Pennsylvania

Unions Dump $550,000 into Democrat Candidates for PA Governor

Organizations Voters First Ohio
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Big Labor is going “all in” to replace Republican Gov. Tom Corbett with a pro-union Democrat.

Media Trackers’ review of campaign finance documents filed with the PA Department of State reveals that, to date, labor unions have collectively made contributions totaling more than $550,000 to State Treasurer Rob McCord and Montgomery County Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz.

He may be as white collar as they come, but McCord’s year-end campaign finance report for 2013 shows that two dozen union political action committees (PACs) contributed a total haul of $297,000 to his campaign.

McCord’s largest union contribution was $100,000 from the Pennsylvania State Correctional Officers Association (PSCOA) PAC. AFSCME AFL-CIO Council #13 PAC chipped in $60,000.

McCord raised a total of $6.2 million from all sources, including $1.7 million of his own wealth.  Since his last campaign finance report was filed, McCord has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) teachers union, which augers well not only for more labor money but grassroots volunteers as well.

Robert Maxwell McCord grew up in the tony Philly suburb of Ardmore. He attended Harvard and later the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an MBA. He was a senior executive at Safeguard Scientifics before taking the helm of the Eastern Technology Council.

In 2008, he comfortably defeated Republican Tom Ellis in the race for state Treasurer by 12 percentage points. In 2012, he was re-elected by 11 percentage points over Republican Diana Irey.

The upper-crust McCord has made all the right moves and said all the right things to garner endorsements and money from Big Labor. He came out strong against Republicans’ paycheck protection proposal, opposes school choice and right-to-work, and favors an increase in the minimum wage.

Congresswoman Schwartz, also staunchly pro-labor, is close behind McCord in monetary support from unions. She raked in a total of $254,000 from 17 different union PACs. Her largest contributor, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 PAC, gave her $150,000.

Union support in a Democrat primary for governor doesn’t guarantee victory. In 2002, then-state Auditor General Robert Casey, Jr. was backed overwhelmingly by Big Labor yet was defeated resoundingly by then-Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell.  Rendell, however, was a political anomaly by virtue of enjoying unusually high popularity in the entire southeastern PA media market, which is home to 40 percent of the state’s Democrat voters.

The strong fundraising of McCord and Schwartz from unions, though impressive, is dwarfed by the coffers of primary competitor Tom Wolf, a businessman who is spending $10 million of his own money. Wolf has had the television airwaves to himself for three weeks, prompting McCord to take pot shots including an accusation that Wolf has turned the Democrats’ primary contest into an “auction.”

Wolf’s investment in the race has paid off, as he leaped from last place to leader of the pack in the crowded Democrat primary according to Harper Polling released today.

Others vying for the Democrat nomination include former state Department of Environmental Protection John Hanger, former state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty, Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner.

There is a lot of baseball left to play, as the saying goes. Thanks to Big Labor, Rob McCord and Allyson Schwartz are firmly entrenched in the top tier of candidates.

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