Barbara Hafer

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Barbara Hafer
33rd Treasurer of Pennsylvania
In office
January 21, 1997[1] – January 18, 2005[2]
Preceded by Catherine Baker Knoll
Succeeded by Bob Casey, Jr.
48th Auditor General of Pennsylvania
In office
January 17, 1989[3] – January 21, 1997[4]
Preceded by Donald A. Bailey
Succeeded by Bob Casey, Jr.
Member of the Allegheny County
Board of Commissioners
In office
January 2, 1984[5] – January 17, 1989
Preceded by William Hunt
Succeeded by Larry Dunn[6]
Personal details
Born (1943-08-01) August 1, 1943 (age 71)
Los Angeles
Political party Democratic Party (Since 2003)
Other political
Republican Party
(Before 2003)
Spouse(s) John Pidgeon (deceased)
Children Four
Residence Indiana, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Duquesne University
Occupation Registered Nurse, Politician

Barbara Hafer (born August 1, 1943) is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Initially a member of the Republican Party, she served as a member of the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners from 1984 to 1989, as the Auditor General of Pennsylvania from 1989 to 1997 and as the Treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1997 to 2005. She explored a run for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2002 but declined to run after the party rallied around Pennsylvania Attorney General D. Michael Fisher. She went on to endorse Democratic nominee Ed Rendell, who won the election, and in 2003, she joined the Democratic Party. After leaving office in 2005, she considered running for several offices, but never did so.

Early political career[edit]

Hafer was elected to the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners in 1983, after she defeated incumbent Republican William Hunt in the primary election.[7] In 1988, she defeated incumbent Democratic State Auditor General Donald A. Bailey, and went on to serve two four-year terms in the post. In 1990, she was the Republican nominee for Governor against Robert P. Casey. Hafer was defeated by thirty-six percentage points—one of the most lopsided defeats in state history. She later successfully ran for State Treasurer in 1996, and was re-elected in 2000.

The Pennsylvania Report said that "She has never marched to a regular drummer, but that is part of her long-running appeal."[8] In a 2002 PoliticsPA Feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, she was named the "Most Popular."[9]

2002 gubernatorial election and party-switch[edit]

In 2002, Hafer explored a run for the Republican nomination for Governor (incumbent Republican Governor Mark Schweiker had already announced his intention not to contest the race). However, after it became clear that the GOP establishment had already decided on Pennsylvania Attorney General D. Michael Fisher, she dropped out of the race. During the campaign, Hafer decided to endorse Democrat Ed Rendell. In 2003, Hafer completed her political conversion by switching to the Democratic Party. Her decision to endorse Rendell "psychologically helped break" the back of the Fisher campaign.[8]

Later political career[edit]

After her party switch, it was reported that she was considering a 2006 bid for lieutenant governor, challenging incumbent Catherine Baker Knoll in the Democratic primary. Hafer and Baker Knoll had a long-standing political feud which dates to Hafer's two races for treasurer. In 1996, Hafer defeated Knoll's daughter, Mina Baker Knoll, for treasurer and in 2000 defeated Baker Knoll for treasurer. Knoll preceded Hafer as state treasurer.

In early 2005, she chose not to seek the Democratic Nomination for U.S. Senate against Republican Senator Rick Santorum. Later that year, she decided against a challenge to Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, choosing instead to focus on her new consulting business. Her daughter, Beth, sought to run against Republican Congressman Tim Murphy in 2008, though narrowly lost the Democratic primary.[10]

In February 2010, Hafer declared her candidacy for the Congressional seat left vacant by the death of incumbent Democrat John Murtha.[11] She sought the Democratic nomination for the May special election before ending her Congressional candidacy on March 10, 2010.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In the fall of 2010, Hafer was named in an estate lawsuit that revolves around her late husband, John Pidgeon. The lawsuit claims that she shifted more than $900,000 from her late husband's children and grandchildren to herself and her daughter in the final months of her husband's life. Pidgeon's children and grandchildren are claiming that Hafer took advantage of her husband's declining health and mental status in order to gain financial benefit.[13]

Prior to her political career, Hafer was employed as a registered nurse. She resides in Indiana, Pennsylvania.


  1. ^ "New State Officials Take Their Oath". The Philadelphia Inquirer. January 22, 1997. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Special Sessions Usually Aren't". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 2, 2005. Retrieved November 20, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Casey welcomes Knoll, Hafer, Preate to Office". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 18, 1989. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  4. ^ Cattabiani, Mario (January 24, 1997). "It's Robert, Not Bobby, If You Please". The Morning Call. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ "New Allegheny commissioners promise new era of cooperation". The Gettysburg Times. January 3, 1984. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Roddey, Dennis (January 19, 1989). "Dunn wins Hafer post; focuses on staff". The Pittsburgh Post. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ Rosensweet, Alvin (November 18, 1983). "Commissioners OK bond issue; Hafer protests". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "The PA Report "Power 75" List" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 31, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-02. 
  9. ^ "Keystone State Yearbook Committee". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2001. Archived from the original on 2002-08-31. 
  10. ^ "House Outlook for 2008". University of Virginia Center for Politics. October 22, 2008. Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  11. ^ Manganaro, John. "Exclusive: Hafer running to succeed Murtha". Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ Becker, Bernie (March 10, 2010). "Democrat Drops Out of Race for Murtha Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  13. ^ Nereim, Vivian (October 13, 2010). "Hafer named in estate lawsuit". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Hunt
Member of the Allegheny County Board of Commissioners
Succeeded by
Larry Dunn
Preceded by
Donald A. Bailey
Auditor General of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Bob Casey, Jr.
Preceded by
Catherine Baker Knoll
Treasurer of Pennsylvania
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lowman Henry
Republican nominee for Treasurer of Pennsylvania
1996, 2000
Succeeded by
Jean Craige Pepper
Preceded by
William Scranton, III
Republican nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Tom Ridge
Preceded by
Susan Shanaman
Republican nominee for Auditor General of Pennsylvania
1988, 1992
Succeeded by
Bob Nyce