2002 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election


2002 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election

← 1998 November 5, 2002 2006 →
  Ed Rendell ID2004 crop (cropped).JPG MikeFisher.jpg
Nominee Ed Rendell Mike Fisher
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate Catherine Baker Knoll Jane Earll
Popular vote 1,913,235 1,589,408
Percentage 53.4% 44.4%

Pennsylvania Governor Election Results by County, 2002.svg
County Results

Rendell:      50–60%      60–70%      80–90%

Fisher:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

Governor before election

Mark Schweiker

Elected Governor

Ed Rendell

The Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 2002 was held on November 5, 2002, and included the races for the governor and lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. Incumbent Republican Governor Mark Schweiker, who became Governor in 2001 when Tom Ridge resigned to become Homeland Security Advisor, was eligible to run for a full term, but did not do so. Democrat Ed Rendell, the former Mayor of Philadelphia and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, emerged from a competitive primary to win the general election against Republican Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher.

Gubernatorial primaries

Republican primaries

Attorney General Mike Fisher ran unopposed for the Republican nomination. Although incumbent Governor Mark Schweiker was eligible to run for reelection (he had served only a partial term after Tom Ridge resigned to become Homeland Security Advisor), he chose not to seek his party's nomination. Despite polls showing that Schweiker polled well among the same groups that backed Ridge, the Republican establishment considered Schweiker to be a weak candidate and stood steadfast behind Fisher.[1]

Democratic primaries

In the Democratic primary, former Mayor of Philadelphia Ed Rendell defeated Pennsylvania Auditor General Bob Casey Jr., bucking the "myth that a Philadelphian could never win" a statewide election. Despite strong support from organized labor for Casey, lackluster campaigning combined with Rendell's ability to cast himself as a strong executive allowed him to pull out a primary win.[2]

Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary election, 2002[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ed Rendell 702,442 56.5
Democratic Bob Casey Jr. 539,794 43.5
Democratic primary results by county


Rendell defeated Fisher with "endless retail politicking" and a hard-working campaign.[4] The political website PoliticsPA praised Rendell's campaign team of David L. Cohen, David W. Sweet, and Sandi Vito.[4]

Rendell was the first official from Philadelphia to win a spot in the governor's mansion since 1914. Although Fisher emphasized Rendell's Philadelphia roots continuously during his campaign, and described the mayor as an urban liberal whose programs would require huge tax increases, his strategy backfired; in much of Eastern Pennsylvania, voters instead related to Rendell, and he was thus able to win by huge margins in even many traditionally GOP suburbs.[1]


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2002[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ed Rendell 1,913,235 53.4
Republican Mike Fisher 1,589,408 44.4
Libertarian Ken Krawchuk 40,923 1.14
Green Mike Morrill 38,423 1.07
Democratic gain from Republican


  1. ^ a b Kennedy, John J. (2006). Pennsylvania Elections: Statewide Contests From 1950-2004. University Press of America. ISBN 9780761832799.
  2. ^ "The Best and Worst of Primary '02". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Governor, 2002 General Primary". Commonwealth of PA – Elections Information. Pennsylvania Department of State. 2004. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  4. ^ a b "The Best and Worst Campaigns'02". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Governor, 2002 General Election". Commonwealth of PA – Elections Information. Pennsylvania Department of State. 2004. Retrieved 2008-05-16.

See also