Is Pa. Not Ready for a Female Governor? Or Just Not Ready for Allyson Schwartz?

Schwartz suggests sexism contributed to her primary loss. Will that alienate all the voters who just nominated Tom Wolf?

AP Photo | Matt Slocum

AP Photo | Matt Slocum

Is Montgomery County Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz bitter after getting trounced in the Democratic gubernatorial primary? NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd thinks so. On his MSNBC show on politics, The Daily Rundown, Todd characterized an email that Schwartz sent to supporters as “bitter.”

He then read and showed this part of the email:

“Yet, the political pundits, the media, the Harrisburg establishment couldn’t believe a woman could serve as governor — couldn’t even imagine it. And denied it even mattered. And while it didn’t happen this year — it will happen in Pennsylvania and across the country.

Because women’s accomplishments, women’s capabilities and talents must be recognized and must be utilized as leaders, executives, and yes, governors!”

Todd went on to point out that Schwartz’s sex was never brought up as an issue by the media, her opponents or by Schwartz’s campaign.

The suggestion by Schwartz that she lost because Pennsylvania isn’t ready for a woman governor did seem to come out of left field. But it wasn’t just in the email; Schwartz made the same claim when she made her concession speech at Philadelphia’s Warwick hotel at 9:30 p.m.:

“All of the Harrisburg establishment pretty much just couldn’t think that a woman could serve as our governor, couldn’t imagine even a woman with my experience and my accomplishments could actually be the governor of Pennsylvania. They didn’t believe it and they said so over and over again. In fact, I think they couldn’t imagine it and they couldn’t even think it mattered. We know for a fact that it matters to have a woman in every level of leadership in this country,” Schwartz said.

It was a half hour later that Schwartz added “the political pundits” and “the media” to the list of the sexists who prevented her from becoming the Democratic nominee.

Her list should also include the vast majority of Pennsylvania’s voting Democrats who overwhelmingly chose Tom Wolf over Schwartz, the early frontrunner in the race. Wolf won every county in the state, which embarrassingly includes Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. If Schwartz has any complaint, it’s that Wolf bought the election, spending $10 million of his own money to get on the airwaves first and constantly.

This is the second time Schwartz has failed in winning a statewide primary. The first time was in the 2000 Democratic primary to run against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum. Schwartz only won 27% of the Democratic vote and lost to Pittsburgh area congressman Ron Klink. In this gubernatorial primary, she only was able to attract 18%.

It is no wonder Schwartz is feeling more than a little humbled by the process, but the accusation of endemic sexism is unseemly. There is speculation that at the age of 65, Schwartz, who gave up her 13th District congressional seat to run for governor, may have one more race in her. Will she run in the Democratic primary to take on Republican incumbent Senator Pat Toomey? If so, calling the party establishment, media and, indirectly, the electorate sexist is a bad start.

Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.

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