Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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McCord rips Wolf for turning gov race into 'auction'

State Treasurer Rob McCord told a Pittsburgh radio station Thursday that he needs to be able to raise unlimited campaign contributions in the governor's race to compete with York businessman Tom Wolf's $10 million of personal money.

McCord rips Wolf for turning gov race into 'auction'

State Treasurer Rob McCord. (File photo)
State Treasurer Rob McCord. (File photo)

Is York businessman Tom Wolf getting under state Treasurer Rob McCord’s skin?

In an interview Thursday on WESA, Pittsburgh’s public-radio station, McCord took several shots at Wolf, one of his rivals for the Democratic nomination for governor. The treasurer seemed especially galled by Wolf’s ability to donate $10 million to his own campaign.

“When you have a self funder, and particularly in the Democratic Party, that’s what’s so troubling to me,” McCord said on the show Essential Pittsburgh. “We say we’re here primarily for working people….[and] to say, well we’re going to give the nomination for governor to anybody who can write a $10 million check out of their own household, I think is not right. I don’t think it’s the right fit for the Democratic Party.”

McCord did not mention Wolf by name, but said he was “worried” about the party primary becoming an “auction” and that the candidate with the most family wealth in the race would be able to purchase the nomination.

Wolf, who has also raised more than $3 million from other sources, has been pressing his money advantage over his competitors, advertising on broadcast television across the state for several weeks.

"Tom Wolf is a different kind of candidate who will give Pennsylvania a fresh start," spokesman Mark Nicastre said. "Thousands of Pennsylvanians have supported Tom's effort to change Harrisburg, and as he travels the Commonwealth on his Fresh Start tour he is hearing from people throughout Pennsylvania who are ready for a different kind of leader."    

During his radio appearance Thursday, McCord was pressed on his reaction to an Inquirer editorial that criticized the no-limits fundraising allowed in Pennsylvania, and used as an example, a $500,000 campaign contribution from former Sallie Mae CEO Al Lord, a candidate for the Penn State trustee board. It was based on this story.

McCord said there was no appearance of impropriety and blamed questions on his opponents. “When you have an industry of opposition researchers who are paid $50,000 or $100,000 to create ugly pictures of you, anybody can look bad, right?” he said.

At another point in the interview, McCord also had scathing words about the sitting governor’s mental capacity.

“Do I believe Gov. Corbett is acting as a wholly owned subsidiary of the energy industry? Yes,” McCord said. “But here’s my problem: I don’t think he’s intellectually vigorous enough to be skeptical about some of what they’re spoon-feeding him.”

Billy Pitman, spokesman for Corbett's re-election campaign, said, "I think Pennsylvania voters would be better served if our opponents stuck to the issues instead of these types of comments."

Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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