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PA-Gov Forum: Candidates Exchange Final Blows

pa gov forum 5.12 pic

(Philadelphia, Pa.) — In the last forum of the gubernatorial primary, the candidates launched their final attacks against each other, but primarily against frontrunner Tom Wolf.

State Treasurer Rob McCord led the charge against Wolf, attacking not only his relationship with former York Mayor Charlie Robertson, but also questioning his qualifications for the highest executive office in the state.

“The worst training for building consensus is long term running a company as CEO,” McCord said, attempting to debunk the value of Wolf’s business experience.

“What disturbs me is that when [The Wolf Organization] had the opportunity to create jobs, they created them in Indiana,” McCord said later, whirling the poisonous accusation of outsourcing at the former Secretary of Revenue.

“[Governors] Rendell, Ridge, Thornburg went through tough primaries. The first person who had the primary cleared for him was Tom Corbett. We don’t want another untested Tom,” McCord continued, addressing a question as to whether negative campaigning hurts the eventual nominee.

McCord then fired shots over Robertson, saying that Wolf failed the Donald-Sterling-Leadership-Test by addressing Robertson privately, asking him to withdraw from the race, instead of attacking him publicly, and it was to this attack that Wolf had the strongest rebuke.

“We need a leader who will get things done, not just pound on their chest,” Wolf responded. “I categorically condemn what happened in York, and the racism of the police force. I wasn’t there at the time, I was in a small village in India. I absolutely condemn it.”

But still, Schwartz piled on.

“Tom is not willing to face the camera and really explain,” she said of Wolf’s relationship to Robertson. “The voters deserve answers.”

The one candidate who remained above the fray and focused on the substantive issues was Katie McGinty. Each time the moderators tried to pull her into a statement about Wolf’s past, she deflected to discuss public education, job creation and beating Governor Tom Corbett.

“What I hear voters talking about is that their child doesn’t have tutoring after school anymore,” McGinty responded to one such baiting question. “I would try hard to grow jobs, and start doing smart things that are right there: [accepting the] Medicaid expansion, and modernizing liquor stores.”

By closing statements, Schwartz and McCord had exhausted their assault on Wolf and returned to pitching their own qualifications.

“This is about priorities. Where can we find the dollars? Yes, there is revenue being left off the table by this governor,” Schwartz said shortly before closing. “The extraction tax is real; I will get it done. It will bring in $660 million dollars in the first year. My point is, we can find common ground.”

“I bring a wealth of experience and accomplishment that is unmatched on this stage,” she concluded.

“There’s been quite a bit of fighting in this campaign, but I want you to know that Katie McGinty is fighting for you,” McGinty finished, going on to discuss the importance of education funding and finding bipartisan consensus.

Wolf’s closer ended with his standard pitch about being an unconvential candidate, but one of his strongest answers came earlier in the evening when another candidate was asked if they would support the eventual nominee.

“If Tom Wolf is nominated, I will support him,” he began with a quip. “[When I was Secretary of Revenue] I did not take any perks, I paid my own way, I contributed my salary to charity, I drove my own Jeep and my wife and I put everything into a blind trust. If you want my ethics, look at that.”

One of McCord’s best answers also came during this portion.

“Of course, I will support any of these three other candidates,” McCord responded. “But the question is, why not the best? If we elect someone who turns the election into an auction instead of an election…the Democratic Party will be in trouble in the fall.”

Tonight’s forum was moderated by Philadelphia broadcasting legend (and PoliticsPA guest columnist) Larry Kane, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education’s Sandra Dungee Glenn and John Baer of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Due to generous underwriting, the forum was broadcast on over a dozen television stations tonight and with radio and rebroadcasts, would be shown more than 30 times.

25 Responses

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  2. Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, the longest servving state senator in Philadelphia”s delegation, is endorsing Tom Wolf for governor.

    A Hughes endorsement would be welcome in any statewide Demmocratic race. He is the rankiing Democrat on the senate Apprropriations Committee and a former chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. But it is particularly noteworthy in the context of the campaign’s recent cut and thurst as state Treasurer Rob McCord, most recently in a debate Monday night, has accused Wolf of racial insensitivity and failure of leadership over his ties to a former York mayor who was forced from the ballot in 2001 after being indicted, though later acquitted, as an accomplice to the murder of a black woman in a notorious race riot in York in 1969.

    Hughes, along with York’s current mayor, Kim Bracey, who is also an African-American, is among sseveral black leaders who seem unpersuaded by the McCord crritique.

  3. State Senator Vincent Hughes and Philly Tribune announced endorsements of Tom Wolf today.

  4. Hard to see a path to victory for anyone but Wolf, even with solid debate performances. Corbett is now raising serious money – i think the general will be much more competitive than Dems are hoping for.

  5. After watching that debate last night I can see why the Wolfpack is so upset today.

    PBS had some great coverage of the debate.

    McCord and McGinty both had good nights. I was actually surprised at Wolf’s performance. I honestly didn’t expect him to be so vague and passionless. I don’t want to say weak but he certainly didn’t come off like he was ready for a fight with the republicans. He missed not having Rendell up on stage with him.

    Rob finally pointed out that he profited from using an anti-labor company in Indiana to make his cabinets and that his story isn’t exactly what he has made it out to be.

  6. @Hey – Another brilliant analysis by you. Nobody is winning the African American community, huh? I guess that’s why Senator Vincent Hughes (the highest ranking African American in the PA legislature) and Philadelphia Tribune (primary sponsor of yesterday’s debate and newspaper of the African American community in Philly) endorsed Tom Wolf today.

    When was the last time an African American leader or any leader endorsed McCord or Schwartz? It’s so long ago I can’t remember.

  7. I was a the debate last night. Mr. McCord gave very detailed responses. Yes, he did say on numerous occasions that he was the best candidate for the job. However, the other candidates also said they were the best candidates at a number of points. Two things that were obvious. The first, Mr. Wolf refuses to answer questions on why he did not come out publicly against a known racist. The second, Mr. McCord is the most qualified candidate.

    I also believe Mr. Wolf’s plagiarism (his Fresh Start plan) is not becoming of a governor. Plagiarism is theft of intellectual property. Yes, he did apologize, but that was only because he got caught. For this alone, I would not vote for Tom Wolf.

  8. @McCord is a Narcissist. Well you may claim to not be a paid opponent of McCord’s, but either way, your decorum is in appropriate. That’s the point, “McCord is a Narcissist” – your extreme hatred for him isn’t creating a discourse on this site where about we debate policy or politics. Rather, you thrust these broad, ad hominem claims, in a vile and negative manor.

    Moreover in blog where many users look forward to reading genuine, insightful comments – you have created an atmosphere of slander and hate; eating up space on all the posts. Literally, 7 of the 13 posts on this entry are yours. Was it really necessary to leave THIRTEEN COMMENTS?

    You’ve been doing this for weeks, and seem uninterested in genuine discourse, rather only propagating your limited, angry “anti-Rob McCord” philosophy all over this site.

    How narcissistic.

    @ POLITICSPA, I believe this sort of “spam style (7 posts…)” commenting should be strongly discouraged. I am more likely to stop reading the blog altogether because of people like this.

  9. Not a plant, staffer, advisor, etc… Just a passionate Pennsylvanian who wants to expose Rob McCord as the arrogant, self-absorbed, typical career politician and bully that he is.


    Pennsylvania Deserves Better!

  10. The full live-feed is on YouTube:

    The first hour is the setup on stage and test pattern before the televised debate started.

    Wolf had some good one-liners. The attacks and questions seemed pretty repetitive at this point. I don’t think anyone scored a knockout to make them stand above the rest.

  11. No matter what candidate you support, clearly POLITICSPA has become a cesspool for plants by candidates. In this case, this entire post is undone by raving (blatantly, look at the names) biased anti-McCord people.

    In any discourse, if you have a legitimate point that’s one thing, but from the tone, lack of grammar and lack of accuracy, it’s clear to me that these are plants and bogus comments.

  12. Mr. McCord do you actually have a plan if you were to be elected, or do you just plan to attack everyone?

  13. McCord really comes across as an angry little man in these debates.

  14. Post debate reaction on PCN:
    “Tom Wolf looked calm, composed, and gubernatorial.”

    Post debate reaction Newspapers:
    McCord’s attack is “just blatant, lurid media bait thrown out by a desperate candidate”

  15. Moderator: Mr. McCord, why do you think you should be the nominee?
    Rob McCord: Because I’m the best. I’m the best. I’m the best. Me Me Me Me Me. Don’t pick them. Pick me. I don’t have any reasons to give you or any plans for our state. I’m just an arrogant narcissist who wants power power power!!

  16. McCord’s staff and their bizzarre fetish for making comments on politicspa and taking pictures of staff members canvassing and phone banking and putting them on twitter it’s starting to get really extreme.

  17. How does this disinterested assessment resonate with the readership [“Wolf is floundering, for he can’t seem to articulate specifics. McCord and perhaps even McGinty are owning this, emphasizing more specifics; more than the others, McCord is hitting on Wolf. Schwartz simply comes across as arrogant.”]?

  18. McCord’s disgusting arrogance and pathetic whininess has completely turned me off to him. Way to double down on your “Tom Wolf is a racist” crap. If McCord ever runs for another office, he can count on my vote going to whoever runs against him.

    Waaaaaaaahhh, someone spent more of their personally funds than I did and that’s not fair…….. Get a life, loser!

  19. GOTV will decide this race. It is no longer going to be Wolf in a walk.

    There was a debate earlier in the day and the moderator was just on TV stating that folks were more undecided after that debate. The Candidates made that much of an impact.

  20. Rob McCord proved he’s the only one ready to take on and evict Tom Corbett! Go Rob.

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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