State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

On campaign trail, a familiar battle cry

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 6, 2013 7:19 PM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Gov. Corbett began his re-election bid Tuesday playing defense, with his message from behind a campaign sign remarkably similar to the speeches he gives outside his office in Harrisburg.

"We're going to have to keep repeating that message, because a lot of times people aren't hearing it," Corbett told reporters Tuesday after speaking to supporters in Pittston, Luzerne County.

The Republican incumbent's speeches in both Pittston and, earlier, in Pittsburgh, touted his commitment to keep state spending low, not raise taxes, and support industries that can create jobs.

To opponents who say he's responsible for cuts to education, Corbett insisted that overall schools funding dropped only because federal stimulus dollars went away and the state dollars available couldn't fill the gap.

"There was a billion, 1.7 billion from the federal government that went away," Corbett said. "I didn't take it away. It was never meant to go there in the first place," he added, referring to the Rendell administration's move to put federal stimulus dollars into education line items.

Corbett's campaign kickoff comes after another poll showing lousy ratings, even among GOP respondents.

No Republican state lawmakers were at his Pittston stop, though donors and political confidants were in attendance. Supporters vehemently denied reports quoting anonymous Republican sources that Corbett had been asked by party insiders not to run for re-election.

John Moran, a businessman who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Corbett, said it's "absolutely untrue."

"Those stories are being propagated by people that are out there to hurt the governor and to make him look weak," Moran said. "Everyone that I know in the Republican Party is supportive of the governor."

Corbett's afternoon campaign stop was at Linde Corporation, a business heavily involved in Marcellus Shale natural gas development. President Scott Linde said he wouldn't want to see what happens to Shale-related business under one of Corbett's opponents.

"I would just fear that they would possibly overtax it," Linde said. The top Democratic candidates for governor have expressed support for changing the current impact fee on gas drilling based on wellheads to a tax levied on the amount of gas extracted.

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