Republican Jeff Bartos and Democrat John Fetterman are scheduled to debate this weekend in Pittsburgh. The two candidates for lieutenant governor will participate in a debate Saturday which will air 7:30 p.m. on WPXI-TV.
Lieutenant governors don’t have a lot of power, but they take over if something happens to the governor.
“It’s important for all of us to know who these candidates are,” said Franklin and Marshall College Director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs Terry Madonna. “In recent history, we’ve had two lieutenant governors who have had to assume the governorship of the state.”
Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker stepped in for Gov. Tom Ridge when Ridge became Director of Homeland Security in 2001. In 1993, Democratic Lt. Gov. Mark Singel stepped in while Gov. Bob Casey Sr. underwent medical treatment.
That possibility is why, Madonna said, the debate is important.
“What you don’t want is a lieutenant governor who has a bunch of negatives,” said Madonna. “That’s the biggest problem. The issue at hand, is essentially one thing. Will the voters decide that Governor Wolf needs a second term.”
Ultimately, though, Madonna believes people will vote for the gubernatorial candidate they support, not their running mate.
Wolf and his Republican opponent Scott Wagner took part in the only scheduled gubernatorial debate on Monday.