Election 2017

Katie McGinty’s new attack on Pat Toomey (and, wait for it… Trump)

Welcome to the (totally fictional) “Wall Street University,” the first salvo in a new campaign against the incumbent Republican U.S. Senator.

Wall Street University McGinty Toomey

Katie McGinty’s latest strategy against Sen. Pat Toomey aims at his investment banker roots. Today she’s releasing a new campaign advertising the fictional “Wall Street University” replete with the slogan “In Toomey We Trust.”

Here at Wall Street University, you will learn what it takes to make millions on Wall Street, even at the expense of middle class Americans,” the ad states. “Your courses are specifically designed to show you how to rig the economy in your favor. You will have opportunity to receive mentorship from Toomey-trusted professors, who are rich with experience making millions on Wall Street with risky, economy busting trades.”  

The “Wall Street University” campaign furthers a strategy McGinty has been using since the primary. Against Joe Sestak and John Fetterman, McGinty tried to position herself as a working class candidate. She frequently touted her upbringing in Rhawnhurst as the daughter of a restaurant hostess and cop and made frequent campaign stops at Pennsylvania diners.

By highlighting Toomey’s work as an investment banker — he worked as derivatives trader for Chemical Bank and Morgan Grenfell from 1984 to 1990– McGinty is casting him as the opposite. In an email, McGinty spokesperson Sabrina Singh wrote of “Wall Street University” as featuring “how Senator Pat Toomey became the best Senator Wall Street and the Koch brothers ever had.” The campaign also attacks him for his work on the banking committee and his opposition to the Dodd-Frank bank reform act. 

Regarding “Wall Street University,” Toomey spokesperson Ted Kwong said via email, “Senator Toomey has long opposed the taxpayer-funded bank bailouts that encourage risky behavior and the corporate cronyism that Katie McGinty used to enrich herself. It’s laughable that this is what McGinty and her allies are doing to distract from the fact that she is Pennsylvania’s worst abuser of the revolving door.”

This move comes one week after Toomey started using the Twitter hashtag #PhillyMcGinty for what Kwong termed to be a slight at McGinty and not the city as a whole. McGinty spokesman Josh Levitt described it as using Pennsylvania’s largest city as a “punchline.”

“These campaigns on both sides have turned into a new negative a week,” said Terry Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. “We’re still in May. There’s no downtime, no break, and I think the negatives are only going to accelerate. What we have to figure out and it’s a little too early to know is what issues are going to resonate and matter for voters.”

Madonna called it “somewhat ironic” but not necessarily bad for McGinty to claim Toomey has deep ties to Wall Street given her endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders has routinely attacked Clinton for being too cozy with Wall Street in part because of her numerous paid speeches given to banks.

“(Hillary) would say that’s a bogus charge,” Madonna said. “Guess what Toomey’s going to say: ‘That’s a bogus charge.’”

McGinty’s latest campaign also picked up on an approach she took during her primary victory speech: associating Toomey with Donald Trump. The closing line from the Wall Street University description says, “When you leave Wall Street University, you will be ready to MAKE WALL STREET GREAT AGAIN!”


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