F&M to host gubernatorial primary candidates at televised forum in May

By Jeffrey Robinowitz, Staff Writer ||

On May 1, F&M will host a televised forum featuring four candidates for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s upcoming gubernatorial election. The College’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs, WGAL TV News, Penn/Live-The Patriot News, and The Lancaster Newspapers/LancasterOnline are sponsoring the event.

“I wrote the campaigns, on behalf of our partners, and invited the candidates to participate in the May 1 forum,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs. Madonna successfully recruited four candidates in the race for Pennsylvania’s Democratic nomination: Robert McCord, state treasurer; Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary; Allyson Schwartz, U.S. congresswoman from Pennsylvania; and Tom Wolf, former state revenue secretary.

According to the most recent F&M Poll, of the four candidates, Wolf is the frontrunner. Even though his lead has slipped from 36 percent to 33 percent, the poll showed he has maintained a sizeable lead over his opponents— Schwartz, for example, follows him with the support of seven percent of voters polled.

The event will be a 90 minute forum, moderated by Madonna, in which one journalist from each of the three previously mentioned publications will ask the candidates questions. Madonna expects the questions to vary greatly and cover issues relevant to Pennsylvania.

“Most likely education, taxes, energy, legislative reform, social issues [gay marriage, medical marijuana, etc.] and how the campaigns are being waged,” he said.

Cameron Koob ’16, president of F&M’s College Democrats and an affiliate of the Wolf campaign, anticipates questions about the state’s environment and economy to come up during the forum.

“How to best revitalize Pennsylvania’s economy is a key issue, and everyone has a number of ideas on how to do it,” Koob said. “Protection of the state’s environment is also a big concern going into the race against Corbett, with candidates calling for stricter regulations and more incentives for renewable energy.”

Madonna explained that this event will be an excellent opportunity to meet the real candidates outside of the ads and commercials that will amplify as the primary approaches.

Beyond the issues likely to arise, Madonna explained this event will be an excellent opportunity to meet the real candidates outside the commercials and hype.

Koob commented on the significance of this event as a chance to gain a larger appreciation for non-federal elections, especially for those who may not fully understand the impact of such races.

“People often don’t realize the importance of local and state politics in their everyday lives,” he said. “I hope that those watching the debate walk away from it with a strong notion of which candidate they support, and an understanding of why their vote is so important this Spring and Fall.”

Following the May 20 Democratic primary, the Center for Politics and Public Affairs intends to invite the winner and Tom Corbett, the incumbent governor, to an additional general election forum. An F&M Poll from January revealed only 23 percent of voters believe Corbett is doing a good job, while 62 percent believe the state is on the wrong track.

First-year Jeffrey Robinowitz is a staff writer. His email is jrobinow@fandm.edu.

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