Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 1:16 PM

A new Democratic political action committee is launching a 30-second TV ad attacking Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) for cuts in state education spending, taking aim at what polls show is one of the incumbent’s greatest vulnerabilities.

PA Families First is spending just under $2 million to air the ad on broadcast and cable outlets in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia media markets.

The independent-expenditure PAC, registered in Pennsylvania, enjoys backing from the Democratic Governors Association, AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. It is not allowed to give money directly to a candidate or political party, and cannot coordinate expenditures with them.


POSTED: Friday, July 18, 2014, 8:23 AM
Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) gets heckled, showing strength or weakness, depending on the spin one prefers.

So, a heckler interrupts a Gov. Corbett press conference in the Lehigh Valley Thursday with an attack on his proposal to cut pension benefits for future state and school employees - disguised as a question.

Corbett gives an answer and then, as the man continues to berate him, thanks the audience for coming and ends the event.

Does this incident illustrate a) Corbett’s cowardice and unpopularity or b) the governor’s leadership?


POSTED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 1:02 PM

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) stayed positive in his TV ad campaign for two whole days last week, then began rotating a spot on job-growth with another that portrays Democrat Tom Wolf as a tax-mad monster.

The 30-second ad says that “millionaire” Wolf, a York businessman, neglected to mention in the onslaught of television ads he bought in the Democratic primary that he had been the state revenue secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

It blames Wolf for new taxes on home heating oil, electricity and garbage, as well as a 1 percentage point increase in the sales levy. Rendell proposed all of those levies in the 2007-08 budget year, but he abandoned them in the annual give-and-take with the legislature. None was enacted.


POSTED: Monday, July 14, 2014, 9:51 AM
Tom Steyer's new NextGen Climate super PAC ad accuses Gov. Corbett (R) of giving favorable treatment to oil and gas companies while shortchanging public schools. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit 6.0)

 Outside money has entered the Pennsylvania governor’s race in a big way, with a new ad from billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate super PAC accusing Gov. Corbett (R) of giving favorable treatment to oil and gas companies while shortchanging public schools.

The ad, running statewide, demands that Corbett publicly disclose the meetings and communications he’s had with oil-and-gas lobbyists and donors.

“Oil and gas companies gave Gov. Corbett $1.7 million in political contributions and he gave them a sweetheart deal on taxes that’s costing Pennsylvania billions,” a voiceover says in the spot. “Corbett’s mismanagement has caused a huge budget deficit and his education cuts are forcing teacher layoffs and class sizes.”


POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 4:56 PM

For Democrat Tom Wolf, summer is the time to put some fuel back in the tank and to mend whatever hard feelings may yet remain from the party’s primary fight for governor.

Two Philadelphia fundraisers Thursday should help in both regards.

A constellation of Democratic heavyweights plans a 5:30 p.m. reception at the Rittenhouse Square home of philanthropist and lawyer Sheldon Bonovitz that organizers believe will raise $250,000 to $300,000 for the Wolf campaign.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 5:45 PM

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.


POSTED: Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:30 PM

Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for governor, is sidestepping a potentially nasty fight for chair of the state party by naming his choice for that job, Katie McGinty, to head a new independent campaign committee.

Sources said The Campaign for a Fresh Start, the new PAC, will be a parallel organization to the Democratic State Committee, mobilizing support among Democrats, independents and Republicans for Wolf and the party’s legislative candidates.

Wolf had named McGinty, a former rival for the nomination, as his choice for state party chairman. But the incumbent, Chairman Jim Burn of Allegheny County, announced he would contest the election at Saturday’s meeting of the state committee in Camp Hill, Pa.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 5:37 PM

Katie McGinty, a former candidate for Pennsylvania governor, told members of the Democratic State Committee in an email Wednesday that she is running for state party chair at the request of nominee Tom Wolf.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Tom that Pennsylvania needs a fresh start,” McGinty wrote. “The last thing we can do is allow Tom Corbett to have four more years. A failure in November will mean four more years of failed education policy, four more years of lagging growth, and four more years of having a governor who is indifferent to the needs of hardworking Pennsylvanians.”

A former state environmental secretary and an adviser on the environment in the Clinton White House, McGinty finished last in the party’s four-way primary for governor May 20 – but won wide admiration from Democratic activists for running a positive campaign and staying above the fray in the final weeks as U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord attacked Wolf.

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
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