For Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a bad start to the weekend


By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett didn’t have a very good Friday.

The problems for him hit early, with the Commonwealth Court striking down Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law. Around the same time, Corbett was forced to cancel his first-ever appearance at a Philadelphia public school when protesters showed up to blast his education policies.

Election-year politics only exacerbated the situation, as Democratic lawmakers and gubernatorial hopefuls quickly pounced on both issues to blast the Republican governor, who had been scheduled to visit Central High School to present the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Academics to three schools in Philadelphia.

Instead, Corbett shifted the presentation to another building to avoid the protest, drawing accusation he was too afraid to face the criticism.

“Corbett’s no-show at Central High shows that the governor is a coward,” said John Hanger, a Democratic candidate for governor.

BAD FRIDAY: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett didn’t have a great Friday, thank to protests about his education policies and an unfavorable court ruling.

A post on Corbett’s Twitter account said he “decided not to engage in theatrics designed by adults in the system.” He did so “out of respect to the students,” according to his post.

“Today wasn’t supposed to be about politics,” Corbett said on Twitter. “Today was supposed to be about students.”

Corbett’s critics contend he has slashed education funding, though the governor argues he entered office as federal stimulus funds were expiring and that he actually has increased education funding.

No matter how it’s parsed, it’ll be an issue that follows Corbett through his campaign for a second term.

Now he’s got the ruling regarding the 2012 voter ID law to deal with, too.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley struck down the requirement that voters show photo identification before casting ballots.

“Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal,” McGinley ruled.

Republican lawmakers described it as a way to stop voter fraud, while Democrats painted it as a form of disenfranchisement targeting liberal voters. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said the administration “should not spend another penny on trying to defend this unjust law.”

“This was just an attempt to steal elections,” state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, told reporters.

That comment came just after 11 a.m. Friday, but Corbett’s bad day continued into the afternoon, with news release after news release skewering him for the voter ID law and likely leaving the governor ready for the weekend.

Andrew Staub is a reporter for PA Independent and can be reached at Follow @PAIndependent on Twitter for more.

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