Dems' debate assails Gov. Corbett
HARRISBURG — Democratic candidates for governor on Friday were expected to rip new front-runner Tom Wolf, who opened a wide lead in three statewide polls conducted this week.
“It'll be interesting to see if the blood, politically, starts flowing tonight,” John Hanger of Hershey said before the start of a forum at the Progressive Summit in the Harrisburg Hilton.
It didn't happen — save for a few good-natured jabs at Wolf.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett of Shaler remained the favorite target on issues, ranging from Medicaid and education to incomes for working families.
Wolf, a York millionaire largely financing his own campaign, garnered 36 percent of registered Democratic voters in a poll by Franklin and Marshall College after a monthlong TV advertising blitz.
Five other candidates received totals in single digits.
Former Auditor General Jack Wagner of Beechview, a late entry into the race, was not included in the poll and did not attend the forum at the Progressive's event, a confab of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
Corbett is the likely nominee for the Republican Party in the May 20 primary.
Bob Guzzardi, a conservative Montgomery County lawyer, hopes to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot and challenge Corbett from the right.
Hanger and Katie McGinty, both former state environmental regulators, state Treasurer Rob McCord and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz took the hardest shots at Corbett.
“I do believe Tom Corbett is personally responsible for the gridlock in Harrisburg,” said McCord of Montgomery County. He denounced “crony capitalism” under the governor.
McCord said, “Corbett too often acts as a wholly owed subsidiary of the J.R. Ewing wing of the energy industry,” referring to the Texas oilman in the TV show “Dallas.”
Cyber charter schools “are close to a scam,” said Hanger. It's part of an effort to “privatize public education,” he said. “Shame on Corbett and shame on the Legislature for allowing this.”
The voter ID bill signed by Corbett and designed to stop voter fraud is “his fraud,” McGinty said.
Not a single case of voter fraud has been documented, she said, calling it an “absolute disgrace.”
The law is intended to “make sure fewer Democrats come out to vote,” Schwartz said. “How outrageous and un-American is that? We cannot afford four more years of Tom Corbett.”
Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz said: “Gov. Corbett, I'd like to send you packing, too.”
Wolf talked about his life's experience and how he's an “unconventional” candidate. He reiterated his support for a severance tax on drilling and a need to end the “war on women.”
Corbett campaign manager Mike Barley said in a statement that the candidates did little more than “agree with the same out-of-touch policies that resulted in a $4.2 billion deficit and high unemployment.”
“While they continue to compete for the praise of liberal special-interest groups, Gov. Corbett will continue working on behalf of all Pennsylvanians to keep taxes low and put people back to work.”
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.