HARRISBURG — Rob McCord, who recently has been fending off criticism of his gubernatorial campaign tactics from certain leaders of his state Democratic Party, celebrated some good news Sunday in the form of an endorsement by Pennsylvania’s largest newspaper.
In a Sunday editorial, The Philadelphia Inquirer called McCord, the state treasurer, “the best of a fine field” of Democrats seeking to take on Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the general election.
“While few major policy differences separate the four rivals for the Democratic nomination, McCord’s emphasis on robust education funding and natural-gas taxation shows an understanding of what’s important and achievable in Pennsylvania,” it said.
The endorsement came one day after Democratic former Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey registered strong disapproval of a McCord TV ad questioning York businessman Tom Wolf’s judgment in standing by a former York mayor who was charged with murder in 2001 for the death of a black woman during the city’s 1969 race riots. Former Mayor Charlie Robertson, a police officer at the time of the riots, was acquitted in 2002.
Rendell and Casey, D-Scranton, said the ad was unfair to Wolf, whose multimillion-dollar TV campaign enabled him to seize the front-runner’s mantle early in the campaign for the May 20 primary, but McCord refused to take down the ad.
The Inquirer said McCord had “overplayed” the issue by exaggerating Wolf’s connection to a racially charged local controversy, but that it may suggest that Wolf values loyalty very highly and that that “could be a drawback in a state capital beset by corruption and clannishness.”
The newspaper said McCord’s more than five years as treasurer is “highly relevant” experience for a would-be governor and cited his willingness to object to Corbett’s ill-fated plan to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery as an example of his independence and toughness.
While the paper praised Wolf’s broad resume, which includes a stint in the Peace Corps, a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the rescue of his building products company, it noted that his government experience is limited to less than two years as Rendell’s revenue secretary.
The Inquirer said U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a 24-year veteran of Congress and the state Senate, has struggled to forge alliances.
And it said former state environmental protection secretary Katie McGinty, a former state environmental protection secretary and former environmental adviser in the Clinton White House, could be hindered by “her sometimes staunchly partisan tone.”
It called McCord “the candidate most likely to match words with deeds.”