Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania

This is an important but often ignored office in the Commonwealth. Remember Mark Schweiker became Governor after Tom Ridge went to Washington to head up the Homeland Security Department. Ridge will be long remembered (or not) for raising the terrorist alert level even when he didn't want to do it. But when the poll numbers of the boss start to dip you have to do your part by scaring the hell out of everybody. I'm sure it is just a coincidence that the threat level has not been raised since the election, but that's another topic.

Our present Lt. Governor is Catherine Baker Knoll who was elected Treasurer twice and has a solid following in Western PA. There are some like our smooth talking Senate minority leader Bob Mellow who suggested that time has passed her by. Besides calling her old and incompetent he once told a pay raise opponent to "get a life." She has also brought contoversy on herself by showing up univited to a funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq and denouncing the war. She also refers to the Governor as Edward G. Robinson, the famous gangster movie star. Then there is the parrot thing that I have covered earlier:

A yellow-naped Amazon parrot from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh sang "How much is that doggie in the window?" and "Alouette" to surprised senators Tuesday. The parrot, named Groucho, sat on a perch in a Senate visitors'' balcony and sang in a warbling, croaking voice for several minutes after Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, who presides over the chamber, formally recognized the bird and an aviary staff member with it.

I thought the leadership in Harrisburg liked parrots as the vote on the recent pay raise revealed.

So far two opponents have emerged for the job. I don't know much about either but I'm open to suggestions.

The first is The Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds Valerie McDonald Roberts. What is with these people with three names? How about Val Roberts. She is using a baseball metaphor to justify her candicacy and I can dig that. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Invoking the spirit of Negro League baseball greats once barred from the major leagues, Valerie McDonald Roberts launched her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
The Allegheny County recorder of deeds opened her challenge to incumbent Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll with a cross-state series of appearances that took her from the Homestead Grays Bridge on to Harrisburg and Philadelphia. She noted that no African-American has won a primary for U.S. senator, governor or lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania. "Similar to the Homestead Grays, the Philadelphia Stars, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the Harrisburg Giants, and other Negro League teams, competent African-Americans and other minorities have been shot out of the big leagues of Pennsylvania state politics," said Ms. Roberts, who was the first African-American elected to an Allegheny County row office.

The other is Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews who is the first Republican to declare his desire to be the running mate of one of the four seeking to run against Rapid Edward Rendell. So far his claim to fame is that he is the brother of MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews. Check out My Take for a Machiavellian view of the politics involved.


LVDem said...

Interesting scenario could play out here. Matthews, being from vote rich SEPA might actually be in a position to win this nomination, depending on who runs in other parts of the state. My guess, however, is that once outside of Montco this guy is going to have to get his name everywhere. If he makes it to the primary, it'll be interesting to see if he has an impact on Rendell's base in Montco which was huge last time around.

Hm... this will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure, Knoll's day in the sun is--or should--be over. She seems completely out of it and ought to bow out gracefully--don't hold your breath.
Should be an interesting race next year--the Republican primary with Bill Scranton vs. Lynn Swann to the General. His Holiness believes that the Governor, though vulnerable, is not down and out. No Governor has been defeated for re-election since the Constitution allowed for two terms beginning with the Shapp Administration.

LVDem said...

No judicial retention had yielded a kicked out judge either. I'm not sure the political dynamics we have enjoyed and can count on to rule the day are set in stone anymore.

Anonymous said...

Roberts seems like a good replacement for CBK. Same geography, greater appeal to women (she's pro-choice), a lot more energy and competence, and counterbalances Swann a little.

LVDem said...

CBK is a completely different candidate than Roberts. CBK is pro-life and a long time Harrisburg insider (her name recognition won her the 9 member primary with less than 35% of the vote). She also comes from a part of Western PA that likely won't be as supportive of Roberts.

Anonymous said...

What part of W. PA would that be? McKees Rocks (CBK's hometown) gave VMR 75-80% of the vote in her last two elections. Compare that to around 60% countywide.