Thursday, February 24, 2005

88 in 2006

As expected, former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann is beginning a campaign for Governor of Pennsylvania. Swann has formed a committee which will allow him to start raising money to fund his campaign. The current Governor, Ed Rendell, is a former DNC chair and looks like a tough act to beat no matter who ends up as the Republican Nominee. Pennsylvania has been a "blue" state in recent Presidential elections despite returning Republican Senators Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter to office in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

Swann brings a whole ton of name recognition into the race, and is undoubtedly a surprise and a disappointment to those who think that a person's political views should be dictated by his/her melanin content. During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Swann's former teammate Franco Harris campaigned with John Kerry during rallies in the Pittsburgh area. During at least one such rally (held a block away from my office), a counter-rally (held in the building next to my office) featured Lynn Swann along with Senator Santorum and a few other local Republican office holders in support of President Bush. Swann and Harris are genuinely nice guys; they can appear concurrently at these opposing functions and afterwards go to dinner together. One wonders whether Franco could be drawn over to our side to help out his friend.

Swann's expected opposition in the Primary thus far includes State Senator Jeffrey Piccola, of whom I know nothing, and former Lieutenant Governor William Scranton III. Scranton, son of former Governor Bill Scranton, ran for Governor in his own right nineteen years ago after serving under Governor Dick Thornburgh (most recently of the Thornburgh Report from the 60 Minutes Memogate scandal) and lost his bid to succeed his boss in 1986 when victorious Democrat Bob Casey's campaign operative, the vile James Carville in his pre-Clinton days, publicized a picture of young Scranton during a "hippie" phase. This apparently turned off enough voters to sway the tide in favor of the pro-life, relatively conservative Democrat. (Casey's son, Robert Jr., is the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for Rick Santorum's Senate seat in 2006, but that's another post.) Scranton spent some time out of PA but is looking forward for another try at the seat.

I do not have a favorite yet, but I will be watching this race with great interest.

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