I don’t report on many political endorsements, because there are so many, and most are predictable. But this wasn’t, at least to me.
State Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia has endorsed Tom Wolf in the race for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania governor.
If you’re thinking, “Tom who?” you aren’t alone.
He’s not exactly a household name in state politics. He’s a York businessman and former state revenue secretary little known to most voters. But he’s also the best-funded Democratic candidate, having put $10 million of his own into race.
Wolf’s investment ensures he can wage a credible campaign, but he didn’t come with much traditional political backing. Evans’ endorsement was a bit of a surprise.
“The No. 1 issue, I believe, is about job creation and education,” Evans told me. “And of all the candidates running, I believe he has the best skill set in order to move this state forward.”
Evans was once one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers. Though he’s no longer in the legislative leadership, he’s well known in the city, having run for mayor twice.
He certainly knows other Democrats in the race, and I had to ask why he wouldn’t back U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who served 14 years in the state Senate from Northwest Philadelphia and won the office with the support of Evans and his allies.
“I don’t think she has the skill set to be governor,” Evans said. “She she was a state senator and in Congress, and I supported her. But this guy was secretary of revenue, he ran a business of 250… At the end of the day, I’m not ‘anti’ any of them. It’s more of a `pro’ decision.”
Evans said he’s known Wolf for 20 years and worked with him on education policy and local economic development.
I asked Schwartz campaign spokesman Mark Bergman if he had any response to Evans’ comments.
“We are disappointed by the early attack from their campaign,” Bergman wrote in an email. “Allyson’s thousands of supporters from across Pennsylvania disagree and know she is ready to be Pennsylvania’s next governor.”