A 1984 Law School graduate has become the first Democrat to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.) for his position.
John Hanger, who served as Pennsylvania’s environmental protection secretary under 1965 College graduate, former Gov. Ed Rendell, declared his candidacy Wednesday.
Hanger declared his candidacy for the 2014 race at the Reading Terminal Market during a news conference.
“The governor himself knows he’s vulnerable,” he said at the conference. “He’s a smart man. Republicans know he’s vulnerable.” While Corbett has not yet declared that he will run for a second term, he has indicated that he is interested.
Hanger said his campaign will emphasize the economy, education, energy and the environment. He accused Corbett of leading an “attack on public schools and universities.”
Hanger intends to tax natural gas extraction and use that revenue to pay for projects such as education and environmental conservation. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only major state to produce natural gas that does not tax its production.
He also said he wants to repeal the state’s voter ID law, should it be in effect if he’s elected.
In regards to social issues, Hanger supports legalizing gay marriage and the use of medical marijuana.
Corbett’s public approval ratings are currently low. Although no other Democrat has come forth to challenge him, Treasurer Rob McCord and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro have been mentioned as potential candidates.
Hanger claims part of the reason he began his campaign early was to raise enough funds to challenge Corbett, who raised millions in his last election.
“It will take a significant campaign to beat him, and that’s why I’m starting early,” he said.