Gerlach: What We Do and Don’t Know

I break some news in here. Read on, and see if you can guess what it is!

Jim Gerlach announcing his premature ejection from the gubernatorial race was only a surprise because, if this was his plan, we would have expected him to back out already. He never got any traction. His own county chairman– a man Jim made look good by winning close election after close election– wouldn’t get behind him early, and completely screwed him by outright endorsing Corbett about a month ago.

Does this mean Jim will want his old Congressional seat back? The one in which  four or five Republicans have already declared interest?

Well, maybe. Let’s think this through.

Jim did not call and tell the other campaigns he WASN’T interested in the seat The easiest course for Jim and his campaign stash is for him to run again for his seat via an uncontested primary.

Millionaire and recent Democrat Steve Welch is in this race, and was persuaded to switch to it by party committee types to clear the way for another gubernatorial flame-out: Pat Meehan. So Steve, one would hope, is finally done listening to those people, and perhaps in his heart of hearts wishes he listened to the regular voters who told him to stay in PA7 in the first place.

As an aside, I should acknowledge flameout is a little harsh. All the committee bigwigs lined up behind Corbett early. Meehan and Gerlach were never seriously considered by them, and were treated poorly. By extension, those party types basically gave the finger to voters in PA6 and PA7 by trying to dictate how their congressional primaries would go from Harrisburg.

Curt Schroder, by most accounts the frontrunner in this primary right now, has been intending to run this race for a long time. Gerlach waited a long time before officially declaring, and now he’s backed out pretty darned late. I don’t have any inside information on this one, but I would wager Schroder isn’t particular interested in stepping aside at this point. That dude is ready to rumble.

What about the others: Cohen, Sellers, and that other dude I got mail from today? What’s his name? The geologist with solar panels on his house?

Well, what they think is pretty inconsequential, except for the fact that the more crowded the primary, the better their respectively small chances will be. So Gerlach coming in probably won’t chase any of them out. Except for Cohen, maybe, who is trying to run on the “I already know how Washington works, because I’ve been there!” platform. As if that were a recommendation.

So my guess is Gerlach is trying to figure out if the others will get out of his way. They will say no. Then Jim will consider the Lt. Governor’s race. Personally, I think that’s ideal for him. He can increase his name-recognition across the whole Commonwealth by running in that race, prepping himself for Governor or Senate.

Thing is, that’s what the state party dudes have been telling him to do all along. And Jim is cheesed at those dudes. A while back he expressed some interest to have talks with Curt Schroder about an endorsement swap. This would have been weird for him to do, since the primary field was so crowded, and one of Curt’s opponents had a conceivable chance of winning.

I think Jim considered it because he knew Curt was not the favorite of the party leaders, but of the party grassroots. And, at least partly, this was a way for him to make a little dig at those leaders.

So, is Jim prepared to do what those same leaders always wanted him to do, which was run for Lt. Governor? Does he want to drop a nuclear daisy-cutter on PA6 and create one of the biggest clusterf**k primaries of all time? Does he actually feel like practicing law or becoming a government affairs specialist at Merck, making himself very wealthy without having to work much, but spiking his further political career? Is he rich enough to do nothing, and just start running for Senate?

If the last one is not possible– and I don’t know one way or the other– expect him to do the first one. Jim did not get this far by thinking too far outside the box. We should expect this pattern to continue.


Shows you what I know:

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January 8, 2010 at 10:35 am Comments (11)