Wealthy Pa. gubernatorial candidates take significant fundraising lead

Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. (WITF)

Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. (WITF)

Pennsylvania’s 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls have filed their fundraising and spending reports for last year.

This year’s race includes three contenders with the ability to put millions of their own toward their campaigns — a factor that’s caused large discrepancies in candidates’ spending abilities. Four Republicans are vying to unseat the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Tom Wolf.

York County state Sen. Scott Wagner announced he would attempt to unseat Wolf at the very beginning of 2017 — long before any other candidate.

That gave him an early fundraising start; he went into last year with $4.3 million.

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Wagner more than doubled that over the next 12 months, thanks to donations and loans to himself, along with contributions from wealthy supporters — several from the building and real estate industries.

He ended the year with $5.9 million in the bank.

Paul Mango, a retired health systems consultant from the Pittsburgh suburbs, fared similarly.

He raised more than $8 million last year, including a $6.7 million loan from himself. He ended the year with some $5.5 million.

House Speaker Mike Turzai, also of the Pittsburgh suburbs, raised $1.3 million total, and spent more than $320,000. He’s leaning on some longtime political allies, including the natural gas industry.

Pittsburgh lawyer Laura Ellsworth took in close to $500,000 —much of it from contributors tied to her law firm. She spent $81,388.

On the other side of the aisle, Wolf’s campaign says it ended last year with $11 million.

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