of the race yet?

Now, you may be thinking, “What about all the online polls Hanger won? Doesn’t that mean there’s a groundswell of Hanger support the big polls aren’t detecting?”

No. No it does not. The real polls are correct and the online polls capture a self-selected group of white upper middle class progressives who read blogs and care about online polls – not an unimportant group in Democratic politics, but not at all representative of the working class, predominantly female people of color who make up the actual Democratic base and will decide the nomination.

Hanger hasn’t caught on with this group because while his marijuana decriminalization position is popular with them, this isn’t a top tier voting issue for many people. The other position where there’s a legitimate contrast between Hanger and the other candidates – opposition to charter schools – is flat out unpopular with non-white voters.

Basically if Katie McGinty or Rob McCord adopted Hanger’s marijuana positions, neutralizing his advantage on that issue, there’d be nothing to distinguish Hanger from the other Democrats and no policy reason for him to remain in the race. It’s not going to be politically possible for the nominee to be anti-charter because the people who will decide the race are pro-charter. The politically-possible range of Democratic perspectives on the issues is already well-represented among the four top-tier candidates Katie McGinty, Allyson Schwartz, Rob McCord, and Tom Wolf.

It’s time for Hanger and Pawlowski to drop out, and you can help. If you like Hanger for environmental reasons you should start supporting other former DEP-head Katie McGinty and convince her to back marijuana decriminalization. If you’re a labor left voter you should start supporting Rob McCord, who’s been pursuing and racking up labor endorsements, and seems most likely to support teacher union positions against private charters.

This entry was posted in Governor.

22 Responses to #PAGov: June 2013 John Hanger Says John Hanger Should Drop Out of the Race

  1. Sean Kitchen says:

    I like what Hanger is doing because he can push the dialogue to the left, but he’s not going to last deep into the primary. I’m still waiting for Wolf or McCord to really start pounding an economic populist message, which is something that Schwartz won’t run on.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Why not McGinty? I agree that we need a left candidate, but we need a left candidate who can win. With Hanger occupying the left space with no shot at the nomination, he’s actually letting the more electable candidates off too easily. The top candos need pressure from somebody who actually is competitive to feel the pressure to move left. If we get Hanger out of that space, somebody with more money and more growth potential will have to fill it in, and that is when progressives start winning this thing.

  2. Bram R says:

    “Basically if Katie McGinty or Rob McCord adopted Hanger’s marijuana positions, neutralizing his advantage on that issue…”

    Maybe that’s a good enough reason to keep him around a while longer?

  3. Ryan says:

    I’m kind of surprised that Wolf is getting enough credit to be ‘top tier.’

  4. Roger Cohen says:

    To call this post baloney is a slander on the lunch-meat industry. However, in truth it is sheer, unmitigated twaddle. It is premised on a poll conducted in early November — not mid-December which is cited as the key decision-point — by a Republican lobbying firm that does not sample cell-only users and thereby deeply undercounts one of our key constituencies among the young. But what makes this post truly intellectually dishonest is that it willfully ignores a more recent poll — by PPP — in which John Hanger runs in a statistical tie for second among the announced candidates and is the only Democrat who beats Corbett with more than 50%. It moreover showed John Hanger gaining more over his position in the prior PPP poll than any other candidate. Secondly, this post grossly mischaracterizes John Hanger’s positions on public education. As he has stated clearly and repeatedly — including on http://www.hangerforgovernor.com for anyone to check — he supports well-performing charters, but insists that charters be held accountable to the same standards as public schools, and he will withdraw taxpayer support from badly performing privatized schools and revert that money to the public schools. Thirdly, the assertion here that John Hanger is not supported by African-Americans is simply throwaway opinion without real information, and indeed is flat-out wrong. In fact, we are opening two community field offices this week in Philadelphia and Delaware County that will be vibrant hubs of campaign organization and outreach with a major focus on our African-American supporters. Such willful and selective distortion undermines any pretense of credibility that this website might have claimed on Progressive Pennsylvanians’ discussion of public affairs. It’s more like a two-year old’s tantrum. But then that’s what a twaddler does.
    Roger Cohen,
    Political director, Hanger for Governor

    • Jon Geeting says:

      To be clear, that PPP poll shows Hanger at 8%. A couple other polls have shown Katie McGinty to be the fastest rising candidate, not Hanger.


      And the actual most recent poll of all from Quinnipiac (which did not do a head-to-head match up of the Dems, or else I would’ve used it) found Hanger to be the only Democrat who loses to Corbett, if only slightly.

      I did not say Hanger doesn’t have support from black voters, I said that black voters are underrepresented among the online progressives who spend time caring about meaningless online polls.

      I apologize for neglecting some of the nuances of John’s position on charters – I was only saying that he is more hostile to charters (“I will stop the privatization of education cold” etc) than the other candidates, and that this stance is unpopular with black voters.

      Here’s the deal I’ll offer you guys: if John is at 15% in the next poll, I’ll shut up about this. If he’s not, you guys drop out of the race, since you’ll be clearly uncompetitive according to John 2013. Deal?

  5. Dominator says:

    Geeting, you sound like a third grader trying to explain why he was picking his nose.

    So who is paying you? McCord or McGinty? You keep asking for Hanger to exit based on 7%, but you think Wolf is top tier with 1%.

    I think its pretty funny, ’cause I think you feel people are going to follow your directions on whom to vote for like lemmings. Personally, I think you are making people take a longer look at Hanger, and that likely will work in HIS favor.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Nobody is paying me unfortunately. Everybody’s free to ignore my advice of course. I’m just a lowly blogger! But I think John of June 2013 had a very savvy argument that John of January 2014 stands absolutely no chance of winning the primary at his current polling and fundraising numbers at this point in the race.

      As a progressive, I want a left candidate in opposition to Schwartz who can actually win both the primary and the general election. I want John to get out of the race so that Katie McGinty or Rob McCord will have an opportunity to occupy this corner of the political space, but with more crossover appeal and better fundraising.

    • Cameron says:

      Greeting didn’t say that John Hanger should exit based on 7%. John Hanger said that John Hanger needs 15% in the polls by December of 2013 to be competitive in the primary. He doesn’t have 15%. Therefore, by Hangers own admission, he is not competitive, and the point that I believe Greeting was trying to make (he can feel free to correct me) was that non-competitive candidate should get out ASAP because a smaller field of candidates will yield a better nominee with a more united party behind them than a larger field with a fractured party. Wolf is considered top tier because he can dump his $10 Million in at anytime he wants to and skyrocket in the polls.

      • Jon Geeting says:

        Exactly, Wolf is in the fundraising top tier but has yet to convert that into decent polling numbers. I also hear him mentioned favorably enough by influentials to think he has some growth potential but am happy to revise this assessment based on future polling, and am aware that I may be making the same mistake as the Hanger supporters who are reading too much into online buzz.

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  7. Carl Dash says:

    On what information do you base your assertion that a majority of black people are pro charter? I don’t mean “how many black elected officials get money from the charter industry?”; I want to know what makes you think a pro or anti charter position will determine the black primary vote.

  8. Carl Dash says:

    Yeah I had already read that article; I’m asking where do the numbers cited in the post (58% to 30%) come from? If I missed the source sorry.

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