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Tom Wolf, businessman making first run for elected office, wins Pa.'s Democratic primary

Conservative Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to be challenged by Tom Wolf, a businessman who cruised to victory in the Democratic primary in spite of attack ads.
By Frances Burns   |   May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM   |   Comments

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HARRISBURG, Pa., May 21 (UPI) -- Tom Wolf, a Pennsylvania businessman who spent $10 million on his own campaign, won the Democratic gubernatorial primary easily.

Polls show Pennsylvanians unhappy with Gov. Tom Corbett, the Republican seeking a second term. Wolf's big margin in Tuesday's primary suggest that attacks by his Democratic opponents -- as well as by Corbett, who had no primary challenger -- have had little effect so far.

Wolf, a native of York, Pa., has spent much of his adult life working for the Wolf Organization Inc., a family kitchen-cabinet business. He spent two years in the Peace Corps in India as a young man, and served as the state's secretary of revenue under the last Democratic governor, Ed Rendell.

Attack ads linked Wolf to Charlie Robertson, a former York mayor who was acquitted of murder in 2002 for allegedly inciting white rioters as a police officer in 1969, and suggested Wolf was lying about his operation of the family company. Wolf countered with commercials featuring Mayor Kim Bracey, the first black woman to head the city, and Wolf Management employees.

After the primary results were clear, Wolf spoke to supporters at a victory rally in a minor-league ballpark in York.

"This can't be a place that does good things for you if you have the right connections, if you live in the right place, if you look the right way," he said. "This has to be a place that is fair for everybody. ... If that's the kind of Pennsylvania you want, join me in this campaign."

Corbett appears to be one of the most vulnerable Republican governors with a February poll by Quinnipiac University showing him trailing Wolf by 19 points and other Democratic candidates by smaller margins.

During his four years in office, Corbett pushed a controversial voter ID bill, only to announce recently that the state will not continue the legal battle over the law. On Tuesday, a federal judge overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

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