The next Democratic governor?

    As Arlen Specter and Ed Rendell depart the political stage, State Treasurer Rob McCord will emerge as a leading Pennsylvania Democrat, just because he’s a statewide elected official who’s still standing after the Republican sweep last month.

    I’ve known Rob for many years, and it was always clear he had political ambitions. He’s now in position to be a credible candidate for governor in four or eight years, though he might have to deal with U.S. Senator Bob Casey, who ran for the office in 2002.

    In a radio story today on WHYY, I note that McCord’s been using the visibility of his office and the state’s leverage as a stockholder to pursue an agenda of corporate reform, especially in the campaign finance area.

    His work could be seen as demagoguery, but demagoguery and good works often come in the same package.

    McCord says he understands some will see what he’s doing as grandstanding, but thinks that most will agree he’s raising important important issues and taking the right stand on them. He also says he doesn’t look for fights or seek publicity as a first step. He says he tries to get change in a collegial and quiet way, but won’t shy away from a public fight if it’s necessary.

    One example, he says is his suit to get into closed meetings of the state Gaming Control Board. Click the audio player above, and you can hear his explanation of that battle. I asked the Gaming Control Board for their side of the tale McCord tells, but they declined comment.

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