Lt. Gov. Mike Stack lost his bid for the same office in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, marking the first time in the nearly 50 years since the office has required reelection that an incumbent has fallen short.
Braddock Mayor John Fetterman beat four other Philadelphia-area Democrats, including Stack.
Marty Marks, Stack’s campaign manager, said the loss had nothing to do with an investigation into the candidate’s alleged verbal abuse of his state police detail. But Marks said the results weren’t a big surprise and attributed them largely to geography.
Marks said Stack will continue to “aggressively fill the duties of his office” through the end of his term, and will remain in public life.
Pennsylvania is unusual in that allows lieutenant governors to run separately from governors in the primary. Wolf had declined to endorse anyone ahead of the contest.
“[Stack and Wolf]’s relationship and tension wasn’t exactly secret,” said Kristen Allen, a visiting assistant political science professor at Duquesne University. “[Voters] haven’t seen chemistry between Wolf and Stack in recent months. They obviously saw an opportunity for change and wanted to capitalize on that in the primary last night.”
Now that the ticket is set, Allen said it will be interesting to see how their campaigns coordinate.
“Fetterman is his own man. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did some campaign events together but not nearly as much as you’d see on a presidential/vice presidential ticket.”
Since announcing his campaign last fall, Fetterman has said that if elected, he’d like to expand the role of lieutenant governor, which has been limited to filling in for the governor, presiding over the Senate and chairing the commonwealth’s Board of Pardons, among other minor duties.
Though he didn’t go into much detail, Fetterman has said he would use the office to support Wolf and the Democratic agenda while continuing to advocate for issues facing towns like Braddock.
“He doesn’t want to make it a cushy political insider job where he gets paid $160,000 a year to live in a taxpayer funded mansion,” said Allen. “That might be really appealing to people who are tired with the swampiness in D.C. and Pennsylvania.”
Data has shown that Pennsylvania pays its lieutenant governor more than any other state.