Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner loves comparing himself to President Trump.
They speak bluntly. They’re rich businessmen. And both were endorsed by Steve Bannon.
Turns out they share something else: traveling to campaign events on private jets owned by companies in which they have financial stakes.
Wagner, a state senator from York County who owns waste-hauling and trucking firms, has spent $1.2 million of his own money on air travel since 2017, campaign finance records show.
Campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said Wagner has traveled via jet or helicopter owned by Maryland-based GrandView Aviation. According to financial disclosure forms, Wagner has a 25 percent stake in the company, previously known as IBW Air Services LLC. Wagner lists IBW as a source of income on the forms.
Wagner, who grew up on a farm and proudly calls himself a garbageman, has reported the expenses as in-kind contributions to his campaign.
Does Wagner worry that his use of a private jet could hurt his image among working-class voters?
“Donald Trump flew around Pennsylvania on a 747 with his name on it in 2016 and carried the state thanks in large part to blue-collar voters, so we don’t assume Scott’s air travel will be an issue,” Romeo said.
Ah, Trump Force One. Trump spent $9.3 million on air travel during his campaign, according to Bloomberg. That money went to Trump-owned TAG Air, which operates his fleet.
Political strategists say his access to private aircraft was a huge advantage, allowing Trump to set his own schedule. He just had to pay market rate to comply with federal election law.
Wagner is not bound by the typically stricter federal campaign regulations, but is also paying market rate for his air travel, Romeo said.
“Scott’s unique ability to travel by air is utilized so he can make as many stops as possible,” Romeo said. “Scott wants to take his message to people all over the commonwealth and Pennsylvania’s size makes that challenging.”
Wagner’s campaign has also thrown a few Benjamins toward Penn Waste, his trash collection company: His committee paid more than $1,200 to the business for waste removal.
State Rep. candidate gets kicked off the ballot, keeps campaigning anyway
A judge booted Democrat Kenneth Walker from the May 15 primary ballot, said he flat-out lied on an affidavit, and dressed him down in a 27-page court opinion that was about as entertaining as a White House press briefing.
But that isn’t stopping Walker from pursuing his dream of becoming a state lawmaker.
Last week, Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey ruled that Walker “intentionally falsified” his candidate paperwork by listing his home address as a property he owns in North Philly’s 181st District. Contenders for the state House must live in the districts they seek to represent. But Walker’s wife and son live at Girard College, which is outside the 181st.
Walker said in court that he no longer lives at the boarding school with his wife, who is a residential counselor there, and that the two have been separated “since about 2015.”
But when pressed in court by a lawyer for the voters challenging his candidacy, Walker admitted that he spends holidays with his wife. And that he went on a getaway to the Poconos with her last year. And that he says he is married in campaign materials. And that he’s probably going to file his tax returns with her.
In fact, Walker acknowledged that he had previously registered to vote in the 181st District while living at Girard College. Here’s how that memorable exchange went down:
“In 2013, you were living on campus?” the attorney asked.
“Yes,” Walker replied.
“And during 2013 you were registered to vote someplace else?” he asked.
“Yes,” Walker said.
Walker also acknowledged that he lived at Girard in 2014. For the record, Walker ran for the House in the 181st District that year, too.
Walker, who has not appealed the ruling, did not provide comment. Malcolm Kenyatta, one of Walker’s primary opponents, funded the legal challenge to his candidacy.
When politicians get kicked off the ballot, that’s usually the end of their bids. But Walker is still campaigning. A day after the court order was released, Walker told his Facebook followers in a video: “There’s a lot of rumors out there that I’m not running. But I’m still running.”
Then he implored them: “I need your help. I need your time. I need your talents. I need your finances.”
Walker has a fundraiser scheduled for Wednesday.
Towing mogul Lew Blum gets trolled online, Darrell Clarke steps in to help
Darrell Clarke: City Council president. One-time rumored mayoral candidate. And … heroic fighter of online trolls?
This week, towing mogul Lew Blum thought Twitter user @DALarryKrasner — whose bio clearly lists itself a “parody account” for Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner — was the real deal. The faux Krasner jumped into Blum’s mentions after he announced he was running for City Council at-large.
@DALarryKrasner told Blum to “shut up.” Blum’s response: “you need to shut up.”
@DALarryKrasner kept trolling, calling him “trash” and saying “you’re drunk go tow a car.”
“I think your [sic] drunk,” Blum replied, launching in a rant in which he mused that “when a white person calls another white person trash … what he really means is white trash.”
Things got so bad that Clarke had to talk Blum off the ledge: “Lew,” the Council president tweeted. “That is not actually DA Krasner.”
Reached over the phone, we asked Blum if the incident gave him any insight on how to avoid being owned online.
“You have to check out every one. Every time,” he said of suspicious Twitter accounts. “Somebody could get a picture of you, get your name, and start a site!”