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Hanger drops out of governor's race

| Thursday, March 13, 2014, 10:45 a.m.

HARRISBURG — Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger, who pushed for legalization of marijuana, withdrew from the Pennsylvania governor's race on Thursday.

Hanger, 57, of Hershey recently won the support of the ultra-liberal wing of the Democratic Party at the Progressive Summit in Harrisburg, but he had difficulty getting support from Democratic voters at large, early polls showed.

“My primary opponents are excellent candidates and are conducting their campaigns well and honorably, never losing focus on the ultimate goal. It was a privilege to compete with them, and I count them all as friends,” Hanger said.

He said he is confident Republican Gov. Tom Corbett will be defeated.

Five candidates remain in the Democratic contest for the May 20 primary.

“I want to express my profound gratitude to our friends and supporters who have made this not just a campaign for John Hanger for governor, but a real people's campaign, and in a very real sense, a movement. We won't stop talking about the issues, we won't stop working for them,” Hanger said.

Hanger served as a member of the Public Utility Commission under Democratic Gov. Robert P. Casey. He noted in debates that he arrived here from Ireland at age 10 and was proud to be American.

Hanger said he never smoked marijuana. He advocated immediate legalization for medical use. Broader legalization for possession of small amounts would cut huge government costs for enforcement and imprisonment, he said.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media'sstate Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 and bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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