#PAGov: Ed Pawlowski Abandons Quest for Less Fun Job

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Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has dropped out of the Democratic primary for Governor (and endorsed Rob McCord) for the sensible reason that his lack of fundraising success shows he doesn’t have the support to win the primary. Other non-Schwartz, non-McCord, non-McGinty, non-Wolf candidates should recognize the wisdom of this move and stop weakening the Democratic Party with a crowded field.

Rich Wilkins asks if the campaign has helped Pawlowski:

Did this campaign help Pawlowski? I guess, if Rob McCord, his chosen candidate now, actually wins the primary, it will moderately help. If not, he’s basically just a middle-sized city Mayor who didn’t go far for Governor. It certainly didn’t help break the notion that Lehigh Valley Democrats can’t compete statewide. I think my old rule still holds here- you’d have to go to Congress first to raise the kind of money you need, coming from here.

It’s true that it doesn’t really help Pawlowski’s prospects for advancing to a higher office, but on a personal level, I’d say it helps Pawlowski a lot.

One problem with being Governor is that it seems like no fun! But back in Allentown, Pawlowski has no meaningful political competition, and with the one-of-a-kind Neighborhood Improvement Zone district, he gets an amazing opportunity to oversee about a billion or more state dollars worth of new downtown office and housing development, and help make Pennsylvania’s third largest city a much better place to live and work. That sounds like a lot of fun, and I know I personally would vastly prefer that job to being the state Executive.

That’s a pretty great political career, even if it doesn’t mean advancing up the ladder to serve broader and broader publics.

This entry was posted in Governor.

5 Responses to #PAGov: Ed Pawlowski Abandons Quest for Less Fun Job

  1. GDub says:

    I agree that Mayor is a more fun job (being a cabinet person would probably be all right).

    Not sure the unfolding of the NIZ is a political asset for the mayor in his time horizon, outside of the hockey games. Business development helps the medium and long term problems (assuming that the NIZ doesn’t crush city revenues). However, they’ll probably do little to change the short-term perceptions of crime, urban poverty, school problems, public finance, and infrastructure while he is the mayor–which probably rank as city and regional residents’ biggest problems.

    Plus, there remains a fair amount of risk. The problems Ruckus has had raising even a little money calls into question the amount of cash the NIZ board was ready to throw at them. A big failure in this process, whether he likes it or not, has a strong chance of hurting him as well.

  2. Jon Geeting says:

    It took a long time for Allentown to get to its current state, and it’ll take a long time before the city can fix all the problems that you mention. The NIZ changes one thing – there’s now investment flowing into the city. Whether city electeds can capitalize on this responsibly to make progress on the other problems is an interesting question, but it’s definitely succeeded in changing expectations for downtown Allentown. All the office space set to be built is leased. The next milestone to check in on the progress will be a year or two after all these new workers have started working downtown.

  3. Gdub says:

    I don’t mean to argue whether the NIZ is good for Allentown or not. My point is that it is unlikely to deliver short term results for any politician, including especially the Mayor. A few new buildings and some guys eating downtown for lunch is something less than a sea change for a city, even if they look nice.

    Few people would say Allentown’s biggest problem is lack of places to eat lunch, and there are plenty of areas (like his political adviser’s advocacy for a sketchy “investor”) where it could really make folks look dumb.

    His best move is probably to the Cabinet, where he can sidestep the likely (hopefully small) hiccups in Allentown, and position himself for a better job (particularly if the NIZ starts to deliver results).

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