With the Southeast either likely to be locked up for Allyson Schwartz or split five different directions, everybody’s eyeing the next biggest cluster of liberal votes out west in Pittsburgh.
It’s not yet clear how many big league western PA Democrats will be endorsing Tom Wolf for Governor this weekend, but recall that they’ve been trying to put together a united bloc of endorsements for one of the candidates.
This is probably the next big milestone in the primary campaign after the Great Allyson Schwartz Food Stamp Blunder.
I had been hearing from reliable sources that McGinty was the top choice of western PA bigs a few months ago, but that they would endorse otherwise if somebody else starting running away with the nomination.
We now have our fourth poll showing a Wolf surge, this one with him leading the Democratic field with 51% and Allyson Schwartz dropping to 17%.
Why does this bloc of endorsements matter? Because these are the most prominent Democratic elected officials in western PA, and Peduto-aligned politicians are sitting on oodles of progressive credibility after Peduto’s victory in the 2013 Mayoral race. Look how easy it was to get all the Democratic candidates to endorse Peduto’s position on ride-sharing a few weeks back. His endorsement carries some real weight.
How primaries generally work is that the overwhelming majority of primary voters are not news junkies, and they don’t have the party label shortcut they have in general elections that tells them who supports which policies. So they rely on trusted influentials as a heuristic to figure out who’s got the best combination of issue purity and electability. Those influentials are politicians they like, opinion writers they tend to agree with, and those “political friends” who they trust have been reading up on the elections.
And who those people decide to get behind is what moves the primary voters. Lately everything’s been coming up Wolf in this area, and it’s not really clear to me what could throw him off his grind at this point.