Capitolwire: Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls make year-end, fund-raising push.


By Kevin Zwick
Staff Reporter

HARRISBURG (Dec. 30) – Urgent! The [name] campaign needs you to donate XX number of dollars within XX number of hours to keep us on track to beat Gov. Tom Corbett!!

It’s the gist of a slew of emails cluttering inboxes in the run-up to the end of the year fund-raising push by Democrats hoping to knock Corbett out of office. The official deadline with the Department of State to file campaign finance reports isn’t until Jan. 31, but the quarterly “urgent” deadlines created by campaigns help them stick to their fund-raising goals.

Each campaign takes different routes to reach those quarterly goals.

For instance, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz’s campaign and Emily’s List, a national organization which works to elect liberal female candidates, are emailing her supporters hoping to raise $80,000 before the new year. If the campaign raises $40,000, the organization will match it, they said.

State Treasurer Rob McCord’s campaign fund-raising email includes a two-minute video highlighting his upbringing, while the email asks for between $5 to $25 and says “above all, he’s a genuine, down to earth guy.” Another email from McCord’s campaign says a contributor will match $25 contributions in the run up to the New Year’s Eve deadline.

Katie McGinty, a former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection secretary, has sent out a few fund-raising pleas before the Christmas holiday and plans several more in short time before the end of the year, her campaign manager said.

Tom Wolf, a millionaire businessman and former state revenue secretary from York, has touted his campaign’s raising of about $2.9 million on top of the $10 million from his personal wealth he pledged to spend on the primary election. The other campaigns won’t disclose how much they’ve raised. His supporters received a Christmas email card with a picture of Wolf, his wife and two daughters. His campaign has also recently sent out fund-raising emails asking for $5 donations touting the latest Quinnipiac University poll that showed Wolf and other Democratic contenders beating Corbett.

John Hanger, another former state DEP secretary and utility commissioner, said the major campaigns are displaying an “obsessive focus” on fund-raising and has called for a $3 million to $5 million cap on primary campaign spending. He says he’s trying to save Wolf $10 million and McCord and Schwartz from having to spend money that should be saved for the general election.

There would be “blowback of a $30 million orgy of special interest spending” from the Democratic electorate. Hanger said his campaign finance report will contain some surprises, but wouldn’t elaborate.

“Stay tuned,” he said. “We have a powerful message that’s resonating.”

Even Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who has said she won’t join the large field of Democrats running for the governorship, is emailing supporters for contributions. She notes criticisms from political enemies and the threat of impeachment waged by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, in an email to supporters asking them to “stand with me and continue to support my efforts to be your independent voice in Harrisburg.” Kane isn’t up for re-election until 2016, but the swirling speculation from the recent Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York City was she’s considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2016 to challenge freshman Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

The Jan. 31 deadline will reveal campaign expenditures and the names of contributors. The primary election day is May 20.

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