Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wolf, with Two Years Remaining in His Term, Already Has Competition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wolf, with Two Years Remaining in His Term, Already Has Competition

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG - Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf isn't quite midway through his first term, but he already faces a challenger for his job: a fiscally conservative state senator and a wealthy businessman from his own backyard.

Sen. Scott Wagner, a Republican from York, this week made it publicly official - if not formally so - that he intends to run for governor in 2018.

"I'm not going to hide, I'm running," Mr. Wagner, 61, said in an interview Friday, adding that he intends to make a formal announcement early next year.

The local Fox station in Harrisburg, WPMT, was the first to report Mr. Wagner's plans, although he has been signaling his interest in a gubernatorial run for months.

A self-described Capitol outsider and fierce supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, Mr. Wagner decided to run because, he said, he believes he has the business smarts and the political relationships to do the job better.

"I don't have a choice - when I see something wrong, and I know I can get in there and fix it, that's what I'm going to do," said Mr. Wagner, who is the president of a trash-removal and recycling company in central Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg, he said, is paralyzed by inaction on important issues, and he blames a lack of leadership by Mr. Wolf.

In a statement, Mr. Wolf countered that he has been able to work with the Republican-dominated Legislature to push through major policy initiatives, including more money for public schools, breaking the state-run monopoly on the sale of wine, and legalizing medical marijuana.

"Gov. Wolf knows now is not the time for politics, but instead the moment to continue these efforts," said his spokesman, Jeff Sheridan.

For his part, Mr. Wagner said he has always seen a clear, if not necessarily easy, path to the governor's office.

To start, Mr. Wagner could face a potentially crowded Republican field, as other prominent GOP officials - including House Speaker Mike Turzai of Marshall and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman of Centre County - have been floated as possible candidates. …

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