Pennsylvania: Schwartz for Governor?

It's no secret Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz has statewide ambitions. She could run for governor in 2014 or for Senate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz made waves Friday morning by picking up a new finance director with statewide experience. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Democratic lawmaker's hire of Aubrey Montgomery fuels speculation she's looking at running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

Schwartz has long been discussed as a potential statewide candidate, although sources say she's eyeing a challenge to Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in 2016. She's ascended the House leadership ladder, taking a prominent role as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's recruitment chairwoman last cycle.

But the Congresswoman's top aide did nothing to tamp down the gubernatorial speculation when asked about Schwartz's political future.

"People always say two things to Allyson — 'Allyson, stand firm on your principles and the priorities that matter.' And, then they say to her, 'Find common ground. Be willing to reach compromise in order to fix problems,'" Rachel Magnuson wrote in an email. "It's not a contradiction [to] do those two things, it's really what her job is, and that's why she is looking at how best to use her skills and experiences to solve problems and reach common ground, while standing up for the priorities and values of middle class families."

Several Democrats have indicated interest in challenging Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, in 2014. Even Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., suggested last summer than he'd consider running for the job, although Democrats say that's highly unlikely given he just won re-election.

Corbett's poor poll numbers make him an attractive target for Democrats. But retiring him will be a daunting task: Pennsylvania voters have never defeated a governor after a single term in modern political history.

If Schwartz seeks higher office, there's no shortage of local Democrats who could run for her suburban Philadelphia seat. They include state Sen. Daylin Leach, former state Rep. Mike Gerber and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.

The 13th District reliably votes for Democrats, and Schwartz has always won it by double-digits.