State House Majority Leader David Reed wants to lead Pennsylvanians forward, together. That much is certain. What is less certain is, well, what exactly that means or where we’re all going.
The Republican politician registered a mysterious website called "PA Forward Together" in early December that looks suspiciously like that of, say, a candidate for governor or US Senate.
Sleek graphic design and a laudatory bio? Check. An ambiguous, uplifting slogan? Check. Polished shots of Reed and family posing for what looks like an L.L. Bean photo shoot? Check.
But if Reed is actually running for a specific office – and numerous sources say he’s talked about running for either governor or US Senate – you certainly can’t tell from the website.
In short, it’s a campaign website – without the campaign.
“It is a campaign website, but he’s putting it together himself. He’s been approached by a lot of people about running for different offices,” said Stephen Miskin, Reed’s press secretary. “He doesn’t have one in mind yet, and he might not ever.”
Miskin declined to say who was behind the website, but said Reed has not committed any government resources or staff.
“It’s basically just him. He didn’t do the graphics on the site and all that,” he said. “But he doesn’t have a campaign.”
The website’s registry had been anonymized, but signs bearing the graphic design and that “PA Forward Together” slogan that now appear online debuted during Reed's re-election as Rep. for Western PA’s 62nd Legislative District this year. Reed retained Harrisburg consultant Ray Zaborney’s firm, Red Maverick Media, for that fight.
The majority leader paid Zaborney’s fundraising arm for another three-month retainer in mid-September and renewed a media consulting contract with the firm shortly after the election, according to campaign filings.
Zaborney did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
Jake Sternberger, a political consultant from Western Pennsylvania, said he had heard from Republican sources that Reed was talking up a run against Democratic US Sen. Bob Casey in 2018.
“Rep. Reed would be formidable, as he is seen by most as being in the moderate wing of the state Republican Party and gives a pretty good speech,” he said.
Still others privately said that Reed was also entertaining ideas of running for governor. However, some sources see this as a feint to confuse his Republican rivals, like Speaker of the House Mike Turzai.
The state GOP is getting an early jump on the crucial 2018 races. To date, state Sen. Scott Wagner has announced that he is running for governor – although a slew of contenders are rumored to be considering a shot at Gov. Tom Wolf.
Meanwhile, Congressman Pat Meehan is reportedly gearing up for a serious senate bid against Casey.