Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Since there is no longer a path to victory in the Democratic primary, I am withdrawing my candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania. This decision disappoints my great campaign team and me, as well as thousands of our supporters. But we have tried every possible means to find a way to win and so avoid the necessity of making this decision.

John HangerWith no path to victory, to press on could cause damage to the issues and people for which we campaigned.

At its outset, in November 2012, this campaign had three goals. First, propose bold, transformational policies to strengthen education, create jobs, protect our environment, and bring forth a new birth of freedom for all Pennsylvanians. Our second and third goals were to win the Democratic primary and end the long nightmare of the Corbett administration in November.

As (for that latter goal), all the Democratic candidates today are in a great position to hand Gov. Corbett his eviction papers and he is headed toward an historic defeat both because of his own weakness, his incompetence and extremism, and the strength of the Democratic gubernatorial field. Corbett is on the way to a landslide defeat to the Democratic nominee that may rival that of Sen. (Rick) Santorum in 2006.

We achieved our first, and most important, goal of proposing numerous detailed policy solutions that will rebuild Pennsylvania. We have driven the debate on issue after issue – charter school accountability, reforming our cruel marijuana policies that harm patients and ruin the lives of good people, as well as energy and environmental policy. The bold solutions that we proposed are now part of the vernacular of the Democratic campaign, and they will be part of the policy package that will persuade Pennsylvanians to elect a Democrat as governor in November.

On the second goal of winning the Democratic primary, Tom Wolf‘s television campaign has been startlingly effective, and he has taken a commanding lead, having reached support of 40 percent or more. His strong rise in the polls impacted the campaigns of all his competitors and stopped momentum that we had in January, though we alone among the competing campaigns did not lose ground in some polls.

Tom Wolf’s surge that stalled our January momentum meant that our recent polling has not been strong enough to raise the funds needed to pay for television and radio advertising that we will need at the end of this campaign. Furthermore, and crucially for our campaign, it is now probable that Tom Wolf, or whomever wins the Democratic primary, will get considerably more than 30 percent of the primary vote, a target we cannot reach.

My primary opponents have been and are excellent candidates and have conducted their campaigns well and honorably, never losing focus on the ultimate goal. It was a privilege to compete with them, and I count them all as friends.

John Hanger
Former candidate for PA governor

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