Waiting For Corbett To Quit

There’s an interesting contrast to be made between the political situation of Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, who was on no one’s watch list of incumbent Republicans vulnerable to a general election defeat in 2014, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who’s looking more and more toasty every day.

Enzi, of course, is facing a very tough primary challenge from Liz Cheney. But while disenchantment with Corbett is at epidemic levels among PA GOPers, nobody’s stepping up to the plate to primary him, as Alex Roarty of National Journal reports:

Beset by legislative failures and bleak poll numbers, the Republican looks like the country’s most vulnerable governor heading into the 2014 election….

Already, speculation among GOP operatives has shifted to a quartet of candidates the party might turn to, including several Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation. Fearful of alienating a sitting governor, they’ve done little to publicly jockey for the potential opening. But all are said to be keeping a close eye on Corbett.

A dramatic move from Corbett to step aside isn’t imminent. On Tuesday, he replaced his chief of staff with a veteran political operative. Corbett allies say he remains laser-focused on winning reelection, even if he knows his path to victory is narrow. Meanwhile, Republicans aren’t looking to run against him in a primary, only eager to run if he opts not to run for a second term.

Roarty goes on to speculate that Keystone Republicans may get a little pushier if Corbett’s terrible approval ratings don’t improve. But at this point, he’s master of his own destiny when it comes to the GOP nomination.

Corbett’s situation, and its contrast with Enzi’s, should be kept in mind whenever you hear that this time around, Republicans are going to be obsessively pragmatic about putting the best candidates for victory forward, ideology be damned.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.