McGinty to air first TV ads of Democratic primary

HARRISBURG - Katie McGinty said she would be the first of the crowd of Democrats seeking to challenge Gov. Corbett to air a television ad - Tuesday night during the president’s State of the Union address.

Speaking at the monthly Pennsylvania Press club luncheon Monday, McGinty said the ad would run on CNN and MSNBC across Pennsylvania during the news coverage before and after President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress. She declined to describe the size of the buy or to characterize the ad, except to say it would have a positive message.

“It touches very much on the theme of hard work, [that] hardworking families can and should have a shot at getting ahead,” McGinty told reporters after her appearance.

Even a modest ad buy will serve to set McGinty apart in at least a symbolic way, and the politically interested people who tend to vote in primaries are also the most likely to watch cable TV coverage of the State of the Union.

McGinty touched on several of her policy proposals during the speech – which she jokingly referred to as “spinach” – and sought to contrast herself with other Democratic candidates she characterized as promising to fund too many programs from a new tax on shale gas production that all the contenders support in one form another.

Money from a “reasonable” wellhead tax would generate about $600 million the first year, and McGinty said she would use it only to restore the state’s share of the cost of K-12 education and to make early childhood education available at school districts across the state.

She said she will put the money in a “lockbox” for education, echoing the term that former Vice President Al Gore used to describe his plan to sequester payroll tax revenue for Social Security during the 2000 presidential race.

McGinty was an environmental adviser to Gore in the Senate and then in the Clinton White House, where she also headed the Council on Environmental Quality. She also served as state Department of Environmental Protection secretary in Gov. Ed Rendell’s cabinet.

She is running in the May 20 primary against U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz; state Treasurer Rob McCord; York businessman and former state revenue secretary Tom Wolfe; former DEP secretary John Hanger; and several others.