Businessman Holds Big Lead In Gov Race

Businessman Tom Wolf continues to hold a crushing lead in Pennsylvania’s Democratic gubernatorial race, leading his nearest challenger by 26 points, a new poll shows.

A poll released Thursday by Franklin and Marshall College shows Wolf holding 33 percent of the vote in the four-person field seeking to challenge Gov. Tom Corbett (R). U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz trails Wolf with seven percent in the poll, while state Treasurer Rob McCord finished third at six percent and former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty held four percent.

Wolf, who served as state revenue secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell (D), has surged in recent months in his largely self-funded campaign. He has been stressed his business credentials and job creation in the primary.

Schwartz has been a highly touted candidate nationally, garnering backing from EMILY’s List, in her bid to become the Keystone State’s first female governor. Schwartz, who represents suburban Philadelphia in Congress, is giving up a safe congressional seat to make the gubernatorial bid.

The poll shows Wolf with a strong lead across demographic groups, including with both Democrats who regular vote in primaries and all Democrats. Wolf also leads with both men and woman and across ideological divides. He held leads across all regions of the state, with Schwartz placing second in all but the northwestern part of the state, which gave second to McCord.

The poll notes that most Democrats have seen ads for Wolf, McCord and McGinty for the May 20 primary. Schwartz has not started airing her commercials yet, a move that could shake up the primary.

The Democratic fight comes as Corbett is listed as one of the most vulnerable Republican governors in the nation.

New polling has not been released in the Democratic race for lieutenant governor. That five-way contest features former U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, Harrisburg city Councilman Brad Koplinski, state Rep. Brandon Neuman, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith and state Sen. Mike Stack. The lieutenant governor race has been largely overshadowed by the competitive governor’s race.

Under Pennsylvania law, the winners of the governor and lieutenant governor primaries will run as a ticket in the general election. Corbett will be running again with Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley.