State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

How early is too early?

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 29, 2012 10:21 PM

The 2014 gubernatorial race is officially on, with Democrat John Hanger as the first officially declared candidate.

“It may try the patience of voters to have the campaign begin two years in advance,” said political science professor Steven Peterson of Penn State Harrisburg.

Is it too early for a bid in the governor’s race? The short answer is: no.

Sure, the general election is two years away, but Democrats have to get their act together for the primary, scheduled in May 2014. Candidates will have to pass around petitions for getting their name on the ballot even sooner.

“What Hanger is attempting to do is to come out of the – off the starting blocks early to get out, to begin to build some name recognition in order to develop a sense that he’s serious,” said Terry Madonna, pollster and political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College. He added that it’s prudent to get a head start when all rumors point to a deep Democratic bench for the gubernatorial race.

“Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why someone like John Hanger, who is known in political circles, but not particularly known among the general electorate, [wants] to establish himself as a name that will be mentioned over and over as the field starts to form,” said Christopher Borick, a professor at Muhlenberg College and pollster at the school.

Hanger himself is stressing his need to raise a lot of money, and even included a plea for donations in his Harrisburg campaign kick-off event.

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