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Wolf defends at Philly debate

Published by Karen Langley on .

Today in Philly:

PHILADELPHIA -- Riding high in the polls, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf defended his record from criticisms by primary rivals at a TV-studio debate here Thursday.

As they have before, state Treasurer Rob McCord maintained that questions remain about Mr. Wolf’s past association with a former York mayor once accused in a race riot, while U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz asserted Mr. Wolf has left unanswered questions about his family-founded kitchen supply business.

Armed with a much larger campaign chest than his opponents for the Democratic nomination to contest Gov. Tom Corbett, Mr. Wolf dominated the state’s airwaves early with advertisements introducing himself to voters.

He rose in the polls and stayed there, with the most recent public polling of Democratic voters showing him with far more support than Mr. McCord, Ms. Schwartz or former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty, who has stayed out of the fray in the attacks against Mr. Wolf. A survey made public last week had him 25 points ahead of Ms. Schwartz.

“The question I’m raising -- and I think it should be asked by the voters -- is really the story he’s been telling,” Ms. Schwartz said at the WPVI-TV studio Thursday. “The voters need to know who is he really? What does he really bring? What is true about his business?”

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Corbett won't appeal on voter ID

Published by James O'Toole on .

Kate Giammarise is all over the news that Gov. Tom Corbett will not appeal a Commonwealth Court ruling that roadblocked the state's controversial voter ID law. 

"Commonwealth Court judge had ruled in January that the law was unconstitutionalas it imposed an unreasonable burden on voters; the administration was expected to appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.

"Judge Bernard McGinley had said the law 'unreasonably burdens the right to vote' and threatened a fundamental right of hundreds of thousands of qualified voters.

"Even though the governor’s statement today indicated he would not pursue further legal appeals, it appeared to leave the door open for some type of legislation requiring photo ID for voting in the future.''

 

 

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Catching up with endorsements

Published by James O'Toole on .

The campaigns continue to highlght new supporters as the race for the Democratic nomination for governor hits the home stretch.

The Wolf campaign announced that Josh Shapiro, the chairman of the board of commissioners of Montgomery County, had endorsed the York County businessman.  The decision is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.  Montgomery County holds a huige store of voters and increasingly tilts in the Democratic direction.  It is also the home of Mr. Wolf's rivals, Rep. Allyson Schwartz and state Treasurer Rob McCord.

The McCord campaign, meanwhile, pointed to its backing from AFSCME  District Council 33, which represents approximately 13,000 active and retired public service workers in the city of Philadelphia and other eastern Pennsylvania communities.  Mr. McCord has received the more labor endorsemetns than any of other Democrats.  Institutional support like that could be crucial in a low turnout primary.

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McCord hits Wolf on pensions

Published by James O'Toole on .

Treasurer Rob McCord tries to link the pension philosophies of Tom Wolf and Tom Corbett in a new ad that points out that Mr. Wolf's firm terminated its defined benefit pension plan and replaced it with a defined contribution plan.  In his so far unsuccessful efforts to get the the Legislature to confront the state's unfunded pension liability, Mr. Corbett has suggested that new employees be enrolled in a 401K-style defined contribution
 plan. 

None of the Democratic candidates for governor has offered a full solution to the pension dilemma, but Mr. Wolf, like Mr. McCord, has said that the defined benefit model should continue to cover state employees. 

The Wolf campaign rebutted the ad, pointing out that the pension change took place when Mr. Wolf was not managing the company.  The ad also asserts that the state pension system lost $19 million in the firm.  The Wolf campaign questions the arithmetic behind the claim.  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the state stystem had invested $50 million in a buyout fund with an overall value of roughly $1 billion.  The fund, Weston Presidio V, in turn, invested $41 million to help finance a transaction that allowed Mr. Wolf and two cousins to reap $60 million from their interest in the firm in 2006.  The fund now values its interest in the Wolf organization at $22 million.   So, the Wolf campaign argues that it is wrong to assign all of the loss to the state pension system when it was part of a much larger portfolio of assets.  

Wolf has frequently made the related but separate point that the firm and Weston Presidio's investment in it was worth nothing when he returned to the firm's management and restored it to solvency.   

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Readenstahl, or is it Ravenshaw?

Published by James O'Toole on .

Great catch by Maria over at 2 Political Junkies.  She points out that Rep. Harry Readshaw and Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, who are defending their seats in adjoining legislative districts, sending out almost identical mailers with the same picture of a little girl engaged in her studies.  PoliticsPa notes that both candidates are represented by the same firm,  the campaign group 7 Points Consulting (formerly WS Group and Fleck Consulting).  Wonder if they got a group discount?  Mr. Ravenstahl is fending off a challenge by Tom Michalow, an Avalon school teacher.  Redistricting forced Mr. Readshaw into a faceoff with Rep. Erin Molchany

 

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