Trouble for Schwartz’s PA gubernatorial campaign?

Get to know U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, people!

It’s no secret, or surprise, that U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-13) is a frontrunner for the Democratic gubernatorial primary to face Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014.

Among those who’ve announced or floated their name—former PA Environmental Protection Agency secretary John Hanger, former PA Dept. of Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, PA Treasurer Rob McCord, others—Schwartz has gotten the most press and has commanding leads in many polls released around the upcoming election. Those same polls often show that the Congresswoman and self-proclaimed “highest-ranking woman elected official in Pennsylvania” would probably beat Corbett, too. At least, if the election were held “today.”

The campaign looks to be hers to lose. She’s got the biggest following, name and money source. She represents parts of Philly, but, at least to the rest of the state, not the scary parts. She claims residence in the Philly suburbs, which are necessary to win any commonwealth election. She’s a solid moderate on most issues (some might say too moderate) save women’s rights, where she’s considered to the far left of many Republicans and Democrats.

But our friends over at Keystone Politics are beginning to see trouble in paradise for the Schwartz campaign. As per a blog released yesterday:

[O]ne of Schwartz’s top campaign staffers, her communications director Reesa Kossoff, has left the campaign.

“Reesa has left the campaign to pursue other opportunities,” Schwartz consultant Mark Bergman told Keystone Politics in an email. “We wish her all the best.”

Just a communications director, right? What could the harm really be here? According to writer Jake Sternberger, there’s plenty at which to raise an eyebrow.

Before Schwartz officially jumped into the gubernatorial race, Politico reported that Schwartz’s first major move was hiring Kossoff as her campaign’s communications director. At the time, Politico touted the early hire, saying Kossoff “ran regional press in Ohio for the Obama campaign, where she pushed the president’s bailout of the auto industry — and Mitt Romney’s opposition to his plan — as a reason for Buckeye State voters to vote to re-elect Obama.”

And when The Hill wrote their article announcing that Schwartz was “firmly committed to running,” their first bullet point was Kossoff’s hiring. Now, after just four months on the job, Kossoff has jumped ship. It is unclear whether the separation was amicable.

He concludes:

Early staff shake-ups are not uncommon on campaigns, but it’s not like Kossoff was a middling deputy. As late as May 1st Kossoff was one of Schwartz’s only three staffers, including Finance Director Aubrey Montgomery and longtime Schwartz aide Neil Deegan. Since then, Schwartz has rounded off her team, but losing a member of the original core group is never a good sign.

Considering what a nightmare Corbett has been for liberals throughout Pennsylvania (as well as students, teachers, government workers, the poor, the working poor, the middle class, women, others) it’s important the party nominates someone who can actually, you know, win. Hopefully, for her, this recent hiccup is just that.

Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyLoBasso

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