State House Sound Bites

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

Corbett to Dems at PA Society: "Go for it"

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 15, 2013 6:20 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Gov. Corbett huddles with top staff before a speech at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan Saturday during Pennsylvania Society weekend.


Every year, the insular world of Pennsylvania politics transplants itself to New York City for a weekend of parties and co-located schmoozing known as Pennsylvania Society. Gov. Corbett took it as an opportunity to underscore a message that, polls be darned, he's not done yet.

As Corbett worked the various rooms this weekend, so did his Democratic gubernatorial opponents, but the governor says he's unfazed by the competition.

"That's part of the political process," Corbett said. "Go for it. You know?"

In a speech Saturday, he pointed to his recent success of seeing transportation funding approved by state lawmakers, and reminded the party faithful to remember the policies he's advancing won't be politically popular - certainly true of public pension overhaul, one of his remaining priorities.

Rumors have mostly subsided about high-level, anonymous Republicans moving to edge the incumbent governor out of the 2014 race, and Corbett said he's as confident as ever that he has GOP support.

"I've always believed that the party's behind me," Corbett told reporters. "I've never had any doubt about that. Maybe some people that talk to the media, talk with you guys, question that, but I've never had any doubt about it."

He was even chatty about his recently adopted diet, advised, he insisted, by his doctor, not by his campaign manager.

"I've not had a French fry since the middle of August," Corbett said. "But who's counting?"

At every turn, Corbett seemed ready to project an air of confidence and interpersonal ease not often seen in a man known more for gaffes than glad-handing.

Late Friday night, he made his way slowly through the Waldorf Astoria lobby, being stopped every few steps for a handshake. He looked pale, and an aide said he was surely exhausted, but Corbett could be seen there in the lobby's bar, well past midnight, having a drink while practically on display to anyone who wanted a word.

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