State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Wealthy gubernatorial candidates take significant fundraising lead

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 1, 2018 2:10 AM

State Senator Scott Wagner is one of the GOP challengers to Governor Tom Wolf who has self-financed his way to flush campaign coffers. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls have filed their fundraising and spending reports for last year.

This year's race includes three contenders with the ability to put millions of their own dollars toward their campaigns--a factor that has caused large discrepancies in candidates' spending abilities.

York County State Senator Scott Wagner announced he would attempt to unseat incumbent Democratic Governor Tom Wolf at the very beginning of 2017--long before any other candidate.

That gave him an early fundraising start; he went into last year with $4.3 million.

He more than doubled that over the next twelve months, thanks to donations and loans to himself, along with contributions from wealthy supporters--several from the building and real estate industries.

He ended the year with $5.9 million dollars in the bank.

Paul Mango, a retired health systems consultant from the Pittsburgh suburbs, fared similarly.

He raised more than $8 million last year, including a $6.7 million loan from himself. He ended the year with some $5.5 million.

House Speaker Mike Turzai, also of the Pittsburgh suburbs, raised $1.3 million total, and spent over $320,000. He's leaning on some longtime political allies, including the natural gas industry.

Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth took in close to a half-million dollars --much of it from contributors tied to her law firm. She spent $81,388.

On the other side of the aisle, Governor Tom Wolf's campaign says it ended last year with $11 million.

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