Bill Clinton’s in Pittsburgh today. Obama’s coming to Philly over the weekend. Michael Bloomberg’s writing big checks. And the Republicans are telling you Tom Wolf even scares zombies. Folks, we got ourselves an election.
As we enter the last week of Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election, both sides are running like they can win, and maybe they can. There’s no poll that’s showed Corbett with a lead, but a Republican polling firm 10 days ago declared him to be within seven points of Wolf, the Democrat.
Both Franklin & Marshall and Muhlenberg College come out with new surveys this week. If either shows Corbett within single digits, it will boost the spirits of Corbett partisans, who are convinced Republicans will turn up in greater concentrations than the samples in most polls suggest.
Either way, nobody is slowing down. The Democrats have Bill Clinton in Pittsburgh today, Obama here Sunday, and Wolf on a bus tour of the whole damn state. Corbett is holding rallies among his faithful in several western Pennsylvania counties.
This is all about turnout of course, which will be the focus for the closing stretch. But candidates continue to run TV ads and pound well-established messages. Wolf: It’s time for a change. Corbett: Wolf will raise your taxes through the roof.
Corbett’s latest TV ad is a Halloween send-up (above) which says Wolf even scares zombies. It repeats claims FactCheck.org savaged in a recent review. Wolf has an ad touting the FactCheck rebuttal.
Money and endorsements
This is the time of year when newspapers start to endorse candidates. Corbett got the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, no surprise given its conservative ownership. Wolf got the Harrisburg Patriot/Penn Live nod, which is prestigious because it’s the state capital’s daily.
The strange one is the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, which are owned by the same company and are not endorsing in the race. Owner and publisher H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest wrote in yesterday’s Inquirer that he’s decided the papers shouldn’t endorse a candidate, and has instead asked the editorial boards to “provide a summary of where the candidates stand on the critical issues facing the state, as well as the positions each paper has taken on those issues, and then let the voters decide who they think is most qualified.”
Missing from Lenfest’s piece: The fact that he gave Corbett a $250,000 campaign contribution. Bad show.
Speaking of money, campaign finance reports filed Friday show both Corbett and Wolf are well-funded — both have than $3 million on hand for the final push. Marc Levy of the Associated Press noted that the reports show a record $73 million spent by all candidates on the race so far.
The reports show that Wolf did not give himself another big hunk of dough. Two cousins came up with $50,000 apiece, and public employee unions weighed in heavily. Also, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave Wolf’s campaign a $100,000 contribution.
Corbett’s biggest donor was investor and philanthropist John Middleton, who contributed $250,000.
If you’re a political junkie or just want to know more about the coming election, consider coming to WHYY studios on Wednesday evening at 6:30 to a discussion among our National Interest blogger Dick Polman, reporter Holly Otterbein, Chris Satullo and me about next Tuesday’s election. We’ll play some ads and talk about the national picture, races in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and (just a bit) about the coming Philadelphia mayor’s race.
There’s a catch: To get in for free you need to be a WHYY member (which, honestly you should be if you listen). The charge for non-members is $25. Details here.