With Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz's run for Pennsylvania governor all but formally announced, state Senator Daylin Leach has entered the race for the seat currently held by her in Congress. But would the banner-waving progressive leaving the PA Legislature for the U.S. Congress be good or bad for the progressive movement in Pennsylvania?
After much speculation and some polling in her favor, Politico reported late last week that Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA 13th) will definitely be running in the Democratic primary for governor in 2014. While Pennsylvania Democrats must decide whether Schwartz is too left-wing or too right-wing to warrant the gubernatorial nomination, Pennsylvania progressives are faced with the prospect of losing one of our most reliable champions in state government and politics. State Senator Daylin Leach (17th District - Montgomery & Delaware counties) has called himself "Pennsylvania's leading progressive state senator," and showed how richly he deserves this label by introducing bills that would enact some of the most progressive public policies in the nation in Pennsylvania, including marijuana legalization, marriage equality, and mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.
Here are some highlights of a conference call with reporters Leach held today to discuss his candidacy courtesy of Politics PA:
Why so early?
“When you run for Congress, there’s an awful lot to do. You have to raise a lot of money, you have to reach out to 700,000-some people,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of time. We’ve tried to be respectful of Allyson’s timeline.”
What of those who want better representation of women in Congress, seeking a woman to replace Schwartz?
“I don’t think every time a man and woman run against each other in America, the woman should necessarily win. I think it matters who the candidates are and what their records are.”
“I think in the last 30 years or so in the Pa. legislature, my record is second to none on women’s rights.”
“At the end of the day, look, I’m not a woman. That’s clear. I can never be a woman. But I have something to contribute and I have contributed toward the advancement of women’s rights in Pennsylvania and I think I can do that nationally.”
What kind of campaign will it be?
Leach said he’s spoken with all the prospective candidates in the race and promised a positive campaign.
“I am not running against anybody. I am running for the issues that I care about,” he said. “I’m not gonna focus on any other candidate. I’m not gonna go negative on other candidates.”
Will Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro run?
“I’m not gonna reveal the content of specific conversations. I do not know ultimately what Josh decides to do. I do not see any indication that Josh is interested in this seat at this point.”
Leach chairs the Pa. Senate Dems’ campaign committee, but said he’d take a hiatus during the heat of the congressional primary. As will Platt, the SDCC’s Executive Director. If he wins the primary, it will be sorted out then.