Gizzi on Politics: Corbett Haunted; Coffman Targeted; Sanford’s Comeback

Thursday, 28 Mar 2013 04:41 PM

By John Gizzi

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Although Jerry Sandusky is in prison and Joe Paterno was removed as coach of the Penn State football team before his death, the scandal surrounding the university and how state officials dealt with Sandusky’s child molestation won’t die.

As he prepares to seek re-election next year, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is still under fire for his handling of the affair while state attorney general.

The governor is expected to face a primary challenge from at least one fellow Republican — Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor, considered a superstar in the Keystone State GOP — and both State Treasurer Rob McCord and Rep. Allyson Schwartz are considered heavyweight Democratic opponents.

State Rep. Scott Conklin, former Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, recently signaled he was going to get into the gubernatorial sweepstakes. To no one’s surprise, the 54-year-old Conklin said he would make Penn State an issue if he became a candidate.

Colorado’s Coffman Targeted by Democrats
Unfavorable redistricting and a Democratic tide in Colorado last year made life uncomfortable for GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, but he survived.

Now, with President Obama’s Organizing for America organization drawing a bead on vulnerable Republican House members, Coffman is universally considered near the top of its list.

The near-certain Democratic nominee in the Centennial State’s 6th District is former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who narrowly lost the 2010 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to appointed incumbent Michael Bennet.

The two have reportedly “made up” and Bennet is expected to be a big Romanoff booster. In the district formerly represented by illegal immigration foe Tom Tancredo, Coffman has said he would back a proposal to give legal residency status to illegal aliens.

Sanford in Tight Bout with Colbert’s Sister
Even all the reminders from the media about the extramarital affair that destroyed his marriage don’t seem to be stopping Mark Sanford from winning the Republican nomination for Congress in South Carolina’s 1st District in the April 2 runoff.

A just-completed Public Policy Polling survey showed that among likely voters, ex-Gov. Sanford defeats former Charleston County Councilman and Christian Coalition favorite Curtis Bostic by a handsome margin of 53 percent to 40 percent.

Bostic, who barely managed second place in the primary by about 500 votes and trailed first-place finisher Sanford by 37 percent to 13 per cent, never rallied runners-up into a common front against the former governor.

But the controversy nonetheless dogs Sanford and PPP also found that in the special election, Sanford was in a near-tie with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, Clemson University administrator and sister of late-night TV kingpin Stephen Colbert. Watch for the national involvement from both parties in this one.

What Will Walsh Do?
Barely five months after he lost re-election when the Democratic redistricting knife slashed his former district in three different parts, former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois is starting to be the subject of speculation over his future plans.

The first tea party-backed insurgent to win a GOP primary over an “establishment” candidate in 2010, Walsh fast became a favorite on the right for steadfastly refusing to back increased spending or raise the debt ceiling.

The former congressman launched a new career last week as an AM-radio talk show host and brought former presidential hopeful Ron Paul on as his first guest.

Prairie State sources say it is unlikely he will run for Congress again because registration in the Democratic-held districts is stacked against a challenger. But Walsh could run for the U.S. Senate if incumbent Democrat Richard Durbin retires or for lieutenant governor on a Republican ticket.

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