Tom Wolf '71 wins primary in Pennsylvania governor's race
Winning by a margin of 40 percent, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf ’71 emerged victorious from the Democratic primary elections last night. Wolf, 65, ran on a platform of revitalizing the state’s economy, developing modern infrastructure and fighting for strong public schools.

Wolf, who has never held an elected position, defeated three other contenders — state treasurer Rob McCord, former state secretary of environmental protection Katie McGinty and Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa. — in his bid for the Democratic nomination. He won with 58 percent of the vote, Schwartz received 18, McCord took 17 and McGinty got 8 percent. He will face incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa., in the Nov. 4 general election. Prior to yesterday’s results, several pundits, news sources and academics predicted Wolf’s victory, pointing to his business experience, strong educational background and largely non-political past as factors that would appeal to the Pennsylvanian electorate. Born in York, Pennsylvania, Wolf graduated from Dartmouth and pursued a master’s degree from the University of London and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent two years with the Peace Corps in India and then worked at his family’s business, WOLF, where he later became CEO and chairman. The company is the country’s largest kitchen cabinet provider. From April 2007 to November 2008, Wolf served as state secretary of revenue under former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell. According to Wolf’s campaign website, his mission is “fighting to rebuild the middle class and ensure fairness for all Pennsylvanians,” and he is running to give the state “a fresh start.” Wolf’s challengers have criticized him for a $4.45 million loan used to fund his campaign, as well as his proposed tax on natural gas drilling extraction, which McCord believes is too low. Although the gubernatorial hopeful entered the race with low name recognition, a recent poll from the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College indicated that 93 percent of Pennsylvania Democrats have seen a Wolf commercial. The poll surveyed 530 registered Democrats in early May and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. In addition to receiving campaign contributions, Wolf funded his primary race with $10 million of his own money. Government professor Joseph Bafumi reiterated that Wolf’s business background resonates with voters. Citing his “ground-level understanding of the state’s tax code” and “package of skills, experience and temperament,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsed Wolf on May 10. The Philadelphia Daily News penned a similar statement on May 16. Several state senators, representatives and local elected officials also endorsed Wolf. Turnout was low on Tuesday, with poll workers reporting few voters in line. Around one million were expected to vote, or 25 percent of the state’s registered Democrats. As of press time, around 840,000 votes had been tallied, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Government professor Linda Fowler wrote in an email that all non-presidential election years see lower turnout, although there is significant variation across states. Bafumi echoed Fowler’s statement, noting that off-year elections receive less attention, especially primaries. “Generally speaking, when you don’t have a presidential election, there’s less salient information out there so people are less inclined to be actively motivated and vote,” he said. Since 1995, three Republicans and one Democrat have held the Pennsylvania governorship, with the latter serving for eight years. Corbett has held office since January 2011. Although Pennsylvania is politically divided between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, which tend to support Democrats, and the more Republican rural parts of the state, Bafumi said the state is “trending more Democratic, as with the rest of the Northeast.” While Bafumi said Wolf is running in “what looks like a pretty Republican year,” he added that Corbett does not appear to be a strong incumbent. Corbett is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Republican governors up for reelection. Representatives from Wolf's campaign could not be reached for comment by press time.
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