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Scott Wagner's daughter calls GOP primary foe Paul Mango 'disgrace' in new ad

Wes Venteicher
| Friday, April 13, 2018, 1:48 p.m.
State Sen. Scott Wagner, a York County Republican, discusses his announced candidacy for governor at a press event at Cleveland Brothers in Murrysville, Pa. on Thursday Jan. 12, 2017.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
State Sen. Scott Wagner, a York County Republican, discusses his announced candidacy for governor at a press event at Cleveland Brothers in Murrysville, Pa. on Thursday Jan. 12, 2017.

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner's daughter Katharine Wagner defends her father against attacks from Republican rival Paul Mango in a new ad, calling Mango a "disgrace" for the attack ads he has run against her father.

Mango aired an attack last week labeling cartoon depictions of Wagner as a "slumlord," bail bondsman and "deadbeat dad" who avoided child support payments.

The end of the ad previews another ad to come, titled "violent Wagner." It shows a couple seconds of footage of Wagner grabbing a camera from a campaign tracker from a liberal political opposition group last year.

At a news conference early this week, Wagner said he had a "pretty good idea of what's coming next," mentioning an episode from 12 years ago in which his daughter requested a protection-from-abuse order after a physical altercation. The episode was reported on during Wagner's campaign for state senator in 2014.

After Wagner's ad aired Thursday, Mango spokesman Matt Beynon said the coming ad wouldn't include those allegations.

"Paul has said from the beginning of his campaign that the personal problems between Sen. Wagner and his daughter were between him, his daughter and the law. This was never going to be a part of a 'violent Wagner' ad," Beynon said in a statement.

In Thursday's black-and-white ad, Katharine Wagner speaks directly to the camera.

"Paul Mango is a disgrace. His ads attacking my dad Scott Wagner are flat out lies. Dragging me into his dirty campaign is beyond the bounds of decency. My dad is a wonderful father who has always supported me. Mango is taking a decade-old dispute and twisting the truth. Mr. Mango, you're not half the man my father is, take down your disgusting ads and apologize," she says.

In her PFA request to a judge 12 years ago, Katharine Wagner said her father put both hands on her neck, squeezed and shook her, making it hard for her to breathe, and then grabbed her wrists and pushed her against a kitchen counter, The Associated Press reported .

She told state GOP committee members in a letter last year that she reacted like "an angry teenager" by filing the PFA, saying that Wagner did not choke her. She called him "a good dad and a loving grandfather to my son."

Wagner wasn't charged in last year's incident with the campaign tracker, and didn't seem to suffer more than a minor finger injury, according to the AP.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, wventeicher@tribweb.com or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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