Corbett may get a GOP challenge

Published by James O'Toole on .

A conservative activist from Montgomery County is considering a primary challenge to Gov. Tom Corbett.

Bob Guzzardi, an attorney and longtime critic of the governor, e-mailed like-minded activists across the state, asking them to help him circulate nominating petitions for the GOP primary.  In an interview, he acknowledged that his chance of winning were negligible in a race in which he plans to spend no money, but he observed that Mr. Corbett's chances in the general election were not much better.

"I am only slightly less electable than Corbett,'' Mr. Guzzardi said.

He said he is exploring the contest "to give a greater voice for constitutional Republicanism.''

He said he's not deterred by the long odds because he's focused on "the long game.''

"The long game is not 2014; that's pretty much gone,'' he said.  "I'm thinking about 2016, 2018.''

To that end he hopes his potential candidacy would be a rallying point to spur like-minded conservatives to run for spots on local party committees.

"Corbett has not stood up to the unions, he has raised taxes,'' Mr. Guzzardi said. said.  "People say it's not winnable.  Well, neither is [Corbett's candidacy].'' 

Mr. Guzzardi is a graduate of Georgetown University and Temple University law school.  His interest in the race was first reported on the web site, PoliticsPa., where the lawyer is a frequent commentator.

Mr. Guzzardi's interest in the race is further evidence of dissatisfaction with the governor in some conservative circles.  Legislators from the party's right wing, such as Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, have been sharply critical of the governor, particularly over his support of the transportation legislation that includes an increase in wholesale gas taxes.  But it is also a reminder that that despite the governor's woeful polling numbers, he has so far escaped a challenge from any really formidable, well known Republican.  Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor considered a challenge earlier this year, but dropped the idea in the face of solid GOP establishment support for the incumbent.

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