Outlook: Solid Democratic
August 2, 2006 Update:
Governor Ed Rendell is looking more solid for his second term. Republican Lynn Swann briefly tied or led Rendell in polls, and Rendell is not an absolute lock for November. Nonetheless, we can see the Rendell trend in the making, and if it continues we will change the status of this race after Labor Day.
June 29, 2006 Update:
A fascinating thing has happened in the Keystone State. Seventeen state legislators of both parties were defeated in the primaries on account of the botched “midnight pay hike,” and that result appears to have satisfied many of the voters deeply angry over the salary grab. By no means has all of the anger dissipated, and more incumbents could lose because of it in November. Yet voters no longer seem to be striking out at Gov. Ed Rendell for his secondary role in the disgraceful affair. Rendell’s approval rating is up, well over 50 percent, and it is becoming apparent that the GOP’s Lynn Swann will need a dump truck full of good luck and a side miracle to beat “Fast Eddie.”
June 1, 2006 Update:
Governor Ed Rendell is looking better in this contest, and he should be able to defeat Republican Lynn Swann if present trends continue.
March 27, 2006 Update:
Republican primary candidate Lynn Swann is doing very well in early polling, but no one who knows Democratic Governor Ed Rendell would ever count him out. We still consider him the likely winner, though he will have to work hard. He is depending on Swann’s lack of knowledge of state government, and indeed Swann has made a couple of gaffes already.
Governor Ed Rendell seems to have a stable lead over Republican challenger Lynn Swann, who has recently gone on the offensive over the controversial pay raises of July 2005. All incumbent legislators who supported the raises have since lost their seats, but the incumbent governor doesn’t seem to be budging. In fact, Rendell has surpassed Swann in central Pennsylvania, where anger over the pay raises was the most intense. Swann has also drawn criticism for not appealing to his base as much as he should or is necessary. He faces an opponent who in 2002 received a considerable amount of republican votes. Now in 2006, Rendell has around 30 percent of the republican vote. Although the pay raise issue will give Swann something to campaign on, he will probably need other issues to change the course of the race.
Alexander Covington, Crystal Ball Mid-Atlantic Regional Correspondent
The GOP may try a Hail Mary pass to ex-Steelers star Lynn Swann, or they could choose former Lt. Gov. Bill Scranton III. Either would be an underdog to first-term Democratic Governor Ed Rendell; although Rendell is currently in a slump, and he will have to work hard to rebuild his popularity for 2006. The Keystone State can never be taken for granted by either party, in any contest. For now, the edge goes to Rendell, but this race is worth monitoring.
Gov. Rendell’s participation in the massively unpopular legislative pay hike has cost him dearly, even though the effort was strictly bipartisan.