Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2006

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Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2006
2002 ←
November 7, 2006 → 2010

  Ed Rendell.jpg Swann-lg.jpg
Candidate Ed Rendell Lynn Swann
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate Catherine Baker Knoll Jim Matthews
Popular vote 2,470,517 1,622,135
Percentage 60.4% 39.6%

Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Election Results by County, 2006.svg

County Results

Governor before election

Ed Rendell

Elected Governor

Ed Rendell

The Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 2006 was held on November 7, 2006, and included the races for the Governor of Pennsylvania and Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania.

Incumbent Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, ran for re-election. Though some had speculated that Rendell would choose another running mate,[1] Pennsylvania's first female Lieutenant Governor, Catherine Baker Knoll was also running for re-election.


Shortly after the 2002 Gubernatorial election, political observers speculated that Jeff Piccola, Jane Earll, Pat Toomey, Mark Schweiker, Melissa Hart, Rick Santorum, Bruce Castor would consider pursuing the GOP nomination.[2]

Four candidates where campaigning for governor,[3] but only two went on to appear on the ballot in November. Rendell and Swann both were unopposed for their respective major party nominations. Constitution candidate Hagan Smith was unable to secure the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot. On August 11, Green Party candidate Marakay Rogers withdrew her nominating papers, following a challenge by Pennsylvania Democrats, who alleged more than 69,000 signatures on the petitions were fake names, unregistered voters or illegible.[4] The challenge followed Republican Senator Rick Santorum's drive to collect signatures to put Green candidate Carl Romanelli on the ballot.[5]

Rogers continued to campaign, hopeful that a federal appeals court would rule favorably in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's signature requirement for third party candidates.[6]

Not running:

  • Jim Panyard—the former president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association withdrew from the race in February 2006. His official statement cited poor fundraising and the lack of significant media attention among his reasons.[11]
  • William Scranton III—a former Lieutenant Governor and the 1986 GOP nominee. He is also the son of former governor William Scranton. On 25 January 2006 Scranton fired his campaign manager Jim Seif when he referred to Swann as "the rich white guy in this campaign" on a Pennsylvania Cable Network call-in show.[12] Seif was attempting to portray Swann as the favorite of the GOP political establishment. Scranton withdrew from the race on February 7, 2006, stating that he had found that Lynn Swann was receiving "near unanimous backing of the state and national parties." [13][14]
  • Russ Diamond[15] (Independent), one of three people declared "people of the year" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, for his work in exposing the clandestine pay raise the General Assembly voted themselves at 2am just before adjournment in July 2005. His running mate would have been Tom Lingenfelter, a former GOP state committeeman, conservative activist, and frequent candidate. Diamond ended his campaign due to an inability to meet the petition requirements to get on the ballot as an independent.
  • Michael Morrill—he is a political activist and was the Green Party's nominee for governor in 2002. Had he run as a Democrat, Morrill likely would have attempted to court support from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party by attacking what he perceives as flaws in Governor Rendell's record on labor unions, civil liberties, and poverty alleviation. Morrill announced on February 13, 2006, that he would not run, citing the "toll" his 2002 race took on him and his family.[16][17]


Democratic Primary[edit]


Democratic Party primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ed Rendell (Incumbent) 654,985 100.00%

Republican Primary[edit]


Republican Party primary for Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Lynn Swann 583,658 100.00%


Rendell and Knoll had the advantage of incumbency, important in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Rendell's approval rating as of May 2006 was 62%.[18]

Challenging Rendell was former Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer, Lynn Swann (R). His running mate was businessman Jim Matthews, Montgomery County Commisoner and the brother of MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

In the 2000 Presidential election, then Vice President Al Gore won the state 51%-47% over then Texas Governor George W. Bush. In 2004, Senator John Kerry carried the state 51%-49% over incumbent President Bush.

Although the state has voted Democratic for 8 of the past 12 presidential elections, its Congressional delegation has been majority Republican for years. The counties of Philadelphia and Allegheny are the Democratic strongholds (Philadelphia: 75% Democrat, Allegheny: 60% Democrat), while the central part of the state is where the Republican Party fares best. The statewide party registration is:[19]

Party Count Share
Democratic 3,841,429 47.6%
Republican 3,292,656 40.8%
Other 939,252 11.6%
Former Steeler Lynn Swann courts voters tailgating before a football game between Pennsylvania's two football teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles.[20]

In July 2005, a Zogby Poll showed Rendell with only a 47% to 41% lead over Lynn Swann. Some speculated that controversy over Act 72, proposed Medicaid cuts, and possibly even a legislative pay increase that was signed into law had reduced the Governor’s popularity.[citation needed] Also, when compared to other polls, the six percent lead was an outlier[citation needed]. Rendell has led in other recent polls by significantly higher margins.

Following that poll, Rendell’s supporters pointed out that he has raised more money than his opponents[citation needed], which they felt would help him spread his message[citation needed]. They also pointed out that no Pennsylvania governor had lost re-election since the 1950s, [until the PA Constitutional Convention of 1968, PA governors were limited to one consecutive term—therefore a correct statement would be "no PA governor has lost a bid for re-election since 1970"] and that, as a sitting governor, Rendell had all of the traditional advantages of an incumbent.[21][22]

Swann hoped to perform strongly in the conservative "T" section of the state (the central and northern regions) and in his native western Pennsylvania area[citation needed]. On 7 February 2006 Swann served as master of ceremonies for the Pittsburgh Steelers's Super Bowl XL victory parade before 250,000 people.[23] Swann canvassed for votes among tailgating voters in Philadelphia before the Steelers game against the Eagles.[20]

At the time, Rendell had relatively low approval ratings outside of his native Southeastern Pennsylvania. Polls in early February showed Swann and Rendell in a statistical tie.[24]

However, Swann's momentum did not survive an effective barrage of advertising from Rendell in early spring and had trouble keeping up with Rendell's effective fundraising.[25] Swann's focus on "reforming" Harrisburg never caught traction, possibly as a result of his vocal support for Chip Brightbill and Robert Jubelirer, two legislative leaders who were defeated in the May 2006 primary election.[26]


Source Date Rendell (D) Swann (R)
Temple/Inquirer Poll September 24, 2006 60% 33%
Rasmussen September 22, 2006 56% 36%
Zogby/WSJ September 11, 2006 51.6% 42.1%
Zogby/WSJ August 28, 2006 48.4% 43.5%
Rasmussen August 25, 2006 50% 38%
Strategic Vision August 17, 2006 51% 41%
Quinnipiac August 16, 2006 57% 38%
Rasmussen July 26, 2006 50% 40%
Zogby/WSJ July 24, 2006 47.5% 41.1%
Strategic Vision July 20, 2006 49% 36%
Rasmussen June 26, 2006 50% 36%
Quinnipiac June 22, 2006 55% 31%
Zogby/WSJ June 21, 2006 47.7% 43.4%
Strategic Vision June 15, 2006 49% 38%
Rasmussen May 25, 2006 52% 34%
Quinnipiac May 12, 2006 55% 33%
Strategic Vision May 10, 2006 49% 41%
Keystone Poll May 3, 2006 49% 35%
Rasmussen April 29, 2006 41% 44%
IssuesPA/Pew Poll April 17–26, 2006 30% 29%
Muhlenberg April 17–24, 2006 45% 39%
Strategic Vision April 13, 2006 44% 42%
Quinnipiac April 5, 2006 47% 37%
IssuesPA/Pew Poll March 30, 2006 29% 35%
Rasmussen March 28, 2006 44% 41%
Strategic Vision March 15, 2006 44% 44%
Muhlenberg March 4, 2006 46% 43%
Rasmussen Feb 21, 2006 46% 43%
Quinnipiac Feb 15, 2006 48% 36%
Keystone Poll Feb 9, 2006 45% 42%
Strategic Vision Jan 25, 2006 44% 46%
Rasmussen Jan 19, 2006 43% 45%
Strategic Vision Dec 21, 2005 45% 41%
Quinnipiac Dec 13, 2005 48% 35%
Strategic Vision Nov 16, 2005 45% 42%
Rasmussen Nov 7, 2005 50% 36%
Strategic Vision Oct 19, 2005 46% 41%
Keystone Poll September, 2005 53% 33%
Strategic Vision Sept 12, 2005 48% 43%
Strategic Vision Aug 2, 2005 47% 41%
Rasmussen July 20, 2005 47% 41%
Keystone Poll June 2005 42% 32%
Keystone Poll March 2005 59% 29%


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2006[27][28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ed Rendell (Incumbent) 2,470,517 60.33
Republican Lynn Swann 1,622,135 39.61
Write-in 2,670 0.06
Total votes 4,014,109 100.00
Voter turnout 50.05%

See also[edit]