Health - December 7, 2012

Pennsylvania Governor’s race begins to heat up

Bruce Castor announced this week that he is considering challenging Governor Tom Corbett in the primary.  Castor, a Republican who ran against Corbett in 2004 for Attorney General, is currently a Montgomery County Commissioner.  He is also the first Republican to state any interest in challenging the governor.  Castor has noted that he is preparing by “lining up donors, strategists, and grassroots organizers;” he is expected to make a decision by spring.  While Castor is weighing his options, Corbett adviser Brian Nutt observed that reports of Castor’s campaign have surfaced just before the Pennsylvania Society weekend in New York City kicks off and that “this is the season” for any number of people to be talking about “running for any number of offices.”

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has also made a move towards entering the race this week.  Schwartz has hired Aubrey Montgomery, the state Democratic Party finance director, for her own venture.  Montgomery’s notable accomplishments for the state party include getting the Democrats on “sound fiscal footing” and extensive fundraising.  The party, under her guidance, was able to raise over $18 million for 2012 compared to the $7.5 million they raised in 2008.  While Democrats think Corbett could be vulnerable due to cuts to social programs and education this year, they are well aware that he is likely to raise at lease $30 million for his campaign.

Last week former DEP Secretary John Hanger announced his candidacy.  Others that have expressed an interest in running are former Congressman Joe Sestak, Tom Wolf, former Secretary to the Department of Revenue, and businessman Tom Knox who previously bid to run for governor and mayor of Philadelphia.  PA Treasurer Rob McCord’s name has also been mentioned as a possible candidate to challenge Governor Corbett.


Corbett announces transportation plan not far off

We could see the Governor’s transportation funding proposal as early as mid-January.  Corbett made the announcement this week that he is dedicated to finding a long-term solution to the issue of transportation funding in Pennsylvania.  While he gave no specifics he did mention that “$2.7 billion a year is a good target” for the amount of money he’d like to see go towards transportation.  The issue will be acquiring the funding.  A commission previously appointed by the governor had recommended lifting the cap on the oil franchise tax, meaning the price of gasoline could increase by about 4 cents and driver’s license and registration fees would also increase.