New Castle News

Closer Look

November 16, 2013

John K. Manna: Three former governors give their endorsements

NEW CASTLE — Another election is history, which means another election campaign season is under way.

Actually, some Democratic candidates running in next year’s gubernatorial contest couldn’t wait and began campaigning months before this year’s election.

Give Gov. Tom Corbett credit, however. He waited until Nov. 6, the day after the election, to kick off his campaign, making multiple stops across the state.

At one stop he said, “So Pennsylvania, if you’re looking for a politician or elected official who takes the path of least resistance, allows the latest poll to drive decisions or accepts ‘no’ for an answer, then I’m not your candidate.”

Perhaps he was referring to polls rating his job performance. In a Franklin & Marshall College poll conducted in October, for example, only 20 percent of the state’s registered voters said they believed Corbett deserves re-election.

But did anyone really believe he wouldn’t seek re-election? There are those rare instances when politicians decide not to run based on what they sense in the air, but they generally are too stubborn and believe the ballot box will tell a different story. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

However, a fascinating thing happened this week. Three former Pennsylvania governors — Dick Thornburgh, Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker — announced their support for Corbett. Ridge and Schweiker appeared in person in Hershey while Thornburgh sent along his endorsement by video.

What else would anyone expect of three former Republican governors? What would have been a surprise is that one or all of them hadn’t lent their support.

The question, though, is how did all three manage to express their support on the same day? This is speculative, but it’s hard to believe that Thornburgh, Ridge and Schweiker initiated the event.

Chances are that Corbett actually is driven somewhat by the poll numbers and sought their help. After all, these are three former respected chief executives and it certainly doesn’t hurt to be in their company.

Their endorsements may allow Corbett to avoid a primary challenge, but what impact will it have going into the fall election? No doubt more polls will give us some indication.


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