Reports detail funds raised for Pa. governor's race

Posted: February 02, 2014

Five Democrats vying for the nomination to take on Gov. Corbett in November raised $27.2 million last year, and as of Dec. 31 had $25.6 million on hand to spend against each other, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.

Corbett started the year with $7.5 million in his campaign coffers after raising $6.8 million in 2013. The take was lower than his campaign, and some leading Republicans, had hoped, but the incumbent has the luxury of watching a Democratic demolition derby while continuing to raise money.

The reports also offered six-figure reminders that Pennsylvania does not limit individual campaign contributions. One of The Inquirer's owners gave $250,000. Another donor gave $1 million.

Filed with the secretary of state in Harrisburg, the campaign reports illuminate the relative financial strengths of the Democratic contenders less than four months before the May 20 primary.

"We've gone through the puppy-dog-and-ice-cream phase of the campaign, and now we're going to see who the real contenders are," said Kevin Washo, a Democratic strategist and former executive director of the state party.

Indeed, the primary race apparently claimed its first victim Friday. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is dropping out and plans to endorse state Treasurer Rob McCord on Monday, sources said.

Millionaire businessman Tom Wolf was the leader, having raised $13.2 million - $10 million of it his own money. He had $11.8 million on hand and, reflecting that strength, began running an ad Thursday on broadcast TV in five of the state's six markets.

McCord reported that he raised $6.6 million - including $1.3 million carried over from his 2012 reelection campaign and $1.7 million he contributed. He reported $600,000 in expenses, leaving $6 million on hand.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who has been considered the front-runner, had $4.6 million on hand after spending $1.9 million of the $6.5 million she raised during 2013, more than any other Democrat.

Schwartz transferred $3.4 million of the $6.5 million she reported raising last year from her congressional campaign committees. That is allowed under federal and state law.

She also received $150,000 from Local 98 of the electrical workers union, and $132,000 from Emily's List, a fund that backs Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights.

Some Democratic insiders suggested that Schwartz's rate of spending could prove risky in the stretch. "That's way too high of a burn rate," said a Democratic strategist not affiliated with any campaign.

The largest expenditure in Schwartz's reports was payments to staff and consultants. "We made an early investment in building the team and the infrastructure to win the primary and beat Tom Corbett," said campaign spokesman Mark Bergman. He also noted that the congresswoman had received 8,000 individual contributions, from all 67 counties.

McCord borrowed $500,000 from family and friends. His largest checks were from unions, including that of state corrections officers ($200,000) and the Teamsters ($25,000). His largest single donor was Al Lord, retired chief of Sallie Mae, who gave $500,000.

Wolf impressed politicos by raising more than $3 million from others - a third of it from Tim Grumbacher, board chairman of Bon-Ton Stores in York.

Another Democrat, former state Environmental Secretary Katie McGinty, raised almost $2.4 million, and had $1.77 million on hand. McGinty donated $40,000 to her campaign and lent it $235,000, the reports said.

John Hanger, a former environmental secretary who has found favor with liberal activists, raised slightly over $1 million and had $890,000 on hand.

The Republican Governors Association gave Corbett $210,000, his largest group donation. His fund received five-figure checks from a range of business interests, such as law firms, health care companies, and gas drillers - and hundreds of small donations from individuals across the state.

Two Corbett checks came from donors who have backed Democrats in the past: $250,000 from the philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, a part-owner of the company that publishes The Inquirer, and $15,000 from Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen, a confidant of former Gov. Ed Rendell. Comcast's PAC gave $55,000.

"I think this race is setting up to be exactly where we want it," said Mike Barley, Corbett's campaign manager. "You've got a bunch of unknown candidates on the other side in the middle of a divisive primary. And we'll have enough money, trust me."


tfitzgerald@phillynews.com

215-854-2718

@tomfitzgerald

www.inquirer.com/bigtent

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