With a little more than two months to go before the May 20 primary, the campaign for governor is heading to a new, likely more competitive phase.
Treasurer Rob McCord is about to air his first commercials, challenging the command of the airwaves maintained for the last month by York County businessman Tom Wolf. Katie McGinty was actually the first Democrat to go on television, with a token buy bookending President Obama's State of the Union message, and she has two commercials in rotation now, but the heavy volume of the Wolf commercials has been the dominant tactical story of the Democratic primary so far.
The McCord ads, first noted by PoliticsPa, are one minute each and combine the candidate's biography with attacks on Gov. Tom Corbett. Both highlight the fact that the treasurer was raised by a single mother, and went on to study at Harvard University. One of the commercials boasts that he went on from there to work as an investor creating, by his count, jobs for as many as 2,000 Pennsylvanians.
One of the spots faults the governor's embrace of natural gas drilling, accusing him of being "a wholly owned subsidiary'' of the industry. Mr. McCord touts his plan to seek a severance tax on the Marcellus wells to help finance education. The 10 percent rate he calls for is the highest among the Democratic contenders. Most of his rivals have proposed a rate of 5 percent for the new levy they all agree is needed.
At another point Mr. McCord notes that as treasurer, he fought the Corbett administration's failed initiative to privatize the operatiions of the state lottery. The McCord ad contends that that shift would have jeopardized lottery funded aid to seniors. The administration argued at the time the proposal was still being debated that a private operator would have increased revenue for senior program.
Asked to comment on the criticism, Billy Pitman, Mr. Corbett's campaign spokesman, responded with a generic assault on the governor's challengers, dismissing them as "tax-and-spend liberal Democrats'' who "want to take more of Pennsylvanians' hard-earned money because they believe they know how to spend it better than the taxpayers do.''
Here's a look at the two spots: