Negative ads in the primary helped no one

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Adlai E. Stevenson once quipped, “the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.” Unfortunately this lesson was lost on Democratic primary gubernatorial candidates Rob McCord and Allyson Schwartz.

What started out as a spirited, issue-oriented campaign by four qualified candidates turned into a desperate and pathetic attempt by Mr. McCord and Ms. Schwartz to close the sizable election poll gap against Tom Wolf with a series of advertisements aimed at misleading Pennsylvania voters.

Rob McCord’s ridiculous allegation that Mr. Wolf was a racist was so outrageous that Sen. Bob Casey and former Gov. Ed Rendell denounced the ad as untrue and offensive.

Ms. Schwartz’s allegations about Mr. Wolf’s business practice were misleading and without merit. A leveraged buyout is a common business practice. Ms. Schwartz’s campaign had no problem accepting more than $50,000 in donations from Tom Wolf and other Wolf family members while she served in the state Legislature and Congress.

All this is now fodder for Tom Corbett, who has his own difficulty resisting the urge to mislead Pennsylvania voters.

Realizing that he is on the wrong side of the issue, Mr. Corbett is trying to reinvent himself as a pro-education governor. His wife is spinning yarns about how as former teachers the Corbetts know what is needed in education. Conveniently missing from the claim is the fact that both taught only one year each in the early 1970s.

One hopes that as governor, Mr. Corbett knows the Legislature and not the revenue secretary is responsible for tax legislation. Mr. Corbett’s ad on taxes claiming that he “came to Harrisburg and cleaned up Wolf’s mess” was an insult to the intelligence of all Pennsylvania voters.

Good luck to Tom Wolf in the general election and kudos to Katie McGinty for running a clean, issue-oriented campaign in the primary.

Mt. Lebanon
The writer is secretary of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.

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