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Members Eye Opportunities in Gubernatorial Races

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Schock is considering trading in his Capitol Hill office for a gubernatorial run in his home state.

Like Braley, Peters’ decision could hinge on what happens in the Senate. If Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., retires, Peters clears the primary field to succeed him in a less challenging, open-seat race. Peters’ allies aren’t doing much to stop statewide speculation either.

Gary Peters is committed to fighting for Michigan’s families in whichever platform he’s most effective in,” a source close to Peters said.

Pennsylvania: At least two Democratic members haven’t ruled out challenging unpopular Gov. Tom Corbett.

Most notably, recently re-elected Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has refused to rule out challenging the Republican. Democrats say Casey would clear the primary field if he decides to follow in the footsteps of his father, a popular former two-term governor of the Keystone State.

Additionally, Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, recently hired a finance director with statewide experience, stoking speculation she’s also looking at running for governor. Schwartz didn’t tamp down that speculation in a statement from her spokeswoman Dec. 7. But Democratic sources say she has always eyed the seat held by Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in 2016, instead.

Potential Republican Candidates

Illinois: Rep. Aaron Schock has been putting feelers out about running for governor for at least a year. He recently met with the Republican Governors Association about a potential bid.

Illinois is a Democratic stronghold, but Gov. Pat Quinn has some of the worst approval ratings in the country. Quinn’s vulnerability means the second-term congressman isn’t the only Republican eyeing a bid. The local GOP expects a large primary field that could include outgoing Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., too.

Schock allies noted the congressman has not made a decision. What’s more, he has a sweet fall-back position if he decides against running for governor: He represents a safe House district and boasts a coveted seat on the Ways and Means Committee.

New Hampshire: Rep. Frank Guinta lost re-election but has no shortage of options for a comeback in 2014. New Hampshire has a gubernatorial contest every two years, plus Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is running for her first re-election.

Guinta told Roll Call recently that he’s looking at both statewide offices, including challenging newly elected Gov. Maggie Hassan. But he’ll have company in the GOP primary for governor: Several other local Republicans are looking at the race.

2013 Races

There are gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia next year, and local Democrats are floating at least one House member to run in the Garden State. Local Democratic leaders tout Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., as a potential “compromise” nominee to challenge Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, according to a report in The Bergen Record. Pascrell’s top aide released a statement to the newspaper saying the congressman “has always been willing to listen to party leaders about what is in the best interests of our party and our state.”

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