Tom Wolf, the free-spending Democratic candidate for governor, got a broad and early show of Western Pennsylvania support Saturday, as an array of the region's elected and party officials joined to endorse him.
At an afternoon press conference in the courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse, members of the local Democratic hierarchy lauded his business record and described him as the party's best bet to oust Gov. Tom Corbett. While there is debate on how much such endorsements do to influence rank and file voters, the event was an undeniable coup for the former state revenue secretary, giving him a show of institutional backing alongside the soaring poll numbers produced by his early advertising campaign.
The news conference was orchestrated by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who introduced the Wolf allies including U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, state Sens. Jim Ferlo, Wayne Fontana, Matt Smith, Jim Brewster; state Reps., Jake Wheatley, Ed Gainey, and Bill Kortz; Nancy Mills, the Allegheny County Democratic chair, and a lengthy list of local party officers.
"What you see behind me is the leadership of Western Pennsylvania ... [joined] to back a man who shares Western Pennsylvania values,'' Mr. Doyle said. Pointing to Mr. Wolf's business background, he said, "His life experiences are tailor made for Western Pennsylvania.''