Friday, January 30, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 12:12 PM

First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday urged a crowd in Northwest Philadelphia to “step up today” and begin making phone calls and knocking on doors to elect Democrat Tom Wolf governor.

“If we truly want to finish what we started…if we want change in Pennsylvania, we need to take responsibility,” Mrs. Obama said at a rally with several hundred people at the Dorothy Emanuel Recreation Center in East Mount Airy.

Her visit, less than three weeks before the Nov. 4 election, was designed to help build some excitement in an area where Wolf needs good numbers from in order to win. Campaign workers with clipboards signed up attendees for volunteer shifts.

POSTED: Friday, October 10, 2014, 8:02 AM
(Video still from

Democrat Tom Wolf is swamping Gov. Tom Corbett (R) nearly 3 to 1 on television sets across Pennsylvania this week, according to tracking reports of the campaigns’ purchase of advertising time.

 If that continues, it may become difficult for Corbett to take advantage of what polls show is a solidifying GOP base and begin to eat into Wolf’s double-digit lead. (The latest available campaign-finance reports showed that the challenger ended September with a $1.7 million cash advantage over the governor.)

 “It’s an article of faith in Pennsylvania politics that if the Democrat can spend evenly with a Republican in a Senate or governor’s race, they’re likely to win given the registration advantage,” said lawyer Shanin Specter, a key strategist in the campaigns of his late father, Sen. Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:15 AM
Gov. Corbett (left), the Republican incumbent, and Democratic nominee Tom Wolf debate on Wednesday. Republican voters' interest is higher, but with Wolf's lead in the polls, the issue becomes: How do these candidates generate turnout? (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)

Democratic challenger Tom Wolf leads Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by 17 percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania – 55 percent to 38 percent – as the campaign enters its final month, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

The survey shows a slight improvement for Corbett compared to the last Quinnipiac Poll of the race Sept. 11, when Wolf led 59 percent to 35 percent among likely voters.

“With a slight shift in the numbers as a handful of Republicans come back, there is a pinprick of light at the end of the long, dark reelection tunnel, but time is not on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s side,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll. “It’s a matter of simple math.”

POSTED: Monday, October 6, 2014, 2:21 PM

Democrat Tom Wolf unveiled a pair of new television ads Monday that blast Gov. Corbett for recent blows to the state’s fiscal condition and its economy, while also charging that Pennsylvania’s rate of new-job creation has dropped during his administration.

 One of them, “Three Days,” opens with a picture of the governor and the assertion that “things keep getting worse under Corbett. On Sept. 16, it says, “budget deficits” force the state to borrow $1.5 billion “just to keep the lights on.” Three days later, the state’s unemployment rate ticks up for the second month in a row. And on Sept., 25, Pennsylvania’s credit rating was downgraded for the fifth time in two years. In between, the add slams Corbett with a labor-oriented think tank’s report that the state has slipped from 9th in the nation in job creation to 47th in the past four years.

The tagline: “Why would we give Tom Corbett another four years?”

POSTED: Saturday, October 4, 2014, 5:56 PM

A battalion of union volunteers fanned out in North Philadelphia Saturday to knock on doors and fight a potential threat to Democrat Tom Wolf’s campaign for governor: apathy.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and PA Working Families organized the canvass, which put about 400 people on the streets to identify voters who support Wolf and to encourage them to come out to the polls Nov. 4.

Wolf has led Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by an average of 15 percentage points throughout the campaign, but Democratic strategists and their allies in the labor movement know that the party’s base voters have proved more apt to turn out in presidential years than in a midterm election. The idea is to reach out and communicate with so-called “drop-off” voters.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 10:23 PM

The e-mailed pleas grew more whiny and desperate with each passing hour.

“I’m pleading.”

“We’re begging.”

POSTED: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 1:31 PM
Gov. Tom Corbett's latest reelection commercial features actors pretending to sarcastically love Democratic challenger Tom Wolf's plan to increase taxes on the middle class. (Video still)

The challenge of political ad-making in this fractured media age is to get the viewer to pay attention.

Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is trying a little satire in his new 30-second spot called “Say What.” It shows (presumably) middle-class Pennsylvanians protesting that they aren’t paying enough in taxes and expressing the hope that Democrat Tom Wolf will become governor so he can soak them.

“It says here Tom Wolf’s going to raise the tax on middle-class families,” a man says, glancing up from his newspaper at the family breakfast table. “It’s about time somebody does.” His wife adds, “We just have way too much money.”

POSTED: Sunday, September 21, 2014, 7:04 PM

Democrat Tom Wolf is heading into the final weeks of the campaign with a $1.7 million cash edge over Gov. Corbett, the Republican incumbent he is trying to evict, according to summaries of finance reports the two sides plan to file this week.

The campaigns disclosed the numbers Sunday, the day before they are set to meet in the first debate of the gubernatorial campaign.

For the three month period that ended Sept. 15, Wolf’s campaign said it raised $9.6 million and spent more than $6.2 million, leaving it with about $6.5 million in the bank for the final drive.

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
Also on
Stay Connected