When it comes to one particularly hairy campaign issue, Democratic candidate Tom Wolf stands out from the field.
Wolf sports a beard.
No Pennsylvania governor for the last century - since Samuel Pennypacker took office in 1907 - has worn a beard. (Although government history wonks note that Gov. Gifford Pinchot, in the 1920s, had a wildly manscaped mustache.)
Asked this groundbreaking grooming question Monday at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon and whether he would consider shaving for the sake of his candidacy, Wolf stood firm.
"I understand I am breaking tradition," he said. "I won't be shaving it off."
Then he paused and added, "My compromise is I trimmed it."
Wolf, a York County businessman and former state Revenue Secretary, is the second gubernatorial candidates to address the press club this election year
(Former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty spoke last month and Treasurer Rob McCord is set to appear in March.)
Wolf told about 100 people - among them lobbyists, business leaders, lawmakers and a strong contingent from his native York County - that he is the "unconventional candidate."
Wolf ticked off some examples: Dropped out of Dartmouth (temporarily) to join the Peace Corps., worked as a forklift operator in his family's cabinet making business, pulled an economic "180" and restored his near bankrupt family company to fiscal health, offers profit sharing to his 270 employees.
He also defended self-funding his primary candidacy. His $10 million donation to his campaign came under attack recently by fellow Democrat Rob McCord. "I want to remain independent," Wolf said. "I'm not beholden to anyone."
Other candidates may argue that they too stand out from the rest of the field. But when it comes to a matter of hirsute history the unconventional label is indisputable.
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