New Castle News

May 10, 2014

John K. Manna: Wolf remains top dog in Democrat race

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — In 10 days, Democratic voters will nominate a candidate to run against Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall.

Corbett’s nomination is secure since his campaign was successful in knocking Bob Guzzardi — his lone opponent — off the Republican ballot because he failed to file his statement of financial interests with the state Ethics Commission.

Even if Guzzardi’s name had remained on the ballot, Corbett was in no danger of losing the nomination.

The question is, who will Democrats nominate from the field of four candidates?

Tom Wolf, former state revenue secretary, has been far ahead of his opponents in public opinion polls. As a result — as is customary in political campaigns — two of his opponents, state Treasurer Rob McCord and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, have been critical of him.

Katie McGinty, former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, has stayed out of the crossfire and has been running on her record.

The interesting thing is that the four candidates essentially agree on most things policywise. When it comes to major issues, there isn’t much difference between them. Ideologically speaking, however, there may be some minor differences.

Wolf has built his wide lead in the polls because of his multi-million dollar TV ad campaign. The ads have painted a positive picture of Wolf, but really don’t indicate whether he would be a better candidate than the other three. Regardless, the ads have worked for him.

If anyone ever doubted the power of television advertising — and lots of it — in statewide elections in Pennsylvania, maybe this will erase those doubts.

As the primary draws closer and Democratic voters become more focused on the candidates, the question is whether Wolf’s lead can be whittled away over the next 10 days.