PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski will seek to become the next governor of Pennsylvania, joining what could be a crowded race for the 2014 Democratic nomination.
Pawlowski, who is also running for a third time as mayor, announced his gubernatorial bid Sunday.
“I have seen firsthand the damage that has been done to our commonwealth over the past four years,” he said in a statement, referring to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s tenure. “I cannot sit idly by and let our state continue to suffer.”
No sitting governor has lost a bid for a second term, but Corbett is widely considered vulnerable. None of his major initiatives – new taxes to bolster transportation projects, prospective rollbacks in public pension benefits and the privatization of state-controlled liquor and wine sales – got majority support despite Republican control in both chambers of the state Legislature.
Meanwhile, most of the Democrats running in the May 20 primary, or considering a run, have high-level experience in state government.
They include U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, former state revenue secretary Tom Wolf and two former environmental protection secretaries, Katie McGinty and John Hanger.
Two other potential candidates have won statewide campaigns: state Treasurer Rob McCord and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner.
Pawlowski said he has seen the state’s problems firsthand as president of the Pennsylvania Municipal League. Among his accomplishments at home, Pawlowski said he has reduced crime, added 80 police officers and reversed an $8 million budget deficit.
“We have done many great things in Allentown, accomplishments made possible because we were able to work together across party lines,” he said. “I want to bring that cooperation to Harrisburg.”
Pawlowski is a former community organizer and former executive director of the Lehigh Housing Development Corporation. He and his wife, Lisa, a social worker, have two school-age children.
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