Jack Wagner weighs possible 2014 bid for Pa. gov

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Jack Wagner (Courier Photo/File)

by Peter Jackson
Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner said Monday he is seriously weighing whether to enter the already crowded 2014 Democratic race for governor.

If the Pittsburgh resident runs – he says he’ll announce his decision by next month – Wagner would be the only western Pennsylvanian in a field of at least six candidates vying for the chance to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election bid.

Already, Wagner sounds like a candidate.

“I’m passionate about good government and many of the issues that are out there today (that) are not being resolved,” he said. “What I bring to the table is a moderate, common-sense position related to the average Pennsylvanian.”

Wagner, 65, won statewide elections for two terms as auditor general and unsuccessfully sought the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, losing to former Allegheny County executive Dan Onorato. Prior to that, he served for 16 years as a state senator.

“I’ve proven I can win in this state,” he said. “I know the people. I’m not partisan politician.”

In this year’s primary, Wagner sought the mayoral nomination in his home city of Pittsburgh, but was defeated by longtime City Councilman William Peduto.

Terry Madonna, a pollster Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, said Wagner’s experience and statewide electoral success would make him a candidate to be reckoned with, but he wasn’t about to handicap the race at this early stage.

“This looks like a classic open-primary, Democratic fracas,” Madonna said.

Wagner faces some formidable potential foes in the 2014 primary. They include former state environmental protection secretaries John Hanger and Kathleen McGinty, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former state revenue secretary Tom Wolf. State Treasurer Rob McCord has set up a political committee to raise money for his widely expected campaign and Max Myers, a minister and political newcomer, has declared his candidacy.

Wagner said he would offer practical solutions to politically thorny issues such as transportation funding and public-school reform.

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