Philadelphia Daily News | 12/16/2005 | Gar Joseph | A sampling: Scranton, Swann & 'Clean Gene': "Posted on Fri, Dec. 16, 2005
Gar Joseph | A sampling: Scranton, Swann & 'Clean Gene'IT WAS GREAT seeing Gov. Rendell in the Palestra stands for Penn-Villanova Tuesday night.
But our advice to him is: forget the Quakers; think Panthers. As in Pitt Panthers.
The guv's unfavorables are rising. His support is below 50 percent.
Everyone west of the Susquehanna thinks he's the "governor of Philadelphia."
The election is next year.
So, take in a Panther game, Guv. Have a photo-op with a Primanti's sandwich. Go West, old man.
Yet we come today not to praise Rendell, but to see who might bury him.
Who's more likely to beat Rendell, former Steeler and ABC sports reporter Lynn Swann or former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton Jr.?
They are the leading contenders for the Republican nomination to oppose Rendell.
We've spent the past week talking with pols, consultants, money guys and campaign staff trying to answer that question.
We'll sum up our findings by putting words into the mouths of the candidates.
Swann: My numbers have gone up in each successive poll, while yours have stayed flat.
Scranton: That's because you began in single digits.
Swann: Also, my pro-gun, anti-abortion views are more in step with Pennsylvanians'.
Moderate Republicans like you are a vanishing breed. That's why my campaign contributions come from conservatives across the nation.
Scranton:Can you match Rendell, who will raise $40 million?
Scranton: All I have to do is open my checkbook. Remember, I have a city named after me.
Swann: That city and its region is 10 percent of the state's voters.
Everyone west of Harrisburg is a Steelers fan.
Scranton: You mean everyone who follows football.
What percentage of the vote total is that? And how many are old enough to remember you?
Swann: The fact is, western Pennsylvanians are far more loyal to candidates from their region.
And the anger against incumbents because of the legislative pay raise is greater there than anywhere in the state. Anger generates turnout.
Scranton: I also opposed the pay raise. Plus, my business experience gives me stature equal to Rendell's.
I look like a governor. An ex-jock can't match that.
Swann: As an African-American, I have the ability to cut into the Democratic base.
Scranton:What about James Carville's dictum? "Pennsylvania, between Paoli and Penn Hills, is just Alabama."
When did Alabama have a black governor?
Swann: My football career inoculates me against white voters who pause because of my race.
Plus, I appeal to black voters in Philadelphia.
Even the defection of 200 votes per black division would have a serious impact on Rendell's city margin.
Scranton: You've never run for office before.
I was tested in that tough 1986 campaign against Bob Casey Sr. I nearly won. Rendell will pounce on your first rookie mistake. Remember Lynn Yeakel and Juanita County?
Swann:Being an outsider and a fresh face is a positive, not a negative.
Clout: OK, OK, enough. We're more confused than when we started.