Sunday, December 27, 2009

Republican Contest for Pennsylvania Governor

Toward the beginning of this year, I wrote a preview of the 2010 gubernatorial election, here in Pennsylvania. Now that the race has had several months during which to develop, I will take another look, first at the Republican side.

State Attorney General Tom Corbett is the Republican front runner. My congressman, Jim Gerlach of the 6th district, is in second place, well behind Corbett.

As I noted in that earlier post, since Pennsylvania began allowing governors to seek reelection (there is now a two-term limit) in 1970, the governorship has shifted at eight-year intervals, both between the parties, and between the eastern and western parts of the state. Corbett, a western Republican, should be due for his turn.

But is there something inherent in the office of state attorney general that produces an ambition to run for governor, but not the means to win such an election?

Corbett's predecessor, Republican Mike Fisher, was his party's unsuccessful gubernatorial nominee in 2002. And an earlier Republican attorney general, Ernie Preate, had his 1994 gubernatorial candidacy derailed by a scandal that resulted in his pleading guilty to mail fraud, and doing prison time.

There seems to be a similar trend in my native state of Minnesota, where four attorneys general have made failed runs for governor since 1970: Republican Doug Head in 1970, and Democrats Warren Spannaus (1982), Hubert (Skip) Humphrey (1998) and Mike Hatch (2006).

Time will tell whether Corbett will break the A.G. jinx, if there is one.

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