This morning, we found out that the Corbett-Cawley campaign is 25 points behind their opponent. A few hours later, their toughest attack ad yet was released. This is probably not a coincidence.
The new commercial, titled “Threepeat”, seeks to associate Tom Wolf with former Governor Ed Rendell and President Obama.
“We already know that Tom Wolf was Ed Rendell’s tax-collecting hatchet man,” the man in the spot says. “Millionaire Wolf is also a maxed-out donor to Obama.”
The ad then proceeds to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Wolf, accusing him of wanting to take away patients rights to see their doctors, supporting a “radical” gun-control agenda and waging a “war” on coal.
“Tom Wolf,” the man concludes “voting for him is like voting to give Obama and Rendell a third term.”
It’s unclear how effective this ad will be because it depends in large part on scaring voters away by pointing out Wolf’s ties to Pres. Obama and former Gov. Rendell. No recent polls have been taken that indicate what Rendell’s approval in PA is, although the President’s stands at a low 34% (yet Gov. Corbett stands even lower at 24%).
Moreover, even if Obama and Rendell are less than universally beloved by PA voters, those voters still voted to give both candidates first and second terms. Therefore, the threat that Wolf would represent a “third term” may not have the resonance the Corbett campaign hopes it will.
Of course, it is also possible that this ad is meant to rally Republican voters behind the Governor. The recent F&M poll found Corbett is only supported by 48% of Republican voters. At this stage of the game, though, he should already have his base in the bag and be shifting his focus to independent voters. Whether this ad works on them will be the ultimate test of its effectiveness.
Update: Wolf campaign Press Secretary Jeffrey Sheridan issued the following response to PoliticsPA:
“The latest attack ad is just more desperation from Tom Corbett and more of the same discredited lies.
“Tom Wolf is a successful businessman from York County who supports the second amendment. Tom knows that coal is a vital part of Pennsylvania’s energy portfolio and a thriving energy sector future will lead to a stronger economy in Pennsylvania and create jobs. Tom’s plan for the state will also give middle-class families a tax cut for the first time in over 22 years and level the playing field for Pennsylvania families.”
“False ads cannot make up for four years of failed policies including $1 billion in education cuts, stagnant job growth, and a multitude of ethics scandals. It’s clear that Pennsylvania needs a fresh start.”