Jabs at Wolf by Pa. rivals negative but deft campaigning, analyst says

    With just a month to go before Pennsylvania’s May 20 primary election, most of the Democratic candidates have turned their attention from Gov. Tom Corbett to each other.

    For months, Tom Wolf has been out in front of the other three Democratic candidates with an expansive TV ad campaign to raise his profile.


    But U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, the candidate placing second in voter surveys, is assiduously picking apart the image Wolf has tried to establish.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Most recently, her campaign has criticized Wolf for part of a policy document that was plagiarized, and questioned the way he’s financing his campaign.

    Call it going negative in the safest possible way.

    And it’s unlikely to result in a backlash against Schwartz, according to Christopher Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

    “They’re not these slash-and-burn tactics that you sometimes see in ads that come back to haunt individuals that put them out,” he said.

    Candidate and state Treasurer Rob McCord has also taken aim at Wolf for his proposal for a natural gas extraction tax.

    “It’s an effort through all these releases and charges to try and diminish [Wolf’s] standing as this independent business person who can lead the state,: Borick said. “And I think that’s what they’re trying to do – erode some of that image that Wolf himself has been trying to build up.”

    Katie McGinty, former state environmental protection secretary, has stayed out of the fray, but the most recent poll has also shown her to be trailing her three opponents.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal