The Pennsylvania’s Governor race is an interesting one this year. Republican celebrities have begun to emerge in the Governorship. Not too long ago in California it was Schwarzenegger and now in Pennsylvania it is the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. However, what is interesting about this celebrity is that he is not really that well known.
According to the Keystone Poll done by Franklin and Marshall College in September, 35% of those polled did not hear enough about Swann to have an opinion of him. Another 20% are undecided. From the polls in March, those that did not hear enough to have an opinion have gone down from 63% and the undecided has gone up from 12%. This indicates that people are starting to know who Lynn Swann is and are able to form an opinion of him. On the flip side of this Ed Rendell, the incumbent, is very well known. Rendell came into the political world of Pennsylvania in 1978 as District Attorney of Philadelphia. From 1992 to 1999 he was the Mayor of Philadelphia. Rendell has been serving as Pennsylvania’s Governor since his inauguration in 2003. Only 3% did not hear enough information to formulate an opinion of Rendell and only 16% are undecided. Both Rendell’s favorable and non-favorable opinion votes are higher than Swann’s. Fifty- two percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of Rendell compared to Swann’s 29%. Twenty-nine percent have a non-favorable opinion of Rendell compared to the 16% for Swann.
These figures I believe are due largely to the fact that Swann has not been campaigning as much as he should against a well-known incumbent. Even though Swann has been touring the state he has not done much yet as far as TV advertising. He has just started airing ads but they still do not say much about him as a candidate but rather focus on the broken promises of Rendell. Rendell on the other hand has been airing ads since April off and on. This is due largely to the fact that Rendell has a lot more campaign money than Swann. Rendell reports $13.7 million in his campaign treasury compared to Swann’s 3.7 million dollar campaign balance. With ten million less, Swann is at a huge disadvantage, especially against an incumbent. He must make very strategic decisions as to how to use his campaign dollars to maximize his influence.
In Pennsylvania history, an incumbent governor has never been voted out of office, but Swann might still have a chance, although not a good one.