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Democratic Candidates for Governor to Participate in Televised F&M Forum

  • The Pennsylvania state flag

This story was updated on May 1, 2014

Franklin & Marshall College's Center for Politics and Public Affairs will host a forum at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, with the four candidates vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination – three weeks before the party's primary.

All tickets to the forum have been distributed, but Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN Channel 186) and WGAL-TV's ThisTV 8.2 will broadcast the forum live. It also will be livestreamed at wgal.comLancasterOnline and PennLiveWGAL 8.1 will re-broadcast the event at noon, Sunday, May 4. LancasterOnline and PennLive will continue to make the video available for replay.

Those on campus may watch the event in an overflow area in the Steinman College Center atrium.  

The winner of the May 20 primary will face incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall, when the Center plans to conduct a general election forum between the Democratic nominee and Corbett.

"The purpose of the May 1 forum is for the candidates to express their views on a range of issues, from business to education to taxes, and to give students as well as voters an idea about where the candidates stand and who they are," said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center and of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll. "We expect to have a lively and substantive debate."

Madonna will serve as moderator during a 90-minute forum, which will be held in F&M's Ann and Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts. Three journalists from WGAL News Channel 8, PennLive.com/The Patriot-News, and Lancaster Newspapers/LancasterOnline will ask the candidates questions.

The Democratic candidates participating in the forum are:

·      U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County

·      State Treasurer Robert McCord of Montgomery County

·      York County businessman and former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf

·      Former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty of Chester County

The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll released Feb. 26 showed Wolf well ahead of his closest competitor, Schwartz, with 36 percent saying they would support Wolf's nomination, compared with 9 percent supporting Schwartz. The poll, considered one of the most reliable in the nation and frequently cited in the media, was conducted a month after Wolf launched a comprehensive television and radio advertising campaign, with no opposing advertisements.

The F&M poll has been reporting on Corbett's approval among Pennsylvania voters in both parties for the past year, and the results have been widely publicized. According to a Jan. 30 F&M poll, 23 percent of voters believe the Republican governor is doing an "excellent" or "good" job while a majority, 62 percent, believe the state is "off on the wrong track."

Typically, after an F&M poll is released, its nine media partners -- the Philadelphia Daily News, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, The Reading Eagle, WGAL, WTAETV in Pittsburgh, WPVITV6/ABC in Philadelphia, Times-Shamrock Newspapers, PennLive.com/Patriot-News, and Lancaster Newspapers/LancasterOnline -- publish stories analyzing the results. Dozens of other major media outlets have cited the poll results in their reporting of major issues in Pennsylvania and beyond. Madonna also is quoted frequently in regional, national and international media, providing commentary and analysis about how Pennsylvania politics influence the national state of affairs.

While Pennsylvania Democrats this year have organized a series of debates, the Republicans have not, Madonna noted. Corbett, who has his party's backing, is considered virtually unopposed for his party's nomination with only one other contender, Bob Guzzardi, an attorney from the Philadelphia suburbs.

F&M has a strong tradition of participation in the election process -- from the College's popular government major to the poll to distinguished alumni playing prominent roles in politics. The College, for example, hosted two forums on presidential politics in 2012 featuring F&M alumni who have played leading roles in the Republican and Democratic parties. And in the fall 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama spoke at a campaign rally next to the F&M campus in Buchanan Park while John McCain with his running mate, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, rallied supporters at F&M's Alumni Sports & Fitness Center.