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Corbett Gets A Republican Primary Challenger

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Today was the last day to file nominating petitions of Governor, Congress and General Assembly.

One of these Democrats will take on Governor Tom Corbett in the fall: John Hanger, Katie McGinty, Rob McCord, Allyson Schwartz, Jack Wagner or Tom Wolf.

But the biggest surprise? Republican voters will also get a choice in their primary.

"This is why I am running -- to give Republicans a choice and challenge to the incumbent and insiders," challenger Bob Guzzardi told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.

Guzzardi, a conservative Republican from suburban Philadelphia, says Corbett broke his word.

"Tom Corbett made promises to the voters who voted for him in 2010 that he would not raise taxes and increase fees," he said. "He broke those promises."

Guzzardi cites the gas tax and other hikes in government fees.

And also targets Corbett for dragging his feet on the Sandusky prosecution.

"And then it gets over to the attorney general's office where it gets slow-rolled for the next two-and-a-half years," said Guzzardi. "This is astounding that he didn't arrest Sandusky on the spot."

Republican strategist Mike DeVanney, who's not involved in this gubernatorial campaign, says Corbett will beat Guzzardi but "obviously a primary challenge is not something that is useful for the governor."

"It's certainly not a situation that an incumbent wants to be in. Incumbents want to sail to their party's nominations. Incumbents do not want to spend any money in their primary talking to their own voters," added DeVanney.

Guzzardi is optimistic.

Delano: "Do you think you can beat him in the Republican primary?"

Guzzardi: "Yes, oh definitely."

A recent Human Events-Gravis poll found that 41 percent of Republicans would prefer a candidate other than Corbett.

And in a head-to-head match among Republicans, Corbett beat Guzzardi, 42 percent to 23 percent, but with a more than a third -- 35 percent -- undecided.

Challenges to Republican incumbents in their party primaries are rare, and few believe Guzzardi can beat Corbett this spring.

But he can embarrass the governor by getting a substantial number of Republican votes.

How much is that?

Republican strategist DeVanney says if Guzzardi gets 40 percent or more, that spells trouble for Corbett.

The primary for both Republicans and Democrats is exactly ten weeks from today.


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