Gov. Corbett launches first TV ads of general election

Trailing his Democratic challenger by 20 percentage points or more, Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett Tuesday launched his first television commercial of the general election campaign, a 60-second spot that takes credit for the state’s improving economy.

“I didn’t come to Harrisburg to make friends. I came to build a stronger Pennsylvania,” Corbett declares in the ad, which intersperses shots of him talking with clips of farms, woods, cities, hard-hat-wearing workers and Marcellus Shale gas drilling rigs.

The ad notes that the state’s unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, is the lowest it has been since the financial meltdown of September 2008 and that more than 178,000 private-sector jobs have been created in the past three years.

Democrats retort that Pennsylvania’s job-growth has lagged behind that of other states.

"Tom Corbett is again attempting to hide his failed record," said Jeffrey Sheridan, spokesman for Democrat Tom Wolf, citing a report by a left-leaning Harrisburg think tank that concluded Pennsylvania was 49th in job creation since 2011.

Corbett’s campaign did not reveal the size of the advertising buy, and it typically does not disclose that information. Other sources that track political ad spending said Corbett bought a week’s worth of time in the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Johnstown markets – at a cost of about $845,000.

Corbett has trailed Wolf by 20 to 25 percentage points in the four public polls released since the York businessman won his party’s primary May 20.

The incumbent does, however, have a monetary advantage according to the latest campaign-finance reports filed last month: Wolf had $3.1 million on hand to $4.8 million for Corbett.

Wolf contributed $10 million of his own money to his primary campaign, but has said he is not going to self-finance in the general.