Corbett faces challenger; 6 Democrats file

Posted: March 13, 2014

Gov. Corbett has drawn a challenge from the right in Pennsylvania's Republican primary, and six Democrats have filed to run for their party's nomination for governor.

Bob Guzzardi of Ardmore, a conservative activist and businessman, accuses the governor of breaking his no-new-taxes pledge because the recently passed transportation bill raised fees on oil companies, a cost that could be passed on to motorists.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery County qualified for the Democratic primary for governor, as did York businessman Tom Wolf, former state Auditor General Jack Wagner of Allegheny County, and two former state environmental secretaries, Katie McGinty of Chester County and John Hanger of Dauphin.

By Tuesday's 5 p.m. filing deadline, the only candidate in the crowded Democratic field who had not turned in enough signatures to be on the May 20 primary ballot was Jo Ellen Litz, a Lebanon County commissioner who had campaigned around the state.

The Secretary of State's Office, which runs elections, released names of 1,137 candidates who turned in nominating petitions for offices ranging from governor down to party committees.

To qualify to run for governor, candidates needed valid signatures of 2,000 registered voters of their party, with at least 100 from each of 10 counties. Most candidates filed far more than the minimum to withstand any legal challenges, which must be filed by Tuesday.

Candidates for governor also used their signature totals to test - and brag about - the breadth of their support and prowess of their field organizations.

Corbett's campaign, for instance, said its 27,747 signatures came from all 67 counties, with more than 100 from each of 50.

Schwartz's campaign said it filed petitions with 22,000 signatures. McCord's campaign said it filed just over 12,500; Wolf's campaign claimed more than 12,000.

Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley also qualified for the ballot.

Democrats vying to replace Cawley include: former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jay Paterno; State Sen. Mike Stack of Philadelphia; Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith; Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski; former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz of Johnstown; and State Rep. Brad Neumann of Washington County.

Lieutenant governor candidates needed 1,000 signatures, with at least 100 from each of five counties.

Based on candidates' filings, here are how some races in the region shape up.

Sixth Congressional District

This seat is being vacated by Republican Jim Gerlach after six terms. The GOP's Ryan Costello, a Chester County commissioner, has party backing in the Chester County-based district. On the Democratic side, Michael Parrish, a businessman and former Army aviator, will face off with Manan Trivedi, a physician making his third run.

Eighth Congressional District

In a district that encompasses Bucks County and a sliver of northeastern Montgomery County, only the Democrats have a contested primary, with Kevin Strouse, an Army veteran, taking on Shaughnessy Naughton, who runs her family publishing business. Neither has run for office before. Strouse has national Democrats' backing.

The winner will face incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick, who is unopposed in the GOP primary.

Delaware County

Democrat Mary Ellen Balchunis, a La Salle University political scientist, is unopposed for the nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Delaware) in the Seventh Congressional District.

In the 26th state Senate district, County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, a Republican, will oppose Democrat John Kane, business manager of a plumbers' union. GOP incumbent Edwin "Ted" Erickson is retiring.

The first Democrat to represent her Upper Darby-based district, State Rep. Margo Davidson, has two primary challengers - lawyer Billy Smith and Dafan Zhang, a law student. The winner will take on Republican Saud Siddiqui, chief executive of the Upper Darby Caring Foundation.

13th Congressional District

In a district that encompasses parts of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County, two Republicans and four Democrats filed for an open seat as incumbent Schwartz runs for governor.

Marjorie Margolies was the district congresswoman for a term in the 1990s. Her Democratic primary rivals include State Rep. Brendan Boyle, State Sen. Daylin Leach, and physician Val Arkoosh. On the GOP side are businessman Carson Dee Adcock, who challenged Schwartz in 2010, and retired Air Force Col. Beverly Plosa-Bowser.



Contributing to this article were Inquirer staff writers Ben Finley, Tricia L. Nadolny, and Chris Palmer.

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