#PAGov: Have We Reached the Endgame?

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With just 47 more days in the Governor primary race, it’s not clear to me who will have the juice to push Tom Wolf out of the frontrunner slot with polling numbers like this:

Tom Wolf reaffirmed his lead in the latest Franklin & Marshall poll in the Democratic primary for governor, taking 33% – 26 points more than his closest opponent.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz earned 7%, State Treasurer Rob McCord took 6% and former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty won 4%.

Yes the number of undecideds is still high, so this isn’t the most solid foundation of support. But I also think there has to be a reason that people haven’t been lining up behind Schwartz, who’s been treated as the frontrunner in the media since she first announced last spring.

As Jake pointed out, Schwartz is cold-calling donors the night before the fundraising deadline. Not only would our ideal nominee not be cold-calling at this point, s/he would also be on TV by now.

Katie McGinty’s problem is more straightforward – she hasn’t raised the kind of money to really be competitive. That’s too bad, because she’s long been one of my top two choices.

Rob McCord’s situation is harder to understand, since one would think the focus on collecting union endorsements would have brought in a lot more money and vocal activist support than he has.

So just look at the fundamentals of the race at this point. Wolf has the money to compete, everybody else is saving up for the final few weeks, but in the meantime Wolf is steady plugging away, converting all that soft support into solid support. Anecdotally, I’m seeing it – more and more people I talk to who were on the fence are now declared Wolf supporters.

The race certainly isn’t over, but I’m going to go ahead and predict that we’ve reached a durable holding pattern where none of the predictable things yet to happen will really shake the race out of its current dynamic. Wolf needed to meet a minimum threshold for ideological acceptability and he seems to have cleared it, so he’s probably going to be the nominee.

(via PoliticsPA)

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7 Responses to #PAGov: Have We Reached the Endgame?

  1. Frank says:

    I realize that to a large extent with statewide elections, we need to take what we’re given in terms of polling. Still, both of these polls surveyed registered Dems, not likely primary voters. I don’t doubt Wolf is in the lead there, too, but I’m curious to know what that differential looks like.

  2. But I also think there has to be a reason that people haven’t been lining up behind Schwartz, who’s been treated as the frontrunner in the media since she first announced last spring.

    What has Schwartz done re: campaign events of any type? Anything? And now she’s let someone who can equal, if not surpass, her in resources be on TV alone for like 3 weeks already? Who is running her campaign? Mark Penn?

  3. Ned says:

    Premature to say that barring something unusual Wolf has it locked up. This is neither McCord’s nor Schwartz’s first rodeo, so there must be more strategy going into decisions about air time than meets the eye. Schwartz especially has a deep and experienced campaign apparatus that knows the ins and outs (and the historical successes/failures) of running against a self funder. She also has $5M+ to throw at media buys. It may be hard for McCord to differentiate himself from Wolf (old, rich white guy syndrome), but there is a legit opening for Schwartz (first female gov) to surge (granted, the female issue has failed to excite too much so far, but it could still help people remember her face and name and increase the impact of the ads). I agree McGinty is finished – she was a solid candidate and has a bright future I think. It will be interesting to see how Schwartz’s ads play, when/whether McCord goes negative, and how many votes both of those things combined peel away from Wolf.

  4. Jon Geeting says:

    The donor class seems to have realized at this point that there is no ideological or electoral benefit to choosing Schwartz as the nominee. I am very interested in electing the first woman Governor, but I do not believe we have to completely sell out our values to achieve that. Schwartz can’t be trusted on Affordable Care Act implementation, which is arguably the most important remaining contested issue in the campaign, since every Democrat is basically on the same page with education and natural gas policy.

  5. Pam says:

    Schwartz has no chance at winning any pro-life Dems in any part of the state with her clinic background. I would love a female gov but I also want Corbett out. Schwartz has too much baggage to beat him. It’s going to be hard for Wolf or McCord to beat Corbett despite the polling. He’s an incumbent. Although I’m hoping Corbett is bad enough that even the power of incumbency won’t help him, I’m not about to start saying Corbett is done, as much as I want that.