Guzzardi Will Garner a Significant Chunk of Votes, and Tom Corbett Knows It

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After narrowly surviving a ballot challenge in Commonwealth Court, right-wing Republican insurgent Bob Guzzardi is further along on his doomed path to defeat in the May 20th GOP primary against incumbent Governor Tom Corbett.

But even though Guzzardi will almost certainly lose, he is likely to receive 15-20% of the vote and expose Corbett’s weakness as the Republican standard-bearer in the Keystone State.

Guzzardi is running as the self-proclaimed voice of the “forgotten taxpayer,” and his grassroots network of ultra-anti-tax-Tea-Party-types will certainly garner him a few percentage points at the polls. Heck, the guy collected more than 3,000 signatures with no campaign staff at all, and he did so at farmer’s markets and gun shows.

But, as Corbett’s political team knows, Guzzardi’s status as simply “not Tom Corbett” is likely to earn him a non-negligible chunk of protest votes.

In March 2013, Public Policy Polling found that only 37% of GOP voters said they wanted Corbett to be their nominee in 2014, and 49% said they would prefer someone else. In hypothetical GOP matchups, Corbett led Bruce Castor 43% to 23% and only led 2012 Senate candidate Tom Smith by 37% to 33%.

Guzzardi doesn’t have nearly the support or name recognition of either Castor or Smith, but the clear point is that a sizable portion of Republicans would vote for someone who is, well, anybody but Corbett.

So far, Corbett’s re-election team has publicly written off Guzzardi as a crazy person, a non-entity. Yet, at the same time, the Pennsylvania Republican Party orchestrated the challenge to Guzzardi’s nominating petitions.

After losing in Commonwealth Court, they’re gearing up to appeal the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And given the difficult standard of review, I’d wager the PAGOP loses yet again.

The bottom line is that Corbett’s re-elect team and the PAGOP are failing to paint Guzzardi as the quixotic fringe loony they want him to be. And it is their own actions that are giving Guzzardi fuel for the fire.

About Jake Sternberger

Jake Sternberger has been a contributing writer at Keystone Politics since 2011. Sternberger primarily covers campaigns and elections, drawing from his experience working on municipal, county, congressional, and statewide PA races doing field, communications, and campaign management. He is currently a law student. Email: jakes@keystonepolitics.com Twitter: @JakeSternberger
This entry was posted in Elections, Governor.

15 Responses to Guzzardi Will Garner a Significant Chunk of Votes, and Tom Corbett Knows It

  1. But even though Guzzardi will almost certainly lose, he is likely to receive 15-20% of the vote and expose Corbett’s weakness as the Republican standard-bearer in the Keystone State.

    Will this be reported on in the TradMed? Or is it another “liberal” media plot?

  2. I never heard of Guzzardi before, but I will be voting for him in the Republican Primary.

  3. Eric Boehm says:

    Sam Rohrer scored 31 percent of the vote in the 2010 primary against Corbett. I have a hard time believing Guzzardi will do better than that. And that didn’t stop Corbett from winning the general and didn’t make him look weak.

    Of course that was a whole different ball game – open election and Corbett wasn’t dealing with years of disastrous poll numbers. But even so, I wonder how 15-20 percent of the vote can be seen as “significant.”

    • steventodd says:

      You don’t think 15-20 percent of the Primary vote, for a virtually unknown with $4,500 reported so far, against a sitting Gov, unanimously selected by his parties Committee can be seen as “significant,” and you are a political writer for Commonwealth Foundation? Wow.

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  6. David Diano says:

    15%-20% will vote for “other”.
    In 2012, Casey had a primary opponent, JOSEPH VODVARKA. Casey got 80.88% and Vodvarka got 19.12%
    It didn’t mean a thing and I bet few people even realize Casey had a primary opponent that year. Casey didn’t even bother to challenge the petitions as Corbett is doing.

    Guzzardi is a tea party crank. You could legally change your name to “Not Corbett” and get 20% in the primary and over 50% in the General against Corbett.

    • In 2012, Casey had a primary opponent, JOSEPH VODVARKA. Casey got 80.88% and Vodvarka got 19.12%.

      I never heard of Vodvarka before today and I vote in every election.

      • steventodd says:

        I’ve never heard of Vodvarka either, and I definitely voted for Casey in 2012. Still, a challenge is better than none. It is bad enough we only have 2 (at most, but often 1) choice in the General. The fact that so few are primaries is pathetic reflection of sheepishness in both parties.

  7. David Diano says:

    Phil-
    Vodvarka also tried getting on the ballot in 2010, but Sestak challenged the petitions and kept him off.

  8. dan says:

    “But even though Guzzardi will almost certainly lose, he is likely to receive 15-20% of the vote and expose Corbett’s weakness as the Republican standard-bearer in the Keystone State.”

    Obama lost 15% of the democratic primary vote in NH in 2012.
    Obama lost 41% of the democratic primary vote in WV in 2012 to a man in jail.

    Weakness as a standard-bearer?

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