The PA Lieutenant Governor Debate in a Nutshell

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I don’t have time to do a full write-up of the Lieutenant Governor debate from the Progressive Summit this weekend, but that’s almost a blessing because I really have but one simple political insight to share.

There are many candidates in the race for Lieutenant Governor, but only two real choices worthy of your consideration.

One choice is Mark Critz.

At the debate, Critz basically declined to address in depth any of the real issues that the Lt. Governor deals with. He looks forward to learning more, after you elect him.

His view of the race – and I’m not going to say he’s wrong about this – is that no voters actually care about what the Lt. Governor does, and he doesn’t either. He sees his job as “a tool in the toolbox” (a phrase he used repeatedly) of the Democratic nominee for Governor.

In this view, the Lt. Governor’s job is to be a political surrogate, to bring geographic balance to the ticket, and to raise money for the ticket.

I’m being negative obviously, but again, he’s not wrong, and this definitely is a viable political strategy for winning the Lt. Governor primary and the general election for Governor. Critz spoke to what Democratic voters ultimately care about – retiring Tom Corbett – and put approximately zero weight on communicating any kind of competence on the very real policy issues that the Lt. Governor is responsible for.

The better choice is Brad Koplinski.

Fuck what you heard from any of the other candidates. Brad Koplinski brought more policy substance scarfing pizza with Carl Feldman and me on Friday night than all the other Lt. Governor candidates combined brought to Saturday’s debate.

Koplinski’s no slouch as a political communicator. He got some of the biggest applause lines at the debate, and he won the Keystone Progress straw poll, discredited as that poll is for producing a John Hanger win.

But more importantly, all the issue questions that the other candidates waffled on or said they needed to learn more about (after you elect them, naturally) got clear and detailed answers from Brad.

Pardon board, Marcellus Shale taxes and regulations, municipal reform issues – nobody knows more about this stuff than Brad, and more importantly, nobody else has better values than Brad in these areas. Areas that the Lt. Governor is directly responsible for.

Wonk out here if you want to learn more, but in short, Brad’s for smart sentencing reforms, he’s for an “unreasonable” tax of 6-10% on natural gas production, and he’s for regionalization, shared services, and more local revenue and policy tools for PA’s older cities, boroughs, and first ring suburbs.

These are your choices.

If you think the Lt. Governor’s role is just a tool in the political pageantry toolbox, and you don’t care at all about the policy choices, vote for Mark Critz.

If you think that the Lt. Governor should be an effective political operative, but also have strong policy competence in the issue areas he’ll directly preside over, vote for Brad Koplinski.

This entry was posted in Elections, Governor.

11 Responses to The PA Lieutenant Governor Debate in a Nutshell

  1. James R. Carroll, Jr. says:

    Jeebus…this is wrong on so many levels….I don’t even know where to start.

  2. YoungPhillyProgressive says:

    So Hanger should drop out of the governor’s race because he doesn’t have enough money to be competitive… but don’t look at the embarrassing fundraising report behind the curtain when it comes to Koplinski?

  3. Shawn J. says:

    Nobody has or will have the million dollars to wage a successful ad campaign in LG. You can’t compare lt governor and governor. The last race was won on less than $30,000. This one will probably be won on the name of the Sandusky Shield.

    • YoungPhillyProgressive says:

      That race was decided on two things. The first being geography, and the second being the fact that Jonathan Saidel ran a terrible campaign. At the very least, there were only 3 candidates in the last race compared to a seemingly endless field this time.

      That’s comparing apples to oranges.

  4. David Diano says:

    Critz is a tool. :-) **snicker**

  5. Frank says:

    Lt. Governor would replace the Governor should something happen in their term. We need to look at each candidate through that lens also. Lt. Governor also runs the State Senate, and requires some knowledge. Koplinski has done his work, visiting every county in the state and standing clear and strong on his position on the issues. He also almost won the endorsement of the Democratic State Committee, so his support is broad. He’s young and passionate. What more could we want in our candidate. He may not have as much money as some other candidates who are supported by party powerful. But he has the support of the people and that’s who votes!!

    • YoungPhillyProgressive says:

      He polled 4% in the only LG poll done so far. Paterno has 17% and Critz has 16%. Stack had 6% and a million times more on hand.

  6. Central PA Democrat says:

    Are you going to vote for the person you “like” for Lt. Governor, or the person who gives the Democrats the best chance to defeat Tom Corbett?

    Anybody here who thinks Corbett is a dead duck is sorely mistaken. Worse candidates have come back to win against longer odds, and he is the incumbent in a state that always warms to its incumbents when the chips are down.

    Corbett is sitting on a $30 million war chest, more if he needs it, and he belongs to the party that turns out its base more reliably than our party does.

    I am voting for Critz, because he has by far the greatest ability of any of the Lt. Governor candidates to actually impact the race in November in our favor.

    He is also an experienced candidate with all the right positions on the “lunch bucket” issues Pennsylvania Democrats care about.

    This race will be close. I want Tom Corbett out! If you want the same, vote for Mark Critz.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Kopilinski (who I am voting for) is playing “inside baseball” much like McCord is. They are both trying to win from working the party from the inside out. The problem is that it has not worked for McCord yet. McCord is polling at somewhere near 6% in those polls. Most non-politico’s don’t even know he is running. In fact, the only person they know that is running is Wolf.

    Brad has a lot of work to do but he can do it. He might end of running the tires off of his car in the process!

    p.s. From what I have heard, pollsters believe that 50% of the vote for the Democratic primary will come west of Pittsburgh. I guess history must prove that correct. I think turnout will be higher than expected because of the anti-Corbett movement. Philly should have a higher turnout than average.