Doherty won’t endorse

Meant to post this yesterday, but had some Internet problems…

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty says he won’t be offering an endorsement to any remaining Democrats in the gubernatorial race. “I talked to the candidates [Wednesday], and I told them I wasn’t going to endorse anybody,” he told me when we spoke yesterday. “I liked them all personally, and we got along real well, so I just thought, let the voters.”

Doherty is exiting the campaign to run for state Senate. He says the idea came to light as soon as he heard Minority Leader Bob Mellow, who’s held the northeastern Pennsylvania seat for decades, was stepping down. Doherty says he can better serve the people of Scranton from the Senate — despite the fact Democrats there currently hold a ten seat minority. “We have a lot of things going on in downtown Scranton today. Like our medical school — Commonwealth Medical College, which is going to be in more need of state funding. And we need a strong advocate in Harrisburg.”

Doherty, who had been lagging far behind other candidates in fundraising efforts, refused to speculate as to whether he’d have made the switch if his gubernatorial campaign had been going better. “You know, this came out of nowhere. You look at it and say, wow I could really do a lot of good here. The other case is kind of hypothetical. What’s the degree of doing better, and the degree of more money? So I feel real good about doing this.”


Doherty announcement tomorrow — update

According to the Inquirer, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty is set to make an announcement “pertaining to his interest in [Bob Mellow’s] state Senate seat” tomorrow.

Doherty has lagged behind other Democratic candidates in fundraising efforts. Speculation about whether or not he’d drop out and run for lieutenant governor filled the weeks leading up to the State Democratic Committee meeting, and when Mellow announced his retirement last week, the “Doherty for Senate” murmering began right away.

If Doherty drops out, the Democratic gubernatorial field would be down to Dan Onorato, Jack Wagner, Joe Hoeffel and (possibly) Anthony Williams

UPDATE — Doherty has told the Scranton Times-Tribune he’s dropping out of the gubernatorial race, and will use tomorrow’s event to officially kick off a state Senate bid. I’ve got a call into the Doherty camp, and am hoping to speak with him sometime soon.

Doherty ups the Senate run chatter…

…with on-the-record comments to the Scranton Times-Tribune.

“I got into public service to make my community better,” he tells them. “When someone of the stature of Senator Mellow retires, you have to ask what would be the best role for Northeast Pennsylvania.”

“I am considering it,” he says, but doesn’t set a timetable for a final decision.

The Democrat didn’t enter his name into the State Committee’s endorsement election last weekend, and his fundraising has lagged behind other candidates in the four (five?)-man race.

A conversation with Chris Doherty

I just wrapped up an interview with Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, who’s running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. We talked about a wide range of topics, including taxes, the Marcellus Shale, and Doherty’s take on social issues.

Among the interview’s highlights:

–Doherty says he wouldn’t be afraid to raise taxes, if the state needed new revenue. He argues Republican candidates who swear off a tax hike aren’t living in reality. “You’re not going to raise taxes? Where are you going to get the money from? And don’t tell me you’re just going to keep reducing the size of government. That means you’re going to keep reducing the hopes and dreams of the people in this state. All your saying is, we will ignore this problem and let’s hope it goes away.”

–He says he used to be pro-life, but his views on abortion changed over the course of his tenure as mayor. A big factor, according to Doherty, was the fact he has three daughters. “I asked myself, if someone said to me, ‘well if your daughter had an abortion, that makes her a criminal?’ Well no – that’s my daughter and I know there would have been a good reason. Well if I think that for my daughter, I think that for other people, too.”

The full interview is posted below. Tune into your local NPR affiliate for more on Monday. Be sure to also check Capitol Ideas later today, as Doherty also recorded a special edition of “Politics as Usual” with myself, John Micek and Alex Roarty. Among other topics, he gave us his take on how Michael Scott would do as governor.

Part one:

Part two:

Doherty camp: Mayor raised 1.1 million in ’09

There’s been a lot of chatter today about how Tom Knox’s withdrawal puts Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato in a league of his own, when it comes to campaign fundraising and spending.  Perhaps trying to make the case that he can pull in money, too, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty’s campaign has issued a release saying he raised $441,o00 for his gubernatorial bid, “despite having to share time and attention with the mayor’s race.”

In total, Doherty’s people say he raised 1.1 million dollars between the two races.

Still, that’s about an eighth of what Onorato says he’s raised so far.

Full release below.


As the only candidate facing re-election to his current office, Doherty raised more than $1 million combined in his race for mayor and for governor

SCRANTON, PA – The Doherty for Pennsylvania campaign announced today that Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty raised a combined total of $1,116,162 in 2009.  That amount includes resources raised for his successful mayoral re-election primary and general campaigns as well as his campaign for governor.

“I am very pleased at the support we received last year,” said Mayor Doherty.  “As the only candidate in the governor’s race who had to run in both a primary and a general election in 2009, we faced some unique challenges.  The total we raised is a tribute not only to the success we’ve enjoyed in Scranton, but to the dedication and hard work of our supporters.  I know we still have a lot of work to do, and with our focus entirely on the governor’s race, I’m looking forward to a great 2010.”

The Doherty for Mayor committee reported raising a total of $674,793 in 2009.  Mayor Doherty successfully won both the Democratic and Republican primaries last year and went on to win re-election to his third term in November.  The Doherty for Pennsylvania committee, Mayor Doherty’s gubernatorial campaign committee, will report raising $441,369 in 2009 despite having to share time and attention with the mayor’s race.

The Doherty for Pennsylvania committee has not yet filed its official campaign finance report with the state, but will do so before the reporting deadline this month.