Wolf ousts Corbett in Pennsylvania governor’s race

Tom Wolf

Tom Wolf

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) >> Democrat Tom Wolf was elected Pennsylvania governor Tuesday after the businessman and first-time candidate spent $10 million of his own money on an early TV ad campaign that endeared him to voters and helped send unpopular Gov. Tom Corbett to a historic defeat.

When he takes office in January, Wolf will likely face a Republican-controlled Legislature and a yawning budget deficit as he tries to make good on a promise to dramatically increase the state government’s share of public school costs.

Corbett is the first governor to go down in defeat in the four decades since the state’s chief executive was allowed to run for a second term. The former two-term state attorney general could not overcome a rocky first term and struggled to sell his record as a fiscal and social conservative.

Wolf, 65, from the tiny town of Mount Wolf, named after an ancestor, will become the 47th governor of Pennsylvania and the first since Richard Thornburgh in 1979 never to have held elective office.

He led his family’s cabinetry and building materials distribution business in central Pennsylvania for much of the past three decades, becoming a pillar of York’s business, civic and philanthropic community.

In spite of a two-year stint as former Gov. Ed Rendell’s revenue secretary, a job for which he donated his salary, he remained a political unknown until he began a folksy ad campaign last winter in which he promised to be a “different kind of governor.”

He introduced himself to voters as a mild-mannered, Jeep-driving small-town businessman who had gone to India with the Peace Corps, earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and shared profits with the employees at his company.

In an expensive Democratic primary, he easily defeated three rivals who were far more seasoned in politics.

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