Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to announce changes soon in his top staff as his campaign for a second term gears up and his public support lags in the polls, three people with knowledge of the decision-making process told The Associated Press.
Changes could be announced as early as this week, the AP was told. Reasons given for the anticipated changes varied. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the Republican governor hadn’t made any such information public yet. An administration spokesman did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Privately, some advisers are concerned about Corbett’s lagging public support in opinion polls and his administration’s mishandling of communication with the public and dealings with a Legislature controlled by his fellow Republicans.
GOP lawmakers routinely complain that Corbett expects them to advance his agenda, but provides little guidance and doesn’t have the public relations savvy or personal relationships to win over skeptical lawmakers.
Meanwhile, major items on Corbett’s agenda remain unfinished in the Legislature, including the privatization of the state-controlled wine and liquor system.
Corbett has already seen some staff turnover since he took office in January 2011, including his chief of staff, his legislative secretary and the heads of five different cabinet agencies.
Charles Gerow, a Republican political strategist who supports Corbett, said it is normal for some governor’s staff to leave the administration before re-election season is in full swing. He called this stretch a “jumping off point” for those who do not plan to stay for a second term.
“This is the time when folks typically get off the train if they want to do that,” Gerow said.
Gerow said he had no firsthand knowledge of any forthcoming changes.
Another Republican strategist, Jeff Coleman, said Republican complaints about Corbett are about style, not substance.
“They relate to communication, they relate to how he deals with the Legislature, how he communicates with the Legislature, that he doesn’t keep a ring of insiders in the Capitol,” Coleman said. “It’s all stylistic. Generally, conservatives are pretty happy. That’s from the economic conservative-free market side and also from the social issues, pro-family conservative side.”