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Unexpected PA Gov Candidate Leaps Ahead in Latest Poll

Tom Wolf PA Gov Candidate

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The Pennsylvania Governor’s race took a turn this week when York businessman Tom Wolf became the frontrunner, in terms of polling at least, for the Democratic nomination.  A successful advertising buy in the Philadelphia region helped Wolf paint himself as the man who saved his family’s company to ensure the workers in his hometown would remain employed during the recession.  This has resonated with working Pennsylvanians, a key demographic in a traditionally blue collar state.  

What is most impressive for Wolf is that he has gained support from workers despite splintered union support of other candidates.  

The Quinnipiac poll shows 40 percent of respondents choosing him among Democrats.  When pitted against Corbett, 52 percent of respondents chose Wolf compared to Corbett’s 33 percent.

Wolf’s ethics are easy for worker representatives to enjoy. This month, the employees of Wolf’s kitchen cabinet company will enjoy the benefits of a $1.2 million surplus the company is running, meaning 240 employees will each take home roughly $5,000 in profit sharing.  

Still, the long play may require Wolf to make more inroads with unions, though he has earned the endorsement of the state’s largest union, AFSCME. When the primary hits full swing, candidates Rep. Allyson Schwartz and State Treasurer Rob McCord will have their own boots on the ground mobilizing union constituencies.  In a written statement, McCord’s campaign called the early polling numbers “artificial”:

With only one candidate blanketing the airwaves so far, it’s unsurprising to see an early, artificial lead,” Mark Nevins, a spokesman for McCord’s campaign, said in a written statement. “Ultimately, though, our key endorsement from the Pennsylvania teachers and the overwhelming support we’ve received from unions, community leaders, and progressive Democrats across the state will give us a significant advantage.”

McCord is expected to get a bump from his teachers’ endorsement since the latest round of polling also showed education as the chief concern of the state’s Democratic voters.  

Wolf’s sudden surge doesn’t worry the unions who support Schwartz and McCord, though, as they view him as a viable, supportable option as well. “The labor movement is about helping working people,” Wolf told the Tribune-Democrat, “I’ve walked the walk.”


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