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.

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • twopartysystem1

    Blame someone else… Where have I heard that before? On yeah, the election-gaming, squatter in the white house.

  • Ed Simms

    Maybe she lost because she was outspent by a fellow Democrat? Maybe she lost because the voters didn’t buy what she was selling? Maybe she lost because she’s a far left candidate? Maybe she lost because her record isn’t all that great? Since this was a closed primary she can’t blame Republicans so she has to come up with some excuse. How about this . . . her Democratic voters chose someone else.

  • phillygirl

    She barely ran a campaign so she shouldn’t be pointing fingers elsewhere.

  • Carlos Trashcan

    Poor Ally-son. She lost because (in no particular order):
    1. She ran a terrible campaign. She thought she’d just waltz into being the Dem candidate for governor.
    2. Tom Wolf was a much better candidate.
    3. She basically sucks at being a Congresswoman – in her like fifth term, with very little to show for it, other than being the first Dem in Congress to speak out against Anthony Weiner’s photo shenanigans. She kept getting reelected in the PA 13th because she’s the Dem incumbant in a seat safe for Dems.
    4. Most Dem primary voters realized that she’s basically unelectable in a Pennsylvania statewide general election. Not just because she’s rabidly anti-gun and militantly pro-abortion, but this woman actually ran an abortion clinic (!) and was the “Five-time winner: Abortion Clinic of the Year” award (!!) (quote removed from her campaign bio around March 2013). I mean, come on!!!
    5. “That’s a man, baby!!” (Threw in this one just to LOL on her absurd claims that she lost because of sexism.)

    • Douglas Dooling

      Yeah, the Clinic of the Year is an April Fools article from PoliticsPA. If you check the timestamp, it was published on 04/01/2013.

  • DJ

    The way I see it is that the voters decided that it is better to have someone that is looking for ways to build and not spending 80% of their time and resources trying to debase others… Over 04 points between first and second.

  • http://www.philadelinquency.com Christopher Sawyer

    Actually the NYT has a point when it noticed that Democrat areas that rely heavily on trade union support are the ones giving short shrift to females in top jobs and still have the glass ceilings. When is New York State going to have a female governor? New Jersey has had one–a Republican. Texas has had two, one the widow of a former governor and then the iron-will of Ann Richards. But Pennsylvania will never put a woman in the top job because women do not make up a significant chunk of the underlying unions that broker for influence in state houses. If a woman wants to succeed in Pennsylvania as governor, she’s likely to do so in the PA GOP, not as a PA DEM. This is a constant battle within the Democratic party between this old-school way and progressives who sit within the same party. In states like Pennsylvania, the progressives are stepped on and trampled over and then taken for granted. In the western states like OR, CA, WA this issue doesn’t really exist. Citation: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/us/politics/glass-ceilings-in-statehouses-in-the-northeast.html

  • The Undisputed Truth

    It’s the democratic electorates fault.

    Thats a sure-fire springboard to retirement for a politician. Whats wrong with those voters?

  • karbase

    I half agree with her I see when there is a strong intelligent women and even women won’t for it. However she barely ran and Tom Wolf outspent her and that’s how it’s done. I don’t like that she ran on the CHIP program that was established years ago nothing current did she bring to the table.

    • twopartysystem1

      There are no more giveaways to bring to the table – the country is beyond broke. It’s time for Americans to dimiss Gutterment promises of prosperity through handouts, sober up and get to work – on-time and in a clean shirt.

  • Steve

    Who cares what sex, religion, etc. a person is as long as they put principles over party and ego. This is the problem with our political system-we put agenda’s first.

    Allyson Schwartz has just reared her ugly head (literally) that she is an egomaniac as we all knew.

  • stop the ruling class

    I knew it, Democrats have a war on women! they are anti-women.

  • stop the ruling class

    I’m going out on a limb here, maybe, just maybe, it is her far left views that turns off the state voters.

  • BillDi

    This has nothing to do with gender! In fact, even though Katie McGinty lost, she could become a viable Senatorial candidate in the future. Schwartz lost because, once again, she ran a terrible campaign. Her ego led her to believe that her popularity is state-wide, which it is not. Time and again, PA voters have rejected her. Unfortunately, once she fell behind, she resorted to scum politics. It’s time to end it Allyson and go off into the sunset.

  • Sean123321

    Shouldn’t her beef be that Pennsylvania DEMOCRATS aren’t ready for a woman Governor? Because it was only Democrats voting in her race, not the state as a whole. So if you are going to play the blame-game, at least get the facts straight…

  • frank2411

    Ms Schwartz, the crying towels are in aisle 5.
    Take ur fat pension from wasting all those years
    In congress spending other peoples money.

  • Enuf already

    What bull. We’re ready but we want one who is intelligent, personable and will actually do something for the state making us a role model for others. As a woman and someone who lives in NE Phila, I can tell you she’s far from it and has done nothing for the city, for the NE but put us into decline.

  • Rocco Lamagela

    She’s a typical selfish nasty lib!

  • momatad

    Some one tell this megalomaniac to google Barbara Hafer. Seems she spearheaded her party’s ticket for governor of Pennsylvania and came close to taking it. When she didn’t, she gave her concession speech she did it with class and as a ‘lady’ would. Something Schwartz should try practicing. As a registered and active Democrat, I voted for Tom Wolf, not Schwartz…….there is just something so, shall I say, smarmy about her that I would not have felt comfortable voting for her. She came out of the gate on the attack, not saying what she would or could do…but taking credit for doing things that other politicians did long before with bipartisan support and if questioned it was ‘because I’m a girl, wah wah wah’…..don’t go on how ‘everyone is picking on poor Allyson’ and tossing crap at the other candidates running against her (and 9 out of 10 turds she tossed were out and out lies). The electorate wanted to know what you would do for them, and seeing her bite the hand that fed her (women politicians who came before her by saying ‘I’m the first’) doesn’t leave anyone with a good feeling about supporting her.

  • Bob

    Schwartz had the early lead and let Tom Wolf run away with the win. Her campaign started working too late and did not target specific issues. Her “leadership” commercials were not effective. Wolf’s gas extraction tax commercial in the very beginning let voters know PA was the only state that did not have a natural gas extraction tax and even proposed using it for schools. Schwartz is also a little too liberal to win a state wide election in PA. Being a woman was a non-issue, for or against her. Please do not bring up the non-issue as it was totally immaterial.

  • Bull McCaffrey

    Stop Democrat on Democrat Violence!!!
    ;-)

  • D. Alexander

    PA has NO female members in the US house. PA is pretty misogynistic.

  • Fishsnot

    Guess she thought just having a vagina she’d be a shoe in. Sorry, honey, it doesn’t work that way.