All four of Governor Tom Corbett's picks for state and federal offices received the endorsement of the commonwealth's Republican committee over the weekend. Not all of the votes were easy.
During a forum of U.S. Senate candidates this weekend, Corbett could be found outside in the hallway, the top of his head barely visible from behind an armchair facing the wall in the corner. He was "shoring up support," said members of his staff.
The governor continued to lobby right up to the committee's vote. “Should you choose not to endorse, or to become inconsistent with endorsements, candidates will begin to bypass the input and expertise of our membership – of you,” said Corbett while addressing the members.
Heading into the gathering there was speculation as to whether or not committee members with a will to buck Corbett's endorsement would vote not to favor any one of the GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.
“I believe in the endorsement. We have to look at the facts. Republican registration in Pennsylvania makes us 1.1 million people registered less than the democrats,” said Corbett. “But look at the results that we get. And we get them because we are organized.”
Steve Welch still faces several other Republican candidates in the April 24th primary, including Armstrong County coal company founder Tom Smith, businessman and once congressional candidate, Tim Burns, former Berks County state Representative Sam Rohrer, Harrisburg-area lawyer Marc Scaringi, Bucks County businessman David Christian, and Bedford County pharmacist John Kensinger.
The winner of the primary will go on to face US Senator Bob Casey in the general election.
In the race for PA Attorney General, Republicans endorsed Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed. Allegheny County state Rep. John Maher received the nod for Pennsylvania Auditor General. The party endorsed Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan for treasurer.
Endorsements not the only topic
The fate of state Senate and House district boundaries was also on the minds of the state's Republican movers and shakers over the weekend. A formal opinion with details and instructions from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices who voted down the legislative redistricting plan is expected this week. But several legislators and staff at the party’s committee meeting would have liked to receive instructions sooner.
During the meeting committee members had fun with the news that at least three of the state’s Supreme Court justices were in Puerto Rico for a weekend conference with the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
“It's really a beautiful day out there. I walked outside to take my stuff to the car and I thought I was in Puerto Rico this morning,” said State House Speaker Sam Smith during his comments to the state committee.
Senator Jake Corman of Centre County took up a more serious tone. “It's going to be an interesting year. I wish I could tell you where our members are running and when they are running. Unfortunately, due to a decision recently by the court, we're not sure. Stay tuned.”
The primary will be held April 24.