Corbett, Wolf to meet in first debate

     Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, left, and Democrat Tom Wolf shake hands at the end of a gubernatorial debate hosted by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry Sept. 22 in Hershey. The tow will meet again Wednesday for the second of three planned debates.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, left, and Democrat Tom Wolf shake hands at the end of a gubernatorial debate hosted by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry Sept. 22 in Hershey. The tow will meet again Wednesday for the second of three planned debates.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    After a summer of increasingly acerbic television ads, Gov. Tom Corbett and his Democratic challenger Tom Wolf will face off in their first debate of the gubernatorial campaign Monday in Hershey.

    Longstanding polls show Wolf with a wide lead, and the York County businessman said he’s treating the debate as an extension of the campaign trail.

    “It’s one more chance to talk about the things that I think are important for Pennsylvania,” said Wolf during a campaign stop in Chester Thursday.

    Corbett has considerably more at stake. The Republican incumbent has been under fire primarily for not putting enough into education budgets at a time when schools are facing higher pension costs, certain urban schools are paying out more to charter schools, and federal stimulus funding isn’t around to fill in deficits.

    Wolf has said he would hike education spending by taxing natural gas drillers and levying an income tax that targets the wealthy.

    Corbett campaign spokesman Billy Pitman said the debate is a chance to insist on more details.

    “Tom Wolf has been very vague about not just his personal income tax plans but really all his plans for Pennsylvania’s future,” said Pitman. “I think he’s essentially trying to skate by with very little details.”

    Pitman said the governor will continue to stress the need for public pension overhaul, an initiative that has been the subject of much debate in the state Legislature but has failed to capture the attention of voters.

    An Associated Press analysis of the two candidates’ campaign finances found that they had raised $31 million as of early June. Updated campaign finance reports are due Tuesday.

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