President Barack Obama was at Temple University yesterday stumping for gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf. Pennsylvania’s Democratic machinery, including State Senator Mike Stack, Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, and Wolf’s one-time opponent for the nomination, former Pa. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary and former chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Katie McGinty turned out.
Jeff Fusco was on the scene, as well as at a Tom Wolf campaign stop at the 52nd Street ShopRite on Saturday.
Katie McGinty — the Democrat who ran a positive campaign for governor this year (and, partially as a result, finished dead last) — is running for Pennsylvania Democratic chair. She’s being supported by the winner of that Democratic gubernatorial primary, Tom Wolf.
Wolf has also thrown his support behind Rep. Jake Wheatley, of Allegheny, for the vice chair position.
Election Day is almost here! Tuesday is Pennsylvania primary day, so politicians will be ceding television commercial breaks back to their usual occupants (ads for drugs, beer, cars, etc.) for a few months — until general election commercials start.
For the past month, seemingly every commercial break has been clogged with ads that are ridiculous in one way or another. (Another possibility: I just happen to watch a lot of TV that’s generally aimed at old people.) I guess I’m tired of them, but I’m going to miss the ridiculousness of a lot of the spots. Maybe it’s because they all use the same cliches, but there’s something about political commercials that is just hilarious. Here’s a roundup of some of the more notable ones from this election season.
During the course of the campaign to be the Democratic nominee for governor, Philly Mag and Phillymag.com profiled or interviewed all the candidates for governor. (In the case of pot-promoting John Hanger, we even interviewed a candidate who wouldn't last long enough to make it to the election. ) Rather than put you through the grid of positions that each candidate similarly holds, we're picking our favorite moments from each encounter. Remember to vote on Tuesday!
Let's talk a little bit more about jobs. You do say that you want to help new businesses get started here and you also want to attract out-of-state companies to Pennsylvania. Yet you also want to end big tax breaks for big companies that are doing pretty well already. Without those breaks, how do you incentivize companies to come here and grow here?
Well first you pull back on the breaks that have nothing whatsoever to do with job creation.
Those of us who've run a lot of businesses know that when it comes to entrepreneurialism, young dogs hunt, old dogs beg. So the young dogs are out there working hard, trying to create jobs, trying to find customers. It's the big, stodgy, old companies that simply are trying to get a subsidy essentially in exchange for political support. Not for job creation, that we need to address.
You want to institute a new funding formula for state schools, one that takes into account number of students served and the cost of instruction. Here's another chance for you to distinguish yourself from Tom Corbett — because he's also criticized the funding formula lately and he's called for a commission to fix it. How do you think your approach might be different from his?
Tom Corbett only needs to have a little chat with himself and say, "Tom, stop gerrymandering the school formula." "Okay, Tom! I will!" The fact that the funding of our schools has become a political back-room deal is brought to you, totally, by Tom Corbett. And it just… it strains belief a little bit too much that now he's aghast about it. When Ed Rendell was in office, we — like just about every other state in the union — had an objective, transparent school funding formula based on common sense things like "What's the population in this school district?" "What's the average income in this school district?" "What's the percentage of students with special needs in this school district?" In a McGinty administration, it will be that transparency, that accountability and that common sense that will come back to the fore and push out what Tom Corbett has done, which is to make our children's future a matter of political arm-wrestle.
Now she begins to get recharged: “I’ve actually found, and I think this is true, it’s almost palpable, the degree to which people think my being different is a positive.” Suddenly Schwartz is speaking fast and aggressively again, her natural style: “And you have to have a lot of confidence not just in yourself but the people you’re talking to. And I don’t have to tell people I’m a woman—they know it feels different to them. But they are pretty excited about that.”
Allyson Schwartz is staring at me, intense, her eyes glazing over. It’s a moment on the heels of her character being challenged—but she seems to be feeling, too, what she so badly wants, right there for the taking, after a career of push-push-push. She wants to be governor for herself, of course, and just maybe for the rest of us as well.
“The fact is, my style is different. It’s different because I’m a woman; it’s different because my history is different. It’s different because I’ve come up through public service for different reasons, a different starting point.
“And there’s absolutely no reason why Pennsylvania won’t vote for me for governor. And if I believed that they wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this.”
The primary is, of course, about choosing a candidate who can best represent the party against the Republican incumbent in the fall. How are you different from — how are you better than — Tom Corbett?
I think I'm uniquely qualified to go toe to toe against whoever the other side puts up because I've actually done this. And when they pretend or try to speak for those of us who have built businesses, who have employed people and met payrolls, I could actually come right back and say "Actually, maybe some of the things you think work for business might not work as well." I've done this. I've worked in the trenches. I'm a lifelong Democrat and everything I've done and seen in my business career has reaffirmed me as a Democrat. And I think that would be something that would be somewhat unusual in politics and state politics that would make me a good candidate.
We’re now at the stage of things where the only appropriate thing to do is jokingly reference M.C. Hammer album titles. Because the latest poll centered on next Tuesday’s Democratic primary election shows that frontrunner Tom Wolf is, uh, still running up front: Harper Polling says he commands the support of 50 percent of likely voters.
York businessman Tom Wolf during a Democratic gubernatorial candidates forum Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014 in Philadelphia. AP Photo | Jacqueline Larma
Let’s get real. If Treasurer Rob McCord were actually interested in initiating a serious discussion about racism in Pennsylvania, he probably would have chosen a more appropriate format and timing than a 30-second scare ad two weeks before election day.
Still, the random last-ditch attempt to impugn the character of Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Tom Wolf has succeeded in getting people talking about race, and it’s an important discussion for Pennsylvania to have with itself. It is, after all, the most prejudiced state outside the South.
But so far the conversation has fixated on the narrow and not especially productive issue of a racist guy, and the appropriate distance for a political candidate to have from him, when the real conversation Pennsylvania needs is about policy.
The biggest problem with white racism isn’t white people mistreating people of color on a personal level — it’s how those prejudices ultimately manifest themselves in state and local laws and policies that directly or indirectly favor white supremacy, and unfairly ration opportunities and public resources to people of color.
And as it happens, Mr. Wolf actually does have a very clear policy record on racial politics, and broadening the discussion to include that record reveals a very different picture of his time in York than the one portrayed in Mr. McCord’s scare ad.
Tom Wolf. AP Photo | Chris Knight, Intelligencer Journal
The increasingly shrill tenor of the Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord campaigns’ hits on Tom Wolf heading into the last two and a half weeks of the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania Governor may lead some to believe the race is really about to heat up. Those people would be wrong.
The truth is that the race has been over for weeks, and Tom Wolf is going to be the nominee.
Hey Allyson Schwartz, if you want to break through and guarantee that you win the Democratic nomination to run for governor, have I got an idea for you. It’s loosely based on the philosophy of Sarah Palin, but don’t let that stop you.
You ready? Here goes. Pennsylvania is sitting on a mother lode of cash, right? The natural gas in the Marcellus Shale reserve is worth at least $2 trillion dollars.