Tom Wolf (he’s the Democrat; you may have heard he drives a Jeep) has led the gubernatorial race in the polls since the primary election — seriously at this point, it’s not even close. Tom Corbett, our incumbent Republican governor, is still trying to keep his job. But the potential blowout still had its fair share of noteworthy moments — with two weeks to go before the general election, Billy Penn looks back at the most memorable ads, gaffes, and those filthy porny emails.
Corbett was defined by education. Now he’s kinda defined by porn.
Corbett wasn’t among the at-least-38 state officials who sent, received or forwarded porny emails on their state-issued computers. But much of the gross behavior took place on his watch and by his staff while he was attorney general.
Current Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat and not-so-secret Corbett hater, released information about some of the people who had downloaded or received the racy emails from each other. Her investigators stumbled upon these things (and seriously, they’re gross) while probing Corbett’s investigation of the Jerry Sandusky case (they found no evidence of political influence).
To date, four state officials have lost their jobs over the scandal, including one dude (with a kind of porny name) who said he didn’t feel like resigning… and then retired a week later. The emails flew from prosecutors to the state police commissioner, all the way up to a pair of state Supreme Court justices.
Corbett has denounced the actions of some of his colleagues, saying in the second gubernatorial debate in Philadelphia that he *wished* someone would have sent a pornographic email to him: “It would have stopped there.”
While he apparently didn’t see the goodies himself, his employees did. It’s been no less of a definitive event for Corbett’s re-election campaign that was plagued from the start after he became known as the education funding slasher over four years in office.
The 8 biggest gaffes during the race
Tom “I wish someone had sent me porn” Corbett isn’t the only Tom to say something dumb during this race. In no particular order, here are the 8 biggest times somebody put their foot in their mouth during the campaign:
1. Tom Wolf is apparently kind of confused at the number of women on his staff, and you can bet Gov. Corbett’s campaign wasn’t about to let that one go. During a Democratic primary debate, candidates were asked about women on their staffs.Tom Wolf winningly answered that his private company’s managerial staff has “women in spades,” according to Politics PA. Well, actually, two of 19 members of his managerial staff were women. Not exactly “in spades.”
2. From the department of “Just stop talking, Governor…” While addressing a roundtable hosted by Spanish newspaper Al Dia in May, Corbett was asked about the lack of Latinos serving on his Cabinet. According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Corbett responded that he basically can’t find any.
“No, we do not have any staff members in there,” Corbett replied, adding damningly, “If you can find us one, please let me know.”
The moderator then appeared to try and lead the governor out of the hole he was digging.
“I am sure that there are Latinos that…” the moderator said.
“Do any of you want to come to Harrisburg,” he asked the audience without reply. “See?!”
3. When Tom Wolf’s running mate, er, forgot who his running mate was: State Sen. Mike Stack, a Democrat from Philadelphia, made his debut on the campaign trail in July. Toward the end of his speech, according to the Patriot-News, Stack said, “I am a lucky person to be Tom Corbett’s running mate.” He didn’t correct himself. We hope he has that figured out by now.
4. While Wolf apparently forgot the number of women on his staff, Corbett publicly insinuated that women do all the grocery shopping so they can speed up dinner. Yeesh. Corbett was asked about liquor privatization and responded: “I think a lot of people want to be able to walk into the grocery store, particularly, a lot of the women want to be able to go and buy a bottle of wine for dinner. Go down and buy a six-pack or two six-packs, and go home. Rather than, what I just described, is at least three stops in Pennsylvania.”
5. The PA GOP accused Wolf of insulting gun-owners. An August video posted on YouTube shows Wolf speaking at Penn State’s Ag Progress Days saying, “By the way, I was going around to say ‘Hi’ to different people earlier before the speaker started and if you just thought I was just trying to be nice, it wasn’t that, I was looking for weapons.” GOP officials say the comment shows Wolf’s “passive disdain for Pennsylvania’s rural communities.” (h/t Politics PA)
6. OK, the porn isn’t over yet. Tom Corbett touted a government jobs website during the second gubernatorial debate. He repeatedly said the site was bringing jobs to the unemployed and fostering positive job growth in the state. So Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Brad Bumstead looked up what was on that website: links to job openings for strippers, prostitutes and porn actresses. Corbett might have wanted to check that one beforehand.
7. When Tom Corbett compared gay marriage to incest. Need I say more? People were pissed. Obviously.
8. Diversity via Photoshop! Everyone collectively felt uncomfortable when Buzzfeed reported that this lovely photo that Tom Corbett used on every page of his campaign website was photoshopped. The smiling black woman next to Corbett? Yeah, she’s from a stock image titled, “Financial adviser talking to senior couple at home.”
Weird and wrong ads
1. That time Tom Wolf got in on the XXX action too: One of the actors in a Wolf-sponsored advertisement this fall had previously appeared in *torture* porn. Yeah. Buzzfeed broke the news. Alan Benyak, who played the role of a state attorney in Wolf’s campaign ad, once played the lead role of “Mr. Cannibal” in a film we at Billy Penn are all too scared to watch: “Breeding Farm.” The Wolf campaign said it was unaware that the dude starred in possibly the worst thing ever and pulled the ad.
2. Disclaimer: This one isn’t even Corbett’s fault. But this ad by the College Republicans gained national attention and even appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” It portrays a young woman looking to purchase a wedding dress and she’s weighing her options between the hip, trendy and affordable “Tom Corbett” and the old, dowdy and expensive “Tom Wolf.”
Apparently voting for a Democrat is like buying a fugly wedding dress. Enjoy.
3. An ad put out by Tom Corbett’s campaign was picked apart by FactCheck.org in May for basically containing all sorts of problems. The ad, titled “Toy Story,” misreported the figures for taxes and job losses during Tom Wolf’s time as the state tax collector, and said Corbett deceived viewers by exaggerating the number of jobs created during his time as governor. Read more here.
Bonus: Even the WaPo says we’re weird, too
The Washington Post named Pennsylvania’s governor race among one of the nine strangest, weirdest and all-around wonkiest races in the nation this election season.