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McGinty to air first TV ad of Pa. governor's race

| Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 2:30 p.m.
Katie McGinty was Department of Environmental Protection secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell and an environmental adviser in the White House for former President Bill Clinton.

HARRISBURG — Democratic candidate Katie McGinty is starting her TV advertising campaign early, but she probably has no choice against three better-financed gubernatorial candidates, political analysts said.

McGinty of Chester County is set to air the first TV ad of the governor's race on CNN and MSNBC in a Tuesday night time slot surrounding President Obama's State of the Union address. She wouldn't disclose the cost of the ads. Eight Democrats plan to run in the May 20 primary. The winner would likely take on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. He might face opposition from conservative Bob Guzzardi of Montgomery County in the primary.

McGinty's ad is an introductory spot called “Hard Work.” It's about her background growing up as one of 10 children in Northeast Philadelphia. The ad opens with McGinty looking into the camera and saying, “I grew up in a household where hard work was the order of the day. My dad was a policeman, and my mom worked nights in a restaurant. And all 10 of us kids understood the value of hard work. We had a good middle-class life.”

McGinty, a former state environmental regulator, has raised $2.4 million for the primary contest.

Her ad “isn't going to scare anyone off,” said G. Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College. “She's trying to raise her name recognition for the next series of polls.”

Rival campaigns said their tracking showed it's only a $6,400 ad buy. McGinty's campaign would not confirm it.

“If you are Allyson Schwartz, Rob McCord or Tom Wolf, you can afford to wait a bit,” Madonna said.

York businessman Tom Wolf donated $10 million of his money to his campaign and raised more than $3 million. Schwartz and McCord each raised more than $6.5 million. McCord, the state treasurer from Montgomery County, donated $1.7 million of his own money and $1.3 million from his 2012 treasurer's campaign. Schwartz, also of Montgomery County, transferred about $3 million from her congressional campaign. Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger says his report, to be filed on Friday, will show he has raised more than $1 million.

Traditionally, political advertising is considered to be most effective during the final two to three weeks of the campaign, analysts said.

“Waiting until she (McGinty) gets swamped by their advertising would not be a good idea,” Madonna said.

“I can see the strategy,” said Joseph DiSarro, chairman of the political science department at Washington & Jefferson College. “She probably knows she is behind Schwartz and McCord. She probably knows she has to make a move.”

Mike Mikus, McGinty's campaign manager, said polling consistently shows McGinty in “strong second place.”

McGinty's ad can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1fkz8CJ.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 and bbumsted@tribweb.com.

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