Is it possible to celebrate the grandeur of Pennsylvania Society while implicitly condemning it? Tom Wolf has found a way to claim the mantle of the political outsider at the same time as he plans to hobknob with the establishment in Manhattan next weekend.
Instead of hosting a debaucherous reception at PA Society to promote his candidacy for governor, the former Department of Revenue Secretary will donate $5,000 each to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Greater Philadelphia Food Bank.
“My candidacy is grounded in the idea that I am a different kind of leader – a non-traditional candidate – a businessman who has never run for office,” Wolf wrote in an open letter to supporters. “It is in this spirit of community that and in the spirit of the holiday season that Frances and I will be breaking with the contemporary tradition of hosting a reception during Pennsylvania Society weekend.”
For those who are unfamiliar with PA Society, it’s a weekend marathon of events and receptions in New York City where Pennsylvania political, business and civic leaders enjoy a bipartisan, booze-soaked schmoozefest. Candidates typically use the opportunity to rub elbows with the major donors and party leaders who can grease the wheels for their campaign. It’s happening the weekend of Dec. 13-15 this year.
“Instead of asking you to another reception into your busy weekend schedule, we will be
contributing the cost of such a reception to Pennsylvania food banks so that others who are not quite as fortunate as many of us may enjoy a brighter holiday,” Wolf continued.
It’s not unusual for candidates to buck tradition and condemn the fancy, out-of-state soiree. But typically, they do so because they can’t afford to throw a reception in midtown Manhattan. This is not the case with Wolf, who is likely to be the wealthiest candidate in Pennsylvania.
But Wolf also broke another tradition: the tradition of populist candidates condemning the entire weekend. Wolf acknowledged that he has been to several PA Society weekends and is going again this year.
“Pennsylvania Society weekend is a time-honored tradition that was organized to ‘unite
Pennsylvanians at home and away from home in the bonds of friendship and devotion to their home or adopted state.’ Frances and l have always enjoyed this special weekend in New York during the holiday season,” he said.
Several the other candidates for governor and other offices will be hosting receptions next weekend at PA Society. PoliticsPA will bring you the entire list of events early next week.