Rep. Schwartz makes Pa. governor bid official, opens safe Democratic seat

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) is officially running for the Democratic nomination for governor in Pennsylvania, a spokesman told The Hill, opening her seat to what will likely be a contentious Democratic primary in 2014.

Schwartz has long been considering a run, and has a strong national fundraising network that could help make her competitive in the race. 

She is hoping to become the state's first female governor, and is likely to get heavy fundraising and organizational support from EMILY's List, which advocates electing pro-choice Democratic women and has been pushing her to get into the race.

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She currently has $3.1 million in her House campaign coffers, all of which will be transferred over to her gubernatorial campaign.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Schwartz characterized her campaign as one that, if successful, would "defy history." She said that she's running to offer a better alternative to Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

“He’s just missing in action most of the time,” Schwartz, of Montgomery County, said in the interview. 

She noted that the state’s unemployment rate has been well above the national average during Corbett’s term. “What I’m hearing from people around the state is that they know we need a fresh perspective about the economy and growth.”

She'll face a primary challenge from former state Environmental Protection Agency head John Hanger (D), who has already launched a bid. Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord (D) has been moving toward running, as well.

Recent polling has shown Corbett to be vulnerable going into reelection, giving Democrats hope they can take back the state in 2014.

Schwartz's run will open up a seat in suburban Philadelphia that is comfortably blue. Sensing an opportunity, a handful of Democrats have already indicated their interest in the seat.

State Rep. Brendan Boyle announced his candidacy for the seat just hours before Schwartz made her bid official. And state Sen. Daylin Leach and Valerie Arkoosh, a University of Pennsylvania professor of medicine, also declared their intentions to run for the seat before Schwartz made her run for governor official.

There are a handful of other Pennsylvania Democrats, including state Sen. Michael Stack, former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, considering a run.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Saidel is chairing Schwartz's campaign committee.