Regardless of the final result, this week will likely be seen as the high-water of the Tom Wolf campaign. At least one would imagine it is, as three separate polls showed the Democratic nominee with a lead of twenty or more points. Underneath the surface, though, you may have missed another dynamic that emerged this week; the first real sustained attacks of the general election campaign were launched.
While national Republicans focused mainly on the controversy surrounding the recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, it detracted attention away from the Obama Administration’s new plan to curb carbon emissions. The Corbett-Cawley campaign and the PA GOP, however, stayed focused on the issue the entire week, accusing the President and Tom Wolf of waging a “war on coal”.
“Tom Wolf’s energy plan for Pennsylvania puts his liberal ideology above jobs,” said PA Republican Party Communications Director Megan Sweeney on Monday. “Tom Wolf has made no secret of the fact that he wants to bring cap-and-tax to Pennsylvania, putting tens of thousands of coal jobs at risk. Wolf’s party has even voted to ban natural gas drilling altogether. At a time when Tom Corbett has created more than 150,000 jobs and lowered our unemployment rate to a 5-year low, why does Tom Wolf want to put Pennsylvania jobs in danger?”
Later in the week, the GOP chastised Wolf for what they believed to be a weak statement on the issue.
“Why isn’t Tom Wolf more vocal about the President Obama’s latest attack in the War on Coal?” PA Republican Party Chairman Daniel Gleason asked. “Tom Wolf was all too excited to announce a cap-and-tax plan for Pennsylvania during the Democratic primary. So why have Tom Wolf and the PA Democrats chosen to remain stone silent about President Obama’s latest attacks on our coal industry?”
“Tom Wolf knows that cap-and-tax policies will put tens of thousands of Pennsylvania jobs in danger,” Gleason continued. “Nevertheless, Tom Wolf is choosing to put the ideology of liberal special interests ahead of Pennsylvania jobs. It’s time for Tom Wolf to follow Tom Corbett’s lead and denounce Barack Obama’s latest efforts to attack Pennsylvania coal jobs.”
It wasn’t all negative attacks for the Corbett camp, though, as the campaign released a new video from Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsing his Pennsylvania colleague. Perry and Corbett held an event together last week. The video is included below:
The PA Democratic Party responded by hitting the Governor on his own energy record. They highlighted the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recommendation against Corbett’s decision to drill for natural gas under state parks and forests. The campaign also pointed out that the Governor has accepted $3.6 million from oil and gas companies. They even contested the Corbett camp’s numbers about how many Pennsylvanians work in the coal industry (Corbett’s Communications Director Chris Pack and Sean Kitchen from the liberal blog Raging Chicken Press got into a dustup on this topic through Twitter).
As the week went on, the PA Dems began to focus more on Gov. Corbett’s resistance to a natural gas severance tax. The Democrats created a YouTube video to press the Governor on the question of why he won’t support the tax.
Finally, the Wolf campaign ended the week with their own endorsement from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
“Tom Wolf is the kind of leader Pennsylvania needs to protect and expand healthcare access and choice for all citizens across the state,” said President of SEIU Healthcare PA Neal Bisno. “He will build a healthcare system to put patients and working families first while increasing the efficient delivery of cost-effective care.”
I am humbled to receive SEIU’s support and I look forward to working with their members across Pennsylvania. Like SEIU, I believe in fairness and creating opportunities for all Pennsylvanians,” said Tom Wolf.
“As governor, I will invest in our future by restoring Governor Corbett’s misguided cuts to education, I will expand Medicaid to provide health coverage for half a million people, and I will fight to raise the minimum wage because people who work full-time should not live in poverty.”