Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2006

Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2006
November 7, 2006

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%

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. Pennsylvania's first female Lieutenant Governor, Catherine Baker Knoll was also running for re-election.


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%.[1]

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 had voted Democratic in eight of the past 12 presidential elections, its Congressional delegation had 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 2005 statewide party registration had Democrats out-numbering Republicans in the state 3,841,429 to 3,292,656, with 939,252 registered independent voters.[2]

Democratic Primary

Michael Morrill, the Green Party's nominee for governor in 2002, considered challenging Rendell on a progressive liberal platform. On February 13, 2006, Morrill however stated that he would not run, citing the toll his 2002 race took on his family.[3][4] Rendell thus ran unopposed.


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

Republican primary

Lynn Swann, Jeff Piccola, Jim Panyard and Bill Scranton III all announced their intention to run in the Republican primary for Governor in 2006. Scranton, who served two terms as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, is the son of popular former Governor William Scranton, and a member of the wealthy and politically influential Scranton family, was the early front-runner. However a series of blunders by own campaign,[5] and a lack of momentum from the Piccola and Panyard campaigns, moved Swann into presumptive nominee status.[6] The state Republican party then endorsed Swann, leading the three other candidates to drop out ahead of the March deadline to file for the primary.






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


Four candidates were campaigning for governor,[13] 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 and Independent candidate Russ Diamond were 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.[14] The challenge followed Republican Senator Rick Santorum's drive to collect signatures to put Green candidate Carl Romanelli on the ballot.[15]

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.[16]


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.

Former Steeler Lynn Swann courts voters tailgating before a football game between Pennsylvania's two football teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles.[22]

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. Also, when compared to other polls, the six percent lead was an outlier. 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, which they felt would help him spread his message. They also pointed out that no Pennsylvania governor had lost re-election since the 1950s, [until the PA Constitutional Convention of 1968, Pennsylvania 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.[23][24]

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. On 7 February 2006 Swann served as master of ceremonies for the Pittsburgh Steelers's Super Bowl XL victory parade before 250,000 people.[25] Swann canvassed for votes among tailgating voters in Philadelphia before the Steelers game against the Eagles.[22] Polls in early February showed Swann and Rendell in a statistical tie.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28]


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[29][30]
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 4,095,322 100.00
Voter turnout 50.05%

See also


  1. Survey USA
  2. 2005 Municipal Election
  3. Morrill Majority
  4. Morrill release
  7. "GOP Shortlist for Governor". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2002.
  8. "GOP Shortlist for Governor". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2002.
  9. "GOP Shortlist for Governor". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2002.
  10. "GOP Shortlist for Governor". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2002.
  11. "GOP Shortlist for Governor". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2002.
  12. "GOP Shortlist for Governor". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on November 8, 2002.
  13. Politics1: Pennsylvania
  14. Green Party candidates give up
  15. Green Party candidate withdraws
  16. Minor parties sue
  17. Ed Rendell's Campaign Website
  18. Lynn Swann's Campaign Website
  19. Green Party
  20. Hagan For Governor site
  21. Russ Diamond's Campaign Website
  22. 1 2 Ritter, Kara (August 2006). "Ex-Steeler looks to sway support of Eagles' fans". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  23. Madonna analysis
  24. Franklin & Marshall College (Terry Madonna) Center for Politics & Public Affairs
  25. A quarter-million thanks Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  26. Rendell, Swann in dead heat Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  27. Barnes, Tom; Roddy, Dennis B. (November 8, 2006). "Rendell cruises to 2nd term as governor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  28. Deparle, Jason (May 18, 2006). "G.O.P. Conservatives Topple Veteran State Lawmakers in Pennsylvania". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  29. The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 7-18.
  30. The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 7-84.


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