The four Democrats seeking to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett’s bid for a second term are all exceptionally strong candidates.
Pennsylvania state treasurer Rob McCord; former secretary of Pennsylvania Katie McGinty; former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, and York businessman and former secretary of state Revenue Department Tom Wolf are a strong lineup with impressive backgrounds and records of public service.
There are few major policy differences between the four candidates. So the question comes down to, who is best-suited to challenge incumbent Corbett?
We believe Tom Wolf is the best candidate in the Democratic primary for governor. His combination of business experience, public service and detailed policy positions makes him the choice to lead Democrats in the challenge to unseat Corbett.
This endorsement comes after we questioned Wolf’s judgment in serving as the campaign chair of the re-election of former York mayor Charlie Robertson, who was charged with murder in 2001 for the death of a Black woman during the city’s 1969 race riots. Robertson, a police officer at the time of the riots, was acquitted in 2002.
We disagree with those who fault McCord for aggressively questioning Wolf on the issue. McCord was right to challenge Wolf on the issue. The only question is that by raising the issue so late in the campaign it appears to be an act of desperation from a candidate behind in the polls.
Until recently, Wolf’s answer to the question has been incomplete and inadequate.
Initially Wolf said he supported Robertson because he thought he performed a good job in two terms as mayor in moving York forward, including race relations.
Wolf said he had a professional relationship with Robertson that ended after he was instrumental in getting him to withdraw from the election.
The suggestion that Wolf will tolerate racism is countered by his work in improving race relations and development in York and his support by those who should know him best – African Americans in York including York’s African American mayor Kim Bracey, who strongly supports Wolf.
Schwartz has attempted to hold Wolf accountable for financial problems with his company after he sold it and before he purchased it back and resolved those problems.
But Schwartz later acknowledged that Wolf was not responsible for the company when its problems arose.
Wolf has spent millions in television commercials, and some have accused him of trying to buy the election. But Wolf is running against a congresswoman and a state treasurer who are much better known.
If Wolf did not have a compelling story to tell, the money would not have made much difference.
From former Peace Corps volunteer in India, to Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to heading the Wolf Organization, a multi-million dollar business that supplies kitchen cabinets, to secretary of the state’s Revenue Department, Wolf has a compelling life story.
Wolf has a record of problem-solving and accomplishment.
In business, Wolf returned to turn around a family business that struggled during the recession.
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell said Wolf’s stint as revenue secretary was impressive.
“He took the ball and ran with it,” Rendell told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rendell credited Wolf with increases in the collection rate and in revenue from the state lottery.
What is also impressive is Wolf’s detailed approach to the problems facing Pennsylvania.
In our editorial board conversation with Wolf, reviews of his policy positions on his website and his performance in debates, it becomes clear that Wolf has workable proposals on education, job creation and other pressing issues.
In other major races, the Tribune makes the following endorsements:
We support Art Haywood to replace State Sen. LeAnna Washington in the 4th senatorial district, representing parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. Haywood has the right experience to replace the incumbent.
Haywood, a lawyer with a practice that concentrates on nonprofit and community development, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College and graduate of the London School of Economics and University of Michigan Law School. As a community leader and member of the Board of Commissioners of Cheltenham Township since 2012, and President of Board for 2012 and 2013, Haywood has a strong record of public service and represents the change voters need.
Washington’s long years of service have perhaps made her indifferent to the critical importance of staying above reproach in her ethical behavior.
While Washington is innocent until proven guilty she faces charges she abused the authority and resources of her Senate office to raise money for her re-election campaign.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has accused Washington of directing her legislative staff to perform political campaign work while working on taxpayer time.
It’s time for a change. Haywood is the change needed in the 4th District.
In other races, the Tribune endorses the following:
First District Robert A. Brady
2nd District Chaka Fattah
13th District Val Arkoosh
2nd District Christine Tartaglione
8th District Anthony Hardy Williams
181st District W. Curtis Thomas
186th District Jordan A. Harris
188th District James R. Roebuck
Roebuck needs to become more visible and outspoken on issues in his district. Political newcomer, businessman Algernong Allen shows great promise.
198th District Rosita C. Youngblood
200th District Cherelle L. Parker
203rd District Dwight Evans