Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A Wolf at the Door

Former state revenue secretary Tom Wolf of York is all in, according to the Associated Press. He becomes the third Democrat for announce a candidacy for governor.

A Wolf at the Door

Former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf announces at a Capitol news conference that he will resign in Nov. 2008. Gov. Rendell (left) said nominated the Pennsylvania Economy League's Stephen Stetler (right) to replace Wolf. (File photo: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
Former Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf announces at a Capitol news conference that he will resign in Nov. 2008. Gov. Rendell (left) said nominated the Pennsylvania Economy League's Stephen Stetler (right) to replace Wolf. (File photo: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Just about anyone willing to part with $10 million can make some noise in Pennsylvania politics. And York County multi-millionaire Democratic biz guy Tom Wolf apparently is now formally ready to howl.

The Associated Press reports the 64-year old former state revenue secretary is contacting supporters by email Tuesday with the message that he's joining the race for his party's nomination to unseat Gov. Corbett -- and will spend at least $10 million of his own dough to do so.

He is the third announced Democrat. Former state environmental protection secretary John Hanger and Central Pennsylvania minister Max Myers announced earlier.

And Wolf is also potentially one of three former state cabinet members (former state environmental protection secretary Kathleen McGinty is considering) to compete. All served under former Gov. Rendell which means, in true Rendell fashion, Ed at some point endorses all three.

A fun fact: Wolf not only served in the cabinet, his company makes cabinets.

WOLF (a self-described "Leader of the Pack") is the largest distributor of kitchen and bath cabinetry in the nation, according to the company Website. The company, says AP, has been in Wolf's family for six generations.

The new candidate appears to have some bite.

The AP quotes him saying Corbett "has spent his term in office putting politics over policy, corporations over people and giving away our natural resources to the highest bidder."

Wolf also said Pennsylvania must abandon the notion that government should be run as a business.

"Businesses are not in the trade of educating our kids, providing health care to low-income families and children, and giving seniors the dignity of a happy and secure retirement. Our government is, or at least it should be," he said.

It is usual for me and my ilk to debunk first-time statewide candidates unknown to voters. But at a time of so much distrust and downright loathing for politics and so many of its special-interests-backed practitioners, smart, self-financed newcomers are likely to get a more serious look than ever.

Tom Wolf's company logo is a howling wolf. We'll see how much noise his candidacy makes.


John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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