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  1. #1
    Pope Of Greenwich Village SuckaInA3Piece's Avatar
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    10.22.16 @ 11:41 AM
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    Default Lynn Swann for Governor?

    Campaigning Swann's way

    The ex-Steeler carefully tests a GOP gubernatorial bid.

    By Carrie Budoff

    Inquirer Staff Writer

    NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The early steps of a potential gubernatorial candidate rarely elicit such attention: Republicans packing a banquet hall, youngsters seeking autographs, and news cameras trailing him through the ballroom.

    But when the figure is Lynn Swann, a four-time Super Bowl champion with a celebrity-like following in a state often lacking star power, orthodoxy no longer holds.

    Last night's Westmoreland County Republican dinner provided the first extended forum for Swann to talk about a bid that has so far been shrouded from wide view.

    "It's something I've got to look at, I've got to feel," Swann said before the dinner. "I am in the process of trying to figure out whether I can make a real viable run to win or not. I am not interested in running for the sake of gathering experience."

    Swann's approach to exploring a run for Pennsylvania's highest state office appears to mirror his personality - described by friends as disciplined and private.

    Still, the whole idea continues to take some people who have known him for years - his former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates - by surprise. They know him not as a politician-in-waiting, but as someone with varied interests. A man who endows youth ballet scholarships. An on-field star who was rarely shy about pulling good-hearted locker-room pranks back in his NFL days. A father of two young boys and husband of a model-turned-Ph.D. with whom he collects wines and attends cultural benefits.

    "I have been with Lynn through the years," said John Banaszak, a former teammate and assistant football coach at Robert Morris University. "We've had long conversations about things. We have talked business, children, everything but politics. Lynn enjoys challenges, and I think whoever put the idea in his head obviously struck a nerve."

    It is also true, though, that for the last few years, Swann has been diligently raising his political profile, starting with his 2002 installment on the President's Council for Physical Fitness and Sports.

    He looked the part of a politician last night, flashing a wide smile and signing footballs as he arrived for the dinner in this town 17 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. He was supposed to roll up in a limousine, courtesy of local party officials, but he nixed the idea.

    "There is a certain celebrity curiosity about his campaign," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which conducts surveys in Pennsylvania. "Why is he running?"

    Swann said last night that campaigning for President Bush last year piqued his interest in public office, but he provided few clues as to what issues he might run on. He called himself a conservative, but declined to say where he stood on gun control and taxes, and at first would not offer his view on abortion. "Until I decide to step out and run for a position, I don't think it is necessary for me to go out and take a particular position," he said.

    Several minutes later, he returned to tell reporters that he unequivocally opposed abortion rights.

    "I wasn't supposed to be born," Swann said, because his father wanted only two children. But his mother pushed for a third child, and "I was born," he said. "That's enough for me to be pro-life."

    While other candidates thrust themselves into the public domain, Swann has carefully scripted his rollout, declining requests for interviews in favor of releasing statements. His latest, on Wednesday, discussed the formation of a political action committee and a state tour to begin a "conversation with the people of Pennsylvania regarding a potential campaign."

    Swann has attracted such interest despite lacking any elective-office experience because of a unique profile that some Republicans see as necessary to combat Gov. Rendell, who can outshine competitors on the campaign trail. Swann proponents say he could match Rendell's charisma, cash in on his celebrity with fund-raising and new voters, and campaign without the political baggage of other officeholders.

    Yet the last point could also be a liability, allowing his opponents to frame Swann as a lightweight.

    His potential Republican adversaries already appear to be adopting that line of attack. State Senate Majority Whip Jeffrey E. Piccola of Dauphin County and former Lt. Gov. William W. Scranton 3d of Lackawanna County have been playing up their experience as they make the rounds at GOP dinners.

    Swann, who could become the first African American to be nominated for governor in Pennsylvania, now embarks on a crucial stage in the process: convincing the GOP that he is not just an articulate celebrity, but a viable candidate.

    "He has to prove he has knowledge of the issues and the politics of Pennsylvania to back it up," Richards said.

    Swann, 52, grew up in California and played football at the University of Southern California, but he made the Pittsburgh area his home after retiring from the Steelers in 1983 to work full-time as an ABC sports commentator. He lives in Sewickley, a wealthy Pittsburgh suburb, in a home valued in land records at $1.1 million.

    The son of Democrats, Swann said in a September Web chat organized by the Bush campaign that he had been a Republican "most of his adult life."

    "I am always somewhat amused by the fact that some people would ask, 'Why as an African American am I a Republican,' " Swann wrote. "In many cases, my response is, 'Why not a Republican.' Why is it such a grand assumption that African Americans should be Democrats when historically the Republican Party has been a leader on issues important to African Americans."

    He has dabbled in politics over the years - as a volunteer on a reelection campaign of the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz, and as master of ceremonies at one of Gov. Tom Ridge's 1995 inauguration events.

    The turning point in Swann's political involvement appears to be his arrival on President Bush's physical fitness council, a platform that buoyed another athlete-turned-politician, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    It was then that he first got to know Mark A. Holman, a close long-time aide to Ridge and a diehard Steelers fan. Holman, who was working for the Bush administration at the time, recalls lunching with Swann at the White House cafeteria.

    "He asked me to talk with him about the realities of life as governor and a candidate," said Holman, who is now assisting Swann in his potential candidacy.

    During the next three years, Swann would become more active. He testified at congressional hearings about obesity and the burden of an overweight nation on the government budgets. He joined the Bush-Cheney campaign as cochairman of a national African American steering committee, appearing with the president and vice president in Western Pennsylvania. He spoke briefly at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.

    And he struck up increasingly frequent conversations with Republicans about his own political future, speaking a year ago with Renee Amoore, the deputy state GOP chairwoman, and over the summer with several top state Republican consultants. But in the September Web chat, he didn't let on to his burgeoning interest in public office.

    "I have no plans to change my position with respect to an elected position at this time," Swann wrote. "But, if I change my mind, I'll be looking for your help."

    A Look at Lynn Swann

    • Took childhood ballet lessons that he later credited with helping his football performance.

    • Joined the Steelers as a first-round draft pick in 1974.

    • Was a "Monday Night Football" sidelines commentator until 1998, when he became a collegiate sports commentator for ABC.

    • Serves as national spokesman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    • Made a cameo appearance in Adam Sandler's 1998 movie The Waterboy.

    • Served as cochairman of the African Americans for Bush National Steering Committee.

    • Earns between $20,001 and $50,000 in speaking fees, according to the Web sites of several booking firms.
    "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different."
    ~Eddie Van Halen~

    "The perfect woman has an IQ of 150, wants to make love until 4 in the morning, and then turns into a pizza."
    ~David Lee Roth~


  2. #2
    Eruption ddzavis's Avatar
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    06.08.16 @ 11:36 AM
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    Yeah Sucka, Here in the Norhteast, it's " D " country. Govenor Rendell has been handing out money up here for development and economic regrowth. The "R" region of the Commonwealth is the upper tier amd center county areas. The recent polls show him second to William Scranton III. He will definitely have to carry the eastern part of the Commonwealth and you and I know the southeast is Rendell friendly. It will be interesting to hear and see what Mr Swann proposes.

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Menlow's Avatar
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    10.14.15 @ 12:13 PM
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    I hear John Stallworth may be lt. governor and Mel Blount state attorney general.



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