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Attacks begin in governor's race day after primary election

| Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 12:27 p.m.
Gov. Tom Wolf (left) and Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner
Gov. Tom Wolf (left) and Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner

Democrats and Republicans across Pennsylvania wasted no time after Tuesday's primary elections in going on the offensive in the race for governor.

Gov. Tom Wolf's campaign sent out emails before 9 a.m. Wednesday calling Republican nominee Scott Wagner “the very worst of Harrisburg” and “unhinged from the reality of everyday Pennsylvanians,” and criticized him for accepting campaign donations from oil and gas companies. The campaign has launched a website focused on Wagner.

Wagner, a state senator from York County, defeated Republican rivals Paul Mango and Laura Ellsworth on Tuesday. Wolf had no primary challengers.

Wagner spokesman Andrew Romeo fired back, criticizing Wolf for accepting campaign donations from unions, trade groups and the National Democratic Redistricting PAC.

“If Tom Wolf wants to talk about which candidate in this race serves the special interests, he should look in the mirror,” Romeo said in a statement.

Republican State Party Chairman Val DiGiorgio issued a statement criticizing Wolf for going negative on the first day of the campaign.

“This is a clear indication that Gov. Wolf has no record of his own on which to run and is worried about Scott's unconventional style and his anti-establishment, pro-taxpayer message,” DiGiorgio said in the statement.

The Republican Governors Association launched its own site Wednesday morning attacking Wolf for supporting tax hikes and presiding over a “lagging economy.”

Money in the race makes it likely that attacks will continue until November's general election.

Wagner, who has made millions in the waste-hauling industry, spent more than $12 million on his primary campaign, including ads attacking Mango. Wolf's campaign had more than $14 million on hand at the end of April.

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

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