Year of the Woman in Pa. governor’s race – McGinty says she’s in

    A funny thing has happened on Allyson Schwartz’s way to the governor’s office. Another woman has stepped into the race, ready to compete for Schwartz’s political base.

    Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty has told the Harrisburg Patriot-News that she’s definitely in the governor’s race and has commitments for “the better part of” $1 million in campaign contributions.

    We’ll see how much money comes in. But McGinty’s entry is at the very least a complication for Schwartz, the four-term congresswoman who’s abandoning her Philadelphia-area seat to run for governor next year.

    Like Schwartz, McGinty is a pro-choice, progressive woman with Philadelphia roots who favors Obamacare and gun control. In other words, she occupies much of the same political terrain as Schwartz.

    And like Schwartz, she has national political connections having served in the Clinton administration. That’s helpful in fund-raising.

    Franklin & Marshall political analyst Terry Madonna noted that Kathleen Kane became the first woman to win the state attorney general’s office last year, pulling more votes in Pennsylvania than either Barack Obama or Bob Casey.

    “As the only woman in the race she could run against the old boys’ network,” Madonna said. “With two women in the governor’s race, that dillutes the message somewhat, but it’s still a powerful message.”

    Of course a lot of things can happen in a crowded field, and nobody would suggest that any of the male candidacies are fatally wounded by the entry of another man in the race.

    I’m just saying that when she was the only woman in the field, Schwartz had something going for her besides her other assets, something she’ll now have to share with McGinty.

    Both women have come out early and forcefully, each probably hoping they’ll show enough political muscle and money to convince the other to stand down.

    I imagine an interesting lunch meeting down the road.

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