Pa. Gov. Corbett in Uphill Battle Against Millionaire Democrat

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 01:35 PM

By John Gizzi

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With polls showing him to be one of two Republican governors trailing his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to wage a gloves-off, whatever-it-takes campaign against millionaire Democrat and first-time candidate Tom Wolf.

To no one's surprise, Wolf, whose only public office was as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue under Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, was an easy winner in the Democratic primary for governor on Tuesday.

Wolf rolled up 57.9 percent of the vote to U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's 17.6 percent, state Treasurer Rob McCord's 16.9 percent, and former state Secretary of Environmental Protection Katie McGinty's 7.7 percent.

When Corbett spoke to Newsmax in April, he made it clear that he would make an issue of Wolf's performance in the Rendell administration.

"His last public position was secretary of revenue under an administration that left us with a $4.2 billion deficit," Corbett said. "I wouldn't mind debating that."

Wolf's own business background is also likely to be fair game for the embattled Corbett.

In April, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a front-page story raising fresh questions about the business career of Wolf, with the headline: "Behind Tom Wolf's business success, a more complicated picture."

Contrary to widespread reports that Wolf had used $10 million to finance his campaign, the Inquirer reported that less than half that sum wasn't a loan from his own money but a loan from M&T Bank that he will have to repay.

This has raised questions as to whether Wolf has followed state campaign finance rules.

Inheriting a $4.2 billion deficit, Corbett oversaw an end to his state's "death tax" on family-owned farms and a phase-out of its Capital Stock and Franchise Tax. Under Corbett, state spending has been reduced for the first time in 40 years.

So why, Newsmax asked, unlike other inventive GOP governors such as Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio, is Corbett now an underdog for re-election?

"Every state's voting population is different," Corbett said, noting that Pennsylvania has been turning more Democratic in recent years.

"Almost as soon as I became governor, the teachers' union launched a $3 million attack in the media against me. The public employees' unions have also been after me. It isn't easy."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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