Tom Wolf, then a virtual unknown, used his personal fortune to launch a statewide ad campaign in late January, seven weeks before any of the other candidates started airing TV commercials.
In the ads Wolf defined himself as a caring, honest, warm and friendly businessman who shared his profits with his employees, and whose life and experiences have prepared him to be a terrific governor of Pennsylvania. His ads were extremely effective, and made Wolf the early front runner with a sizable lead over his better-known opponents.
Allyson Schwartz and Rob McCord have gone negative trying to bring him down a peg or two, only hurting themselves. Meanwhile, viewership of the televised debates has been extremely low, reminding us again of the power of advertising.
It may be that Tom Wolf has painted a realistic picture of himself in his ads. Perhaps he would be a great governor. But what does it say about our democracy when a competition to pick a nominee for the highest office in the state of Pennsylvania becomes a popularity contest won by the candidate with the most effective propaganda?