YORK, Pa. -- After coasting to victory by a broad margin in Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary, York County businessman Tom Wolf greeted the supporters who helped him, driving his signature blue Jeep onto the field for a victory party at a minor league baseball stadium.
Mr. Wolf won out over his Democratic rivals by a comfortable margin both in Allegheny County and statewide -- beating out U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, state Treasurer Rob McCord and Katie McGinty, a former state Department of Environmental Protection secretary, to take on Gov. Tom Corbett in November.
An enormous American flag decorated the field at Santander Stadium in downtown York and the crowd cheered when vote totals were periodically displayed on the stadium's Jumbotron, showing Mr. Wolf in the lead.
Many supporters waved blue Tom Wolf signs or wore shirts proclaiming, "I'm running with the Wolfpack."
Mr. Wolf, who took to the airwaves early in the campaign, surged ahead in polls after a barrage of ads describing his personal story -- a Ph.D., a stint in the Peace Corps in India, serving as state revenue secretary under then-Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell and running his family cabinet company.
"Tonight, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," Mr. Wolf told them, standing on the field at Santander Stadium.
"I have always wanted to say that on a baseball field," he said, alluding to a quote from New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig when he retired.
Mr. Wolf said he will bring a focus on education and jobs as he continues to campaign.
"We have a big job between now and Nov. 4," he said. "2014 is going to be a very important choice for all of us."
Speaking to reporters later in the evening, responding to a question about his qualifications, he said, "I've done a lot of different things in my life. A lot of them involved executive decision-making," Mr. Wolf said. "And I've done all of them right."
His longtime prominence in York County was evident Tuesday night at the stadium.
Andrew Rouscher, 48, grew up in Mount Wolf, the same town the candidate has lived his whole life.
Mr. Rouscher said he was particularly impressed with Mr. Wolf's reinvestment in the family business when it began to flounder after he had left.
"He didn't have to do that. He could have said, 'OK, I'm done,' " Mr. Rouscher said. "That kind of confirms what I knew about him growing up."
Steward Knisley, 73, who lives in suburban York, said he felt Mr. Wolf seemed more trustworthy than other candidates and liked Mr. Wolf's plan to tax shale drillers.
Bob Ames of York said he was a registered Republican and couldn't vote for Mr. Wolf on Tuesday, but planned to do so in November.
Mr. Ames said his daughter worked for Mr. Wolf's company.
"He is just a quality guy and he's what we need in politics," Mr. Ames said.
Kate Giammarise: 717-787-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KateGiamamarise. Gideon Bradshaw is an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents' Association.