Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett doesn’t know who he’ll face in the general election.
Still, the sitting Governor is targeting one of the Democrats running for his job.
The Corbett campaign ad attacks Democrat Tom Wolf, a York County businessman for his tenure as revenue commissioner under former Gov. Ed Rendell.
“Tom Wolf’s record on jobs is a car wreck,” the announcer in the ad said. “While Wolf served in Harrisburg as the state’s top tax collector, our taxes went through the roof.”
So why is the governor going after Wolf so early?
“It’s a sure sign that Governor Tom Corbett is now viewing Tom Wolf as the number one challenger to him this fall,” said Chris Borick, director of Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.
Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball — a non-partisan political newsletter — at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. He said it’s possible that Corbett’s firing an early jab at the man he expects to run against in the fall. But he has another theory.
“Maybe Corbett sees is that Tom Wolf is leading in the primary, and perhaps he would prefer to face a different candidate like Rob McCord, Katie McGinty or Allyson Schwartz — and so he’s maybe trying to push down Wolf a little bit,” Kondik said.
Now that a challenger was kicked off the ballot, Corbett is running unopposed in the Republican primary. And Kondik said increasingly, political candidates in this situation are stepping in to try to influence the outcome of the other party’s primary.
Kondik cited Democrat Claire McCaskill’s attempt to influence a Missouri primary so she would face Republican Todd Akin. In that case, Kondik said things worked out well for McCaskill because she ended up winning re-election in a tough state.
A new statewide poll shows Wolf with a very strong lead in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
His opponents include U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, State Treasurer Rob McCord and former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty.