MONROEVILLE, Pa. -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann appears to have locked up enough support to win the Republican Party nomination for Pennsylvania governor.
In the last regional GOP meeting before state Republicans meet
to endorse a candidate, the NFL Hall of Famer on Tuesday picked up
33 unofficial commitments from party representatives. If they all
follow through, he will have just over the 180 votes needed to win
the party's official endorsement on Feb. 11.
Swann, 53, is seeking to become Pennsylvania's first black
governor. Though he has revealed little about his political
philosophy, he has said the Democratic Party has "taken the
African-American vote for granted."
Supporters say his high profile and charisma make him the best
candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who is expected to
seek a second term.
Swann's leading opponent for the GOP nomination, former Lt. Gov.
Bill Scranton, 58, has sharply criticized Swann's qualifications
and promised to stay in the race through the May 16 primary with or
without the party's backing.
Scranton's deputy campaign manager, Mike DeVanney, sought to
downplay the significance of the straw voting Tuesday. "This was a
divided caucus. There's not clear support for Lynn Swann's
candidacy," he said.
Swann was a wide receiver for the Steelers from 1974-83 and led
his team to four Super Bowl victories. After retiring from
football, he worked as a commentator for ABC Sports, which along with ESPN is owned by Disney.