Pennsylvania Observer

A blog for progressive people in Pennsylvania. Greens, Democrats and others who want to comment on current news items in the Keystone State.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Casey In, Hafer Out

Casey In, Hafer Out. Barbra Hafer made it official last week. She’s running for US Senate, seeking the Democratic nomination no matter who else is planning to run. Hafer cited a February 24 meeting with US Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid in Washington as part of her decision. "Ed [Rendell] has told him that I was his (Mr. Rendell's) candidate," said Hafer, according to The Scranton Times. "He said the governor called and said that I was his candidate. I wasn't there two minutes before Reid said that."

Media wags lionized her surprise move, saying it put pressure on Bob Casey to make a decision about his own decision quickly.

Well, Casey read the editorials and blogs, and sure enough on Friday he made his own announcement to run.

Also on Friday, Hafer made a 180 and decided not to run, citing pressure from Gov. Ed Rendell. In a terse statement, Hafer said, "Today the Governor and I spoke about the US Senate. The Governor has asked me to step aside and allow Treasurer Casey to run unopposed for US Senate. After some consideration, I have decided to agree to the Governor's request. I’d like to thank the many people from throughout the Commonwealth who offered me their support and guidance."

Why would Hafer drop out so soon after announcing her candidacy? Word around the Capitol is she is being promised Fast Eddie’s support for the Lt. Governor slot. It’s no secret that Rendell wants Catherine Baker Knoll off the ticket. Hafer has a ton of money waiting to be used for some campaign, and with the Guv’s backing, she might be the ideal candidate (woman from SW PA) to take on Knoll.

Other big-name Dems considering a challenge to Santorum have also apparently decided not to run. They include ex- congressperson and 2004 US Senate candidate Joe Hoeffel, Department of Environmental Protection Director Kathleen McGinty, State Rep. and PA Dem Chair T.J. Rooney, and former Lt. Governor Mark Singel.

That leaves only Paul Wellstone wannabe Chuck Pennacchio as Casey’s sole Democratic challenger. Dr. Pennacchio, PhD, is a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia who has worked on numerous political campaigns. He sees the Democratic Party as making a disastrous rightward drift in moves such as nominating Casey. “Apparently, the state and national party is willing to sacrifice its principles for what they mistakenly perceive is the best chance of beating Rick Santorum,” Pennacchio said in a statement last week. “I am the lone Democratic candidate in this primary so far,” attempting to echo Wellstone’s iconic “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” mantra. (See “Observations,” below, for more on Pennacchio)


  • At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Patrick said…

    It's shenanigans like this that caused me to turn Green in the first place. For 2006 the Green Party will have an energized, pro-choice, progressive candidate for Senate, so voters will be able to vote their conscience.

  • At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Dems are more controlling than the Republicans.


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