Politics Turns To Corbett’s Re-Election Bid In 2014

Erie Times-News

Voters overwhelmed by a seemingly never-ending presidential campaign might think they’re due for a break from politics.
As it turns out, break time is over.

Attention has already shifted to the 2014 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, in which Gov. Tom Corbett could face tough opposition, and some are already looking to the 2016 presidential race.

“The campaign season at almost all levels has extended to the point where you don’t get much of a break,” said Michael Federici, a political-science professor at Mercyhurst University.

“There’s talk of the 2016 presidential election already. There’s talk about candidates visiting Iowa now,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., scheduled a visit to Iowa on Saturday to attend a birthday fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, the Washington Post reported. The explanation didn’t stop speculation about Rubio’s potential run in 2016, with Iowa’s leadoff caucuses playing such a big role.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are among other Republicans positioning themselves as potential GOP candidates.

In Pennsylvania, the 2014 election is even more prominent on the political radar.

Political pundits Terry Madonna and Michael Young, in their most recent Politically Uncorrected column, wrote that “Pennsylvanians might reasonably expect that the political world would take a breather from campaigns following almost two years of nonstop presidential campaigning.

“After running nationally more than 1 million commercials and spending an estimated 6 billion dollars, everyone should be ready for a rest,” they wrote.

But they said the “already frenzied maneuvering” for the 2014 gubernatorial race started the day after the presidential election.

The analysts said Corbett is nearly certain to face “serious opposition” for a second term, possibly within the GOP but more likely from the Democratic Party.

They said possible candidates include Rob McCord, who won re-election as state treasurer on Nov. 6; former Gov. Ed Rendell; and re-elected U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. But they said Rendell and Casey were unlikely to run.

PoliticsPA reported last week that John Hanger, the former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in the Rendell administration, is seriously considering a run for the state’s top job.

Madonna is a political-science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. Young is managing partner of Michael Young Strategic Research.

They said Corbett is vulnerable because his job performance numbers in recent polls were in the mid-30 percent range, though last week’s Quinnipiac University poll showed a bump to 40 percent due to his response to Hurricane Sandy.

But the analysts also said Corbett has faced criticism for his budget cuts.

And Madonna and Young said some blame his political leadership for the party’s poor showing in the election, when President Barack Obama carried the state, Casey won re-election to the Senate and three other Democrats won row offices: McCord, Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane and Auditor General-elect Eugene DePasquale.

Federici, the Mercyhurst professor, agreed. “It’s not something we didn’t know, but his political