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ICYMI: York Daily Record: Scott Wagner called ‘unhinged’ and violent by both Democrats and Republicans

Trailing in every independent poll and unknown by 20 percent of Pennsylvania voters, Scott Wagner could use some national attention. But not this kind.

* In April, Wagner’s Republican primary challenger, Paul Mango, said, “Mr. Wagner does have a long violent, insulting, bullying past and it is not just one incident.” On Monday, Wolf’s re-election campaign said Wagner is “unhinged” and released a YouTube compilation of Wagner using threatening language.

* National news outlets ran his video in segments of politicians behaving badly, and Wagner was featured on TV talk shows all weekend – long after the apology.

* As the York Daily Record reported previously, Wagner made controversial statements long before Friday. His candidacy as a write-in Senate Republican and Republican candidate for governor have been riddled with moments he’s had to explain, apologize for or defend.


Trailing in every independent poll and unknown by 20 percent of Pennsylvania voters, Scott Wagner could use some national attention.

But not this kind.

The Republican candidate is making national headlines in the Pennsylvania governor’s race for all the wrong reasons, analysts say.

The proof is in the numbers. Gov. Tom Wolf, the Democratic incumbent, has held onto a double-digit lead throughout the campaign. None of Wagner’s tough talk has moved independent voters to his side, which is something he will need to do if he wants to win Pennsylvania.

Though Wagner spokesman Andrew Romeo has said the candidate’s words shouldn’t be taken literally, his opponents in both major political parties have called him “violent.”

In April, Wagner’s Republican primary challenger, Paul Mango, said, “Mr. Wagner does have a long violent, insulting, bullying past and it is not just one incident.”

On Monday, Wolf’s re-election campaign said Wagner is “unhinged” and released a YouTube compilation of Wagner using threatening language.

“What’s clear to everybody is that Scott Wagner should not be Pennsylvania’s next governor,” the video says at the end.

But it’s not campaign ads that are doing the most harm to Wagner in this race. It’s his own words that are bringing negative, national attention.

In a Facebook Live video Friday, Wagner stood beneath a billboard ad along Interstate 83 and gave Wolf a warning shared and seen by about 100,000 viewers before it was removed.

“Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and November 6th, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m gonna stomp all over your face with golf spikes because I’m gonna win this for the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re throwing you out of office because you know what, I’m sick and tired of your negative ads,” Wagner said.

After mounting pressure, Wagner took down that video and issued a new video apology: “I may have chosen a poor metaphor. I may have had poor choice of words. I shouldn’t have said what I said.”

But it was too late. By that point, Wagner’s name and words were trending national news, and these were popular Google search phrases: “Wagner golf spikes” and “Wagner threatens.”

National news outlets ran his video in segments of politicians behaving badly, and Wagner was featured on TV talk shows all weekend – long after the apology.

On CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time Friday night, host Chris Cuomo showed a clip of Wagner threatening to stomp on Wolf’s face with golf spikes in a segment called “Race to the Bottom.” The segment featured harsh language from Democrats and Republicans across the country, and Wagner’s words were the closing salvo.

“This is not who we are, not at our best,” Cuomo said of the Wagner video. “This guy belongs in a bar, being told, ‘You’ve had enough,’ not getting your vote.”

The New York Times said this about Wagner’s threat of using golf spikes: “That violent imagery was perhaps the most jarring of several verbal bombs thrown by Mr. Wagner in a video posted to Facebook Friday, as the country approaches the homestretch of a tense campaign season.”

A Fox News headline said, “Pa. gubernatorial candidate says he’ll ‘stomp’ Gov. Wolf’s face, then walks back remarks.”

Also, a prominent U.S. Republican, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, said on Twitter, “These comments are totally unacceptable. As I’ve said many times before, there is absolutely no place in our politics for this kind of rhetoric.”

“When you are down double digits, you need to do virtually anything possible to shake up the election,” said Terry Madonna, a veteran pollster and political analyst at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

Social media is a quick way to reach a lot of people and “shake up drama,” he said.

“It certainly captured attention,” Madonna said. “The question is whether it helps you or not.”

The Wolf campaign is working to make sure it doesn’t help Wagner.

“Scott Wagner’s despicable rant last week is part of his unfortunate pattern of violence and aggression,” said Beth Melena, communications director for the Wolf campaign, in a statement accompanying a new campaign video about the Republican challenger.  “Wagner once boasted about carrying around latex gloves because things were going to get bloody with him in Harrisburg, he graphically detailed to a news anchor what it would look like if he choked him, and he physically assaulted an activist. Scott Wagner is unhinged and unfit to be governor.”

As the York Daily Record reported previously, Wagner made controversial statements long before Friday. His candidacy as a write-in Senate Republican and Republican candidate for governor have been riddled with moments he’s had to explain, apologize for or defend.

Throughout it all, polls show he hasn’t picked up new voters or lost any supporters.

Here’s a more complete look at some of his past comments:

  • In 2014, Wagner said labor unions were about “power and control”’ and compared them to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin. (He later said he used an unfortunate analogy.)

  • Later, in 2017, Wagner grabbed a camera away from a political tracker at the Country Club of York. “You’re about to see your senator in action,” he said.

  • Wagner said climate change was being caused by body heat and the Earth moving closer to the sun. (It’s not.)

  • He later called a woman “young and naïve” for asking about his statements on climate change.

  • In response to Wolf vetoing legislation related to the opioid crisis and workers comp, and accepting money from a political action committee that receives money from doctors and lawyers who own pharmacies, Wagner told a radio host, “This guy should be arrested.”

  • Wagner described the liberal billionaire and Democratic supporter George Soros as a “Hungarian Jew.”  (“If he was Catholic, he would have been ‘a Hungarian Catholic.’ There was nothing offensive meant by that,” Wagner said.)

Read the full piece here.

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DIGITAL AD LAUNCH: Wolf Campaign Launches New Video Highlighting Unhinged Scott Wagner’s Violent History

On the heels of Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner’s viral video in which he threatened Governor Wolf with physical violence, the Wolf campaign is launching a new digital ad to highlight Wagner’s history of aggression.

Pennsylvania – On the heels of Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner’s viral video in which he threatened Governor Wolf with physical violence, the Wolf campaign is launching a new digital ad to highlight Wagner’s history of aggression.

“Scott Wagner’s despicable rant last week is part of his unfortunate pattern of violence and aggression,” said Beth Melena, communications director for the Wolf campaign. “Wagner once boasted about carrying around latex gloves because things were going to get bloody with him in Harrisburg, he graphically detailed to a news anchor what it would look like if he choked him, and he physically assaulted an activist. Scott Wagner is unhinged and unfit to be governor.”

WATCH: https://youtu.be/cLyCs2CKQmI

BACKGROUND:

Wagner Threatened To Stomp On Governor Wolf’s Face With Golf Spikes. “Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor had some advice Friday for his Democratic opponent: Put on a catcher’s mask because ‘I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.’” [Associated Press, 10/12/18]

VIDEO: Wagner, Putting On Latex Gloves: With Me In Leadership, The Next Six Months “Are Gonna Get A Little Bloody,” But “I Carry Gloves Just In Case.” In August 2014, Wagner made a speech to the York 912 Patriots group. As he pulled on latex gloves, he said, “I would say that the next six months in Harrisburg, with me up there in leadership, are gonna get a little bloody. So, you know what, I’m not getting blood on my hands. Just so you know, I carry gloves just in case.” [York 912 Patriots Meeting, 8/21/14]

VIDEO: Wagner Described In Detail To The Host Of A Television Show What Would Happen If He Choked Him. Wagner said on Behind the Headlines, “Now Charlie, I asked you earlier before the show, and I didn’t want to startle you, but I asked you a question. If I would take my hands and I were to wrap them around your neck and start choking you, what would happen? We discussed briefly that you would turn the color of your shirt and then within another minute you’d turn darker like your sport coat. And then you would eventually just hit the ground. Well, we’re being choked in business. And this isn’t just Penn Waste. This is, you know, construction companies, beer distributors, trucking companies, you know a cat dealer.” [Behind the Headlines, 9/19/11]

HEADLINE: Angry Sen. Wagner Takes Man’s Camera In York During Speech. “In an otherwise uneventful gathering at the Country Club of York Tuesday, state senator and gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner spotted an opposition “tracker” – a person who follows politicians to different venues and records them — filming him from the back of the room. Breaking off his speech to the York County Estate Planning Council, Wagner approached the man and, over the cameraman’s protests, took his camera.” [York Daily Record, 5/03/17]


CONTACT: Beth Melena, beth@wolfforpa.com

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ICYMI: Daily Local News: Wolf, Casey stump for Dan Williams in Coatesville

With about three weeks left until the midterm elections, Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, both incumbent Democrats seeking re-election this year, spoke at a rally at the New Life in Christ Fellowship church and urged voters to cast ballots for Dan Williams, a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 74th Legislative District, and to support Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.

* With about three weeks left until the midterm elections, Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, both incumbent Democrats seeking re-election this year, spoke at a rally at the New Life in Christ Fellowship church and urged voters to cast ballots for Dan Williams, a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 74th Legislative District, and to support Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.

* Wolf said that Harrisburg was broken when he first took office nearly four years ago, but he accomplished goals including expanding Medicaid, funding public education, balancing the state budget, and fighting the opioid crisis. He said Pennsylvania is now doing a lot better than four years ago, but there is still more work to be done.

* [Williams] said seniors shouldn’t have to worry about being driving out of their homes due to high school property taxes and rising health care costs. He said it’s important to vote for Wolf, Casey, Houlahan and Muth so they can fight for reforms to allow seniors and retirees to live in peace.


ICYMI: Daily Local News: Wolf, Casey stump for Dan Williams in Coatesville

COATESVILLE – With about three weeks left until the midterm elections, Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, both incumbent Democrats seeking re-election this year, spoke at a rally at the New Life in Christ Fellowship church and urged voters to cast ballots for Dan Williams, a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 74th Legislative District, and to support Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.

Wolf said to the gathered crowd of more than 100 people that he was honored to be there to support Williams, and it’s important to elect him to help make change in Harrisburg. Williams, who’s the senior pastor at the church, is running against Republican candidate Amber Little-Turner for the seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Harry Lewis Jr., who decided not to seek re-election.

Wolf said that Harrisburg was broken when he first took office nearly four years ago, but he accomplished goals including expanding Medicaid, funding public education, balancing the state budget, and fighting the opioid crisis. He said Pennsylvania is now doing a lot better than four years ago, but there is still more work to be done.

He said this year’s elections may be the most important in his lifetime, and he encouraged voters to elect candidates like Williams to help keep Pennsylvania moving forward.

“If we make the right choice, we can do great things together,” he said.

Wolf also voiced support for Democratic candidates Katie Muth, a health care provider and professor challenging Republican state Sen. John Rafferty in the 44th Senatorial District, and Chrissy Houlahan, an educator, businesswoman and Air Force veteran running against Republican tax attorney Greg McCauley for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District seat, which is open as Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello is not seeking re-election.

Wolf, who is seeking his second four-year term as governor, is being challenged by Republican Scott Wagner, a former state senator, as well as Libertarian Ken Krawchuk and Green Party candidate Paul Glover.

Casey said protecting people’s access to health care, especially for those with pre-existing conditions, is one of the defining issues in his race for re-election and this year’s midterm elections in general.

Casey quoted the lyrics “We are called to act with justice,” from the hymn “We are called,” to explain how more people are now getting involved in the political process.

He said the hard right and corporate special interests have gained an unprecedented amount of power in the federal government, and they’re obsessed with giving rich people money and taking away people’s health care, but it’s up to voters and candidates to protect basic principles of justice in this country as justice is currently under assault.

Casey said average people like Williams and Houlahan have been called to run for office in a difficult time, and community members have been called to support them in their efforts to work for justice.

He mentioned a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice.”

“We have a lot of drum majors for justice in the assemblage here tonight,” Casey said. “We’re gonna work and we’re gonna win.”

Casey, who is seeking his third six-year term in the Senate, is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta as well as Libertarian Dale Kerns Jr. and Green Party candidate Neal Gale.

Williams spoke about his background and said he’s not just a pastor, but also a professor, a parent and a taxpayer. He said it’s important for people of faith to get involved in the political process, and he wants to work to get things done, instead of just complaining from the sidelines.

Williams said it’s important to protect the rights of people who may be forgotten sometimes, such as the poor and senior citizens.

“Often people in power forget that the people who get lost in the debate about the poor are still people,” he said. “Part of what we want to do is move in a direction that doesn’t just lift some, but lifts every single one of us so that we can become contributors to this country, to this community, to this district.”

Williams said the term “working poor” is an oxymoron that should not be present, and there’s something wrong when one person is working three jobs and still struggling to survive.

He said seniors shouldn’t have to worry about being driving out of their homes due to high school property taxes and rising health care costs. He said it’s important to vote for Wolf, Casey, Houlahan and Muth so they can fight for reforms to allow seniors and retirees to live in peace.

Williams said the “war on drugs” has come to be known as the “opioid crisis” as the demographics of drug victims have changed. “We don’t need incarceration, we need treatment,” he said.

State Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, said he’s known Williams since the time he was a student in Dinniman’s African-American history class at West Chester University. Dinniman said Williams would question and challenge him, which made him a better professor and they both learned together because of it.

Dinniman said Williams has frequently stood with him on issues affecting the Coatesville community, such as advocating for economic development that benefits everyone and questioning the Coatesville Area School District on parts of its curriculum, as well as urging an end to using the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement.

Dinniman said Williams will be a great state representative, and in that role he’ll also serve as a teacher for the community.

The midterm elections will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.

 

Read the full piece here.

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Governor Wolf Talks Education Funding, School Safety with Pennsylvania’s Students

This week, Governor Wolf answered hard hitting questions from fourth, fifth and sixth graders about education funding and school safety, among other issues, at the The Rendell Center’s Gubernatorial Forum – Capturing the Voice of the Student.

This week, Governor Wolf answered hard hitting questions from fourth, fifth and sixth graders about education funding and school safety, among other issues, at the The Rendell Center’s Gubernatorial Forum – Capturing the Voice of the Student.

Students from Philadelphia’s E.M. Stanton Elementary, Anne Frank Elementary, and Pollock Elementary, Lower Merion’s Cynwyd Elementary, and Pittsburgh’s Fox Chapel School District asked the governor questions that they had written about important issues affecting their lives. Governor Wolf emphasized that he has fully restored Harrisburg Republicans’ $1 billion cut to education, created a School Safety Task Force and secured $60 million for funding school safety initiatives, launched his PASmart initiative to ensure that students are trained for the 21st century workforce, and reduced testing time.

The issue of school safety came up repeatedly during the forum. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Wolf said he would continue to listen to teachers, to implement the suggestions he heard from them in forums around the state held on school safety, and to offer grants for schools to improve safety.

“The state needs to invest enough money into education, and it needs to do so fairly, so that every student, no matter what ZIP code that student is in, gets a good education,” said Governor Wolf, when asked about how he will ensure that school funding is distributed fairly. Governor Wolf has also implemented a fair funding formula to take the politics out of education funding once and for all.

While Governor Wolf enjoyed engaging with the students and finding out what matters most to them, the students got a kick out of meeting the governor. According to WHYY, one Anne Frank Elementary School student remarked after the forum, “When Tom Wolf was answering the questions it was really cool. And when he shook our hand, it was really cool, too.”