It was yet another eventful week in the state’s governor’s race as Tom Wolf solidified his status as Democratic frontrunner.
This week, Tom Wolf won the backing of several newspapers and State Senators, Rob McCord added more union endorsements, Allyson Schwartz outlined a path to victory and Gov. Corbett continued his outreach to the state’s Catholic voters.
The Democratic front-runner scored another impressive victory when he became the first candidate to secure an endorsement from one of Pennsylvania’s newspapers. The York Daily Record, Wolf’s hometown periodical, sought to be the first news outlet to support their native son.
“Many talk about running government like a business — but Tom Wolf could actually do it (and be compassionate in the process),” the Daily Record’s editorial board wrote. “That’s what really separates him from the Democratic primary pack.”
It didn’t stop there, though, as Wolf also picked up the backing of The Pottstown Mercury as well.
“He’s a leader. He’s the kind of man — or maybe we should say businessman — that Pennsylvania needs as a governor,” the Mercury stated. “Admittedly, we haven’t met with all the Democratic primary candidates. They seem like smart, well-intentioned folks. But none of them appear to measure up to Tom Wolf.”
Additionally, Wolf received the support of some State Senators, including the founder of the Government Reform Caucus Sen. Rob Teplitz.
“Throughout his many years as a successful businessman, as a public servant, and now as the only candidate who has proposed comprehensive government reform, Tom Wolf represents our best chance to change the culture in Harrisburg,” Teplitz said. “I am confident that Tom will bring fundamental reforms to state government, which are necessary to address the commonwealth’s major issues and get our economy back on track.”
“I am humbled to receive Senator Teplitz’s support and I look forward to having an opportunity to work with him in Harrisburg to change the culture, restore people’s trust in government, and give Pennsylvania a fresh start,” Wolf responded.
The second State Senator to throw his lot in with the former Department of Revenue Secretary this week was Chester County Sen. Andy Dinniman.
“The importance for us in Chester County is that at long last, in the governor’s office, we’ll have a friend,” Dinniman said of Wolf. “A friend of the environment, a friend of open space, a friend of the Brandywine River. And that’s what we need.”
Meanwhile, State Treasurer Rob McCord was able to continue to rack up labor endorsements throughout the commonwealth. For instance, the McCord campaign received the official backing of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.
“We met with the candidates for governor and Rob McCord was head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of his experience, personal convictions, and plans to improve Pennsylvania,” said John J. McNesby, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5. “Rob is a friend of working men and women, and today I’m honored to say that the men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5 want him to be the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
“It really is a great honor to receive the endorsement of the men and women of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5,” McCord said. “The membership of Philadelphia’s Police and Sheriff’s Departments represent thousands of working families – and thousands of working people who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. At the very least, these families and hometown heroes deserve to have a governor who works to help them get ahead, not just get by. These people deserve a governor who works with them, not against them.”
According to the FOP, Lodge 5 consists of roughly 14,000 current and former officers from the Philadelphia police force.
McCord also picked up the support of the AFSCME District Council 47, which is made up of 7,500 active and retired public service employees in Philly and the surrounding areas.
“AFSCME District Council 47 voted to endorse Rob McCord for governor in the Democratic primary election being held on May 20, 2014,” said AFSCME District Council 47 President Fred Wright. “We believe Treasurer McCord is the best candidate to represent the interests of working people in Pennsylvania. His vision to create jobs, commitment to retain decent paying jobs, as well as his experience is what we believe will provide the necessary skill set to move our state forward.”
“I want to thank AFSCME District Council 47 and President Wright for their endorsement. I am truly honored,” McCord responded.
Altogether, the McCord campaign asserts that their combined union endorsements represent more than 445,000 PA citizens.
While all this movement has taken place the last few weeks, the Schwartz campaign has been strangely quiet. In an apparent effort to assuage any doubts, the Congresswoman’s Campaign Manager Corey Dukes released a strategy memo to the media detailing his candidate’s path to the Governor’s mansion.
“Allyson Schwartz is well positioned to win the primary on May 20th,” Dukes contended. “Once our campaign begins to advertise, and voters understand that there is a different choice in the race for Governor, support will coalesce around Schwartz.”
Dukes went on to argue that polls only reflect the current state of the race and can change rather quickly. He cited the $5 million the Schwartz campaign intends to spend and touted the candidate’s experience and grassroots donor network of 10,000 people.
He also provided three recent examples of Democratic primaries (the 2007 race for Mayor of Philadelphia, the 2010 contest for Governor of Connecticut and the 2006 election for Governor of California) where self-funding candidates eventually saw their early leads evaporate.
It is important, however, to provide some background to Dukes’ examples. For instance, the Democrats still lost the California governorship in 2006. Additionally in Connecticut, Dan Mallory triumphed over Ned Lamont in large part because the latter self-destructed after a poorly-run campaign. Schwartz can’t just hope Wolf falls on his face. The only real pertinent example is Michael Nutter’s victory, which was attributed to his well-made personal ads, just the kind that Tom Wolf has been making while Schwartz has held off going on the airwaves.
Regardless, the Schwartz campaign is undoubtedly right about one thing, whether they will look like geniuses or fools depends ultimately upon the May 20th results.
In an effort to build off his visit to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis last week, the Governor’s re-election team announced on Tuesday the launch of “Catholics for Corbett-Cawley” at an event in Pittsburgh.
“A lifelong member of the Catholic faith, Governor Corbett has been a champion for family values and education, investing historic state funding into basic education while providing alternatives for learning in private, parochial and charter schools,” the campaign writes.
Representing nearly 30% of PA residents, Catholic voters are sure to be a major factor come November.