This week saw a pair of new polls which confirmed once again that Tom Wolf is firmly in the lead (although how big that lead is remains highly disputed). We also witnessed how parties and outside groups reacted to the electoral landscape as the RGA donated another $3.5 million to Governor Corbett while the NextGen environmental PAC decided they didn’t need to spend any more cash to defeat the incumbent.
Now that the public is finally (hopefully) paying full attention, we’re about to enter what the President once termed the “silly season” of politics. While he never fully defined the term it seems safe to say it describes the period before the election when attacks and charges dominate over all issues of policy. With the exception of the debates (again hopefully), prepare for an onslaught of accusations over the next eight and a half weeks.
In the wake of the latest Franklin and Marshall poll, the Corbett-Cawley camp released a commercial that indicated how they would frame the rest of the election. Calling Wolf a “third term” for President Obama and Governor Rendell is an attempt to both portray the newcomer as a politician and associate him with those whose popularity is not exactly sterling in the Keystone State.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the PA Republican Party sought to take advantage of a fundraiser Tom Wolf held with Vice President Joe Biden.
“When Barack Obama and Joe Biden need support in Pennsylvania, they turn to Tom Wolf,” PA GOP Chair Rob Gleason said. “Tom Wolf was a major financial supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and now he’s turning his attentions to Joe Biden.”
Gleason went so far as to dig into the 1988 Democratic Presidential Primary to go after the Vice President.
“Since Joe Biden and Tom Wolf share a history of plagiarism in their campaigns, it’s no surprise they’re campaigning together,” he said. “While Joe Biden plagiarized his campaign speeches and a term paper, Tom Wolf’s campaign plagiarized their energy policy. At a time when President Obama and the Democrats are waging a War on Pennsylvania’s coal jobs, is it too much to ask for Tom Wolf to create his own policies regarding our energy future?”
“Tom Wolf’s financial support of Barack Obama has cost Pennsylvanians their jobs. Our Commonwealth deserve better than the Obama-Biden-Wolf liberal agenda,” Gleason concluded.
Furthermore, the PA GOP went after Wolf’s response to the news that Gov. Corbett’s HealthyPA initiative had been accepted by the federal government.
“Once again, Tom Wolf proves he will put liberal politics above even his own principles,” PA Republican Party Communications Director Megan Sweeney said. “Tom Wolf supports Governor Corbett in one breath and then tries to fit in an attack with the next. His actions remind us of when he talks about openness and transparency and then hides his company and his own financial records as questions continue to swirl around him. He continues to prove that he is just another politician.”
“Let’s not forget that Tom Wolf wants to move all Pennsylvanians into a single-payer health care system,” she continued. “Governor Corbett has fought for practical health care reforms that increase access to coverage while protecting taxpayers while Wolf would admits he would have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars through the next decade.”
Not to be outdone, Wolf’s surrogates threw out their own charges at the Governor. FreshStartPA is still seeking answers concerning Ron Tomalis’ controversial tenure as special adviser to Governor Corbett. This week Senator Mike Folmer reiterated that he won’t be holding any hearing on the issue, prompting Fresh Start to accuse the Senator of a cover-up.
“Senator Mike Folmer’s refusal to hold hearings represents the worst of Harrisburg. He knows that Tom Corbett’s ghost employee Ron Tomalis did nothing to earn his $140,000 salary, but he is going to aid Tom Corbett’s cover-up by refusing to hold public hearings,” Campaign for a Fresh Start Spokesman Mike Mikus said. “Mike Folmer has a choice to make. As chair of the Senate Education Committee, he has a duty to investigate Ron Tomalis on behalf of the Pennsylvania taxpayers who elected Folmer and are paying Tomalis’s salary. He can side with taxpayers and conduct a complete investigation into this matter or he can side with Tom Corbett and aid him in this cover-up.”
“Tom Corbett is trying to cover up the fact that Ron Tomalis earned $140,000 of taxpayer money to do no work, and now Mike Folmer is doing everything he can to help him keep the public from learning the facts,” Mikus concluded. “Through these actions, Senator Mike Folmer has demonstrated that he is more loyal to Tom Corbett than the hardworking taxpayers of Pennsylvania.”
Finally, this week we saw the end of a tragic political downfall as former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted on eleven counts of corruption. McDonnell was once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party which explains some now embarrassing remarks Gov. Corbett once made. FreshStartPA, however, was only too happy to keep the memory alive by releasing the video for all to see.
The group pointed out that McDonnell held three fundraisers with Corbett over the years, including the time McDonnell headlined the Pennsylvania GOP’s 2013 Lincoln Day Fundraising Dinner. Fresh Start called on the Governor to return all of McDonnell’s campaign donations, but I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that they just wanted to remind the public about his history with the now disgraced former Virginia Governor.
Great ready politicos, the silly season has only just begun.