U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s official announcement this week that she is running for governor puts her in the running to become Pennsylvania’s first female Jewish chief executive.
The Democrat from Montgomery County, currently the state’s only Jewish member of Congress, will try to unseat Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in November 2014.
If successful, she would become the third Jew to occupy the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg, after Milton Shapp, who served from 1971 to 1979, and Ed Rendell, who was in office from 2002 to 2010.
But before she takes on Corbett, the five-term congresswoman will have to get through what is sure to be a crowded primary that will likely include State Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery County, who identifies as a secular Jew.
Schwartz is a longtime member of Germantown Jewish Centre. Her mother, Renee Young, left Vienna in 1938 as a teenager and came to Philadelphia on her own.
Schwartz’s announcement will only intensify the campaign to fill her congressional seat. State Rep. Daylin Leach, a Jewish lawmaker, publicly announced last week that he intended to run and former City Controller Jonathan Saidel, also Jewish, has also filed the papers needed to run.
State Rep. Brendan Boyle, who is not Jewish but spoke at the Yom Hashoah ceremony this week on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and has sponsored a law to mandate Holocaust education in the state, also announced his candidacy.
And according to news reports, former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky — mother-in-law to former first daughter Chelsea Clinton — is mulling over a run for her old seat.