Gubernatorial candidate Williams: race not a factor in primary

    State Senator Anthony Williams is the only African American on the ballot in next week’s Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries. He says that, in a post-Obama political landscape, his race isn’t a liability.

    State Senator Anthony Williams is the only African American on the ballot in next week’s Republican and Democratic gubernatorial primaries.

    He says that, in a post-Obama political landscape, his race isn’t a liability.

    Williams has spent millions of dollars on television ads, but his campaign has failed to pull even with Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, who leads the state senator by 23 points in the latest Muhlenberg College tracking poll.

    Williams acknowledges his Philadelphia roots might give voters pause after eight years of Governor Rendell.

    But he doesn’t think his race is a factor.

    “That’s not my campaign,” says Williams. “My message is much broader than one constituency group. There’s no doubt that if some person has that in their heart I’ll never discover it. So I don’t worry about that. I don’t think a lot about that.”

    Late in the 2008 presidential campaign, the national media questioned again and again whether Pennsylvanians would support a black candidate.

    Then-Senator Barack Obama carried the commonwealth by 10 points.

    Williams says Obama’s primary loss to then-Senator Hillary Clinton had more to do with the state’s political establishment backing Clinton, and wasn’t a result of racial dynamics.

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