With Allyson Schwartz finally airing her premiere ad on TV last Monday, this week represented the first time all four Democratic candidates were up on the airwaves at the same time.
After that, let’s take a look at the more neglected aspects of this year’s race, the incumbent and the battle for the No. 2 spot on the Democratic ticket.
The Governor’s Democratic opponents have made an extraction tax a central issue in this campaign. Wolf and Schwartz have both proposed a 5% tax, McGinty plans a two-tiered tax comparable to West Virginia, while McCord is calling for a 10% tax. Their rationale is that as the only state without an extraction tax, the commonwealth is leaving money on the table that could be used for other projects like education.
Gov. Corbett, though, is against an extraction tax and is fighting back by showing the effects eliminating existing impact fees would have on communities.
To emphasize this, the campaign sent out an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that chronicles the fears of local officials, including Democrats, that impact fee revenues would disappear under an extraction tax.
“They see a golden goose and want to strangle it,” said Democratic Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi. “That money should come back to the communities, the county and the area that’s being impacted. I’m very much against the money going elsewhere.”
Maggi’s statement hits upon the underlying issue. Under an extraction tax, the state would allocate the money, under the current impact fees the counties and townships get the cash. Therefore, local officials are afraid of losing a very valuable lever of power.
The Governor also found himself in an unusual position this week, agreeing with Rep. Allyson Schwartz that Tom Wolf has questions to answers about his $4 million loan from M&T Bank. But the incumbent seems to be following the theory of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, especially when that enemy is the gubernatorial front-runner.
“Secretary Tom Wolf has engaged in a pattern of conduct that demonstrates that he is unfit to lead our state,” Corbett-Cawley campaign manager Mike Barley said. “Secretary Tom Wolf is using his company as collateral in an attempt to buy a win in the liberal Democratic primary for governor, and if this is the borrow-and-spend type of government he plans to bring to Harrisburg, we all should be very worried.”
Mike Stack was already having a good week when it was revealed that his $700,000 cash on hand total far outpaced his rivals for the Democratic Lieutenant Governor nomination.
Additionally, Stack also won the endorsement of the Liberty City Democratic Club, a group of politically-active LGBT Democrats.
Given that the group chose not to endorse in the Governor’s race and is only backing two congressional candidates, their support is not a common commodity.