The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 17, 2013

No clear path for Corbett

Daily Item

---- — Tom Corbett has roughly 17 months remaining in his term as Pennsylvania governor. Whether this leads to a second does not look promising for the Republican.

A recent Quinnipiac poll put the governor's favorablilty rating at 30 percent, while 42 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view, numbers mirrored with independent voters. The same poll shows voters feel Corbett does not deserve to be reelected at a 52-32 percent margin.

In a Franklin & Marshall poll earlier this year, Corbett's approval rating was at 28 percent midway through the first term, the lowest in the history in the of the poll and well below the 40 to 50 percent Tom Ridge and Ed Rendell enjoyed in their first teams.

While unseating an incumbent has always been difficult, the growing list of potential Democrat opponents proves how vulnerable the governor is. Quinnipiac's poll placed two potential candidates against Corbett next fall — U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord — and each have at least an eight-point lead on the governor.

The governor's woes are of his own doing. The list of things the governor can boast about after two and a half years in Harrisburg is short and his failures have not only been many, but high-profile.

His attempt to privatize the lottery by selling it off to a British company was squashed by his new political foe, state attorney general Kathleen Kane. The liquor privatization, while popular among many in the state, has been hijacked by the legislature. The final product will look little like his initial proposal, which was going to funnel money back into education after his first two budgets gutted school funding.

The next two weeks will be crucial to any possible success next November. Corbett's third budget is to be finalized by the end of the month. The governor has to make this one count.

The latest budget increases spending by $500 million, includes tax credits for businesses and even some spending increases for the bruised school districts.

The governor is also touting his transportation plan, which could put $2.5 billion annually into infrastructure, including the long-awaited Susquehanna Valley Thruway project. It relies on increased funds from lifting the wholesale gas tax, a price increase which inevitably will fall into the laps of drivers across the state.

Based on this quick scan of the political horizon, it is hard to see a clear path from where he is to another term for governor. It might already be too little, too late for Corbett to save his reelection.