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Former lieutenant governor Bill Scranton has bowed out of the race for governor in Pennsylvania, leaving the endorsement to the frontrunner and last remaining candidate, Lynn Swann. The former Steeler great will have no further Republican competition before the primary on May 16th:
Bill Scranton dropped out of the governor's race Tuesday after it became clear that Republican Party leaders planned to endorse former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann for the nomination.
Swann is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black governor. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell is running for a second term in November.
Swann had locked up more than enough unofficial support to win the endorsement of GOP leaders Saturday.
Scranton exits after having watched his campaign manager commit the season's most spectacular blunder so far. James Seif had engaged in a TV debate with Swann campaign aide Ray Zaborney, during which he claimed that "the rich white guy in this campaign is Lynn Swann." Rather than climb down from that ludicrous statement, Seif defended it when a caller objected to the characterization, responding that "[Swann's] the guy at the country club that hangs around the country club, plays golf with the legislators and is the inside candidate." (Link to video here.) Besides being an ignorant statement and an appalling judgment on the "blackness" of Swann by the Caucasian Seif (on behalf of Scranton, also white), it's simply untrue. Scranton has been a politician much longer than Swann, who's running for his first political office, and the attempt to sell Scranton as an outsider in comparison was almost as stupid as calling Lynn Swann the whiter of the two candidates.
Scranton fired Seif, but the damage was already done, as apparently was Scranton himself. It doesn't change much, except that it clears Swann to consolidate his Republican support early in the campaign, allowing him to conserve his campaign money for the battle against Ed Rendell. He has a slight lead already according to Rasmussen (45%-43%) and may gain a boost from the Steeler's victory for some extra momentum heading into the election campaign. A sitting governor polling only 43% looks particularly vulnerable, and without a primary to handicap his run, expect Swann to outrun Rendell just as he did with so many defenders during his elegant and graceful NFL career.Sphere It View blog reactions
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