State House Sound Bites

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

Sniping season in the Democratic gubernatorial primary

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 28, 2014 4:01 AM
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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf


With one month to go before the May 20 primary election, most of the Democratic candidates have turned their attention from Governor Corbett to each other.

For months, Tom Wolf has been out in front of the other three Democratic candidates with an expansive TV ad campaign to raise his profile. But Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, the candidate placing second in a recent voter survey, is assiduously picking apart the image Wolf has tried to establish.

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Photo by Mary Wilson / witf


Most recently, her campaign has criticized Wolf for part of a policy document that was plagiarized, and has questioned the way Wolf is financing his campaign.

Not surprising, said Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

"They have trail in the polls," Borick said of Schwartz's campaign. "If they want to close the gap -- if they want to reel in Tom Wolf -- they are under the impression that they're going to have to erode some of his public standing."

The current erosion campaign isn't coming in the form of grainy black-and-white ads, but frequent press releases from the Schwartz team. Borick said the entire effort unlikely to result in voter backlash against Schwartz.

"They're not these slash-and-burn tactics that you sometimes see in ads that come back to haunt individuals that put them out," Borick said. "It doesn't appear that these are vitriolic or over the top. They're raising questions, and those questions could be debated."

Candidate and state Treasurer Rob McCord has also taken aim at Wolf for his proposal for a natural gas extraction tax. Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary, has stayed out of the fray, but the most recent poll has also shown her to be tailing her three opponents.

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