Hoeffel's first TV ad pokes at Onorato, Williams

Posted: May 05, 2010

Democrat Joe Hoeffel hasn't been able to raise much money for his governor's race, at least not according to the campaign reports he has filed. But it looks as if he intends to get the most bang that he can for whatever bucks he has.

Hoeffel introduced his first TV ad Tuesday, and it's feisty. It takes a slap at two of his opponents while he tries to introduce himself as the progressive choice in the four-way Democratic primary on May 18.

FOR THE RECORD - CLEARING THE RECORD, PUBLISHED MAY 7, 2010, FOLLOWS: A profile Wednesday of Joe Hoeffel, a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania governor, incorrectly stated one of his positions. He supports public charter schools and opposes funding vouchers that could be used to pay for private schools.

In the ad, Hoeffel sits at a desk in a high-rise building and holds a pair of pink flip-flops in his hand.

The script for the 30-second spot, which his campaign said is running only in Philadelphia, goes like this:

"Flip-flops are fine - for the beach. But as governor, people need to know where you stand. Dan Onorato was anti-choice for years - until one day he wasn't. Tony Williams used to support public schools - now it's private schools. I have always supported a woman's right to choose and our public schools. And I have developed a detailed, comprehensive plan to help small businesses create new jobs. You want flip-flops - go to the beach. But if you want a governor who proudly stands up for our progressive values, then I'm your man."

Onorato, the Allegheny County executive, and Anthony Hardy Williams, a state senator from Philadelphia, have been on the air with TV ads for weeks. The remaining candidate in the race, state Auditor General Jack Wagner, also has run some ads.

Here's the fact-check material on the Hoeffel ad:

Onorato on abortion. He has softened his longtime antiabortion stand to this extent: He says he remains "pro-life" but would not support any change in the current Pennsylvania law permitting abortions.

Williams on public education. He has maintained that Hoeffel's attempts during the campaign to cast him as a foe of public education are wrong. He says he has consistently voted to support public education, but also favors "school choice" - tax incentives for private-school tuition donations, charter schools, and school vouchers. Williams is on the board of a charter school named for his father, the late State Sen. Hardy Williams.

The Williams campaign has pointed out that Hoeffel sits on the development committee of the Community Partnership School in Philadelphia. While the school gets no public funding, it does participate in a state program that permits tax write-offs for donations to a tuition fund.

The Hoeffel ad came out the same day as a Quinnipiac University poll that showed him way behind in the race.

A Quinnipiac survey of 930 likely Democratic voters, conducted from Wednesday to Sunday, found Onorato getting 36 percent of the vote, compared with 8 to 9 percent for each of his rivals.

Contact staff writer Tom Infield at 610-313-8205 or tinfield@phillynews.com.

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