Meet your PA-13… frontrunner? In terms of political experience (none) and name recognition (scant), Dr. Valerie Arkoosh is the dark horse in the race for Allyson Schwartz’s seat in Congress. But she’s not cashing checks like one. She finished the year having raised more cash ($935,000) and having more of it on hand ($643,000) than anyone else in the race. Arkoosh, from Springfield Township, is an obstetric anesthesiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and was until recently the president of a health care advocacy group called the National Physicians Alliance, which is much less of a lobby for rich doctors than it sounds. I recently spoke with Dr. Arkoosh by phone.
Following York County businessman Tom Wolf’s flash of the $2.9 million he’s raised so far for May’s gubernatorial primary, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s campaign has released its own numbers — 6.5 million smackeroos.
In the end—my last moment with Allyson Schwartz, sitting in her office in Washington—she is about to cry. “You’re getting a little emotional, Congresswoman,” I tell her. “Yes,” she says. “So I’m done.” // I laugh—her abruptness is funny, as she intends. But she also means it, that we’re done. I thank her for all the time she’s given me, we say goodbye, and our last interview is over.
Schwartz and I have spent the past half-hour rolling through some things other people have said about her. Normally, talking to Allyson Schwartz produces a torrent of energy and initiatives and ideas. By the time of that last interview, I’d spent hours with her—at a diner in the Northeast; in Pittsburgh, where she logged a day campaigning; and then in the U.S. Capitol. Her vigor and drive, especially, are daunting. There is nothing in the world around her—or, more precisely, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where she is running for governor—that Schwartz doesn’t want to fix.
Judging by Tom Corbett’s popularity, which is in the toilet, many Pennsylvanians will probably like that about Schwartz. Indeed, the governorship is there for the taking, and after a decade in Congress and 14 years before that in the state Senate, Schwartz has decided to take a shot at becoming the first woman to lead our state.
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Inky politics writer Thomas Fitzgerald reports that IBEW Local 98, led by John J. Dougherty, will present Rep. Allyson Schwartz a $100,000 check for her gubernatorial bid at tonight’s fundraiser for her. “The union, led by its influential manager business manager John J. Dougherty, announced its endorsement decision ahead of a fundraiser it is hosting for Schwartz at the union hall in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia Wednesday night.” That’s a big Democratic establishment endorsement; will other dominoes fall quickly, or will the nomination battle go long and help Tom Corbett?
Two things were immediately apparent Saturday night at Temple University’s Performing Arts Center, where five of the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates participated in a forum. One, they all think Corbett SUCKS. Two, there’s a pretty good chance our next governor is from the Philly area. Katie McGinty’s from the Northeast and lives in Wayne, Allyson Schwartz resides in Jenkintown, and Rob McCord makes his home in Bryn Mawr.
Here’s the video: