With just under three weeks left until the primary, the Republican candidates for governor slipped into their Wednesday night debate criticisms not only of one another but also of the Democratic governor they all hope to challenge in November.
State Sen. Scott Wagner (R., York) criticized donations that Gov. Wolf receives from various unions and said, if elected, he would reverse the governor’s moratorium on the death penalty. Former health-care consultant Paul Mango, of Allegheny County, questioned the governor’s handling of Medicaid. And Pittsburgh attorney Laura Ellsworth said she fears Wolf’s proposed severance tax on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale would turn away the industry.
Their remarks came during an hour-and-a-half appearance at the Cultural Center at Willow Valley Communities, a senior living complex in rural Lancaster County. It was their second-to-last debate before the May 15 primary and had, perhaps, one of their largest TV audiences yet. The first hour of the debate aired on stations across the state and in Youngstown, Ohio. The last half hour, during which residents asked the majority of the questions, appeared online.
The candidates fielded questions about how to help struggling dairy farmers, whether to eliminate property taxes. and whether they felt nursing homes had appropriate regulations.