Now that his potential primary challenger is out of the ring, Gov. Tom Corbett is slowly shifting into re-election mode with the launch of his new campaign website and a campaign posture against attacks.
The sleek new TomCorbettForGovernor.com quietly launched on Wednesday. So far the site just offers a place to sign up for a campaign email list and a portal to make donations — as if Corbett, who is expected to raise more than $30 million for his re-election bid with the help of Republican Party infrastructure and high-profile, deep pocketed supporters like Comcast’s David Cohen, needs $20 from you.
The governor has not publicly announced a bid for a second term in office, but he certainly seems to be moving in that direction after some quiet concerns in the past about whether his low poll numbers would cause him to step — or be pushed — aside before 2014.
Prospective GOP challenger Bruce Castor, a Montgomery County Commissioner, announced two weeks ago that he would not run for governor. That seems to clear the road for Corbett while Democrats head into a potentially bloody multi-way primary to determine his 2014 opponent.
And Corbett’s oft-criticized communications team is taking a more aggressive stance, perhaps another sign that the campaign lights are switching on.
After liberal groups spent Wednesday trying to add another car to the Corbett gaffe-train, the governor’s spokesman Kevin Harley responded with a lengthy missive deriding “another attempt by a liberal blog in Washington, D.C., to malign the governor by taking comments out of context” and pointing out that the governor has, in fact, hired or appointed Latinos to important posts.
In most states, there is nothing unusual about this kind of pushback, but Corbett’s team has been either slow to respond or completely ignored some of the governor’s other gaffes and missteps over the last year — providing plenty of fodder for the progressive blogs and talking heads.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Tom Fitzgerald writes that Corbett’s campaign will not be shy about selling the governor’s main message: that he balanced the state’s budget without tax increases and kept his 2010 campaign promises.
We probably won’t see any official campaign announcement from Corbett until after the budget is put to bed — hopefully before midnight on June 30 for the third year in a row — but make no mistake about it, the governor is carefully shifting into campaign mode.