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The “Nasty, Vacuous” PA-GOV Primary Has “Republican Leaders Worried”

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Wagner and Mango Spend Millions on a “Race to the Bottom”

The GOP primary in Pennsylvania continues to dive further into the gutter as Paul Mango and Scott Wagner continue to spend millions on ads featuring insults and name-calling that would make even President Trump blush. Onlookers are calling the race a “slap-fight,” “varsity mudslinging,” and “noxious noise.” The race has gotten so bad, that Republican leaders in the state are publicly worrying that the negative tone will hurt their chances in November. Just look at the recent coverage:
Philadelphia Inquirer’s  John Baer: On the ugly tone of the GOP race for governor

Hard to say exactly what to call the Republican primary race for governor. But the words nasty, vacuous and damaging to democracy come to mind. It also strikes me as a campaign in a counterintuitive moment. As the rest of the world shows surging interest in public affairs with increased numbers of candidates at all levels and hard evidence of efforts to make politics better, Pennsylvania offers up an old-time race of noxious noise. Sweet music to incumbent Gov. Wolf, for sure. And for one of the three GOP candidates. But for the public good? Not so much.

CBS Pittsburgh: 2 GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Get Nasty And Personal In Campaign Ads

Pittsburgh business consultant Paul Mango and York County state Sen. Scott Wagner are engaged in an increasingly personal attack, and it has some Republican leaders worried. “I would urge both sides to just stick to the issues,” Val DiGiorgio, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.

Philadelphia Inquirer: ‘Deadbeat dad’: Pa GOP gov primary goes negative 

The Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial primary has taken an early negative turn, with the party chairman declaring one campaign ad too low a blow even for modern politics.

York Daily Record: An ‘outright LIE’: Scott Wagner’s daughter responds to attack ad in Pa. governor race

The campaign for one of Wagner’s opponents, former health care systems consultant Paul Mango, released an ad earlier in the week that called Wagner a slumlord, sleazy bail bondsman, toxic, greedy, a “deadbeat dad” and violent.“It’s one of the harshest negatives I’ve seen in contemporary politics,” G. Terry Madonna, a political pundit and pollster from Franklin & Marshall College, told The Morning Call of Allentown. “This is is a no-holds-barred primary.”

But perhaps the most scathing critique of the negative campaign came from their opponent Laura Ellsworth, who declared in an op-ed that Mango and Wagner had “sullied our election.”
From the op-ed:

One of the striking things about the Mango-Wagner ads is the utter lack of joy they take in the battle. This is no longer the grand exchange of ideas, framed in the idealism that engages citizens. It’s rank and petty name-calling without a hint of civic purpose. At no time in our history have we witnessed a clearer example of the dangers of two politicians with more money than common sense.

“Leading Pennsylvania Republicans are now in full panic mode as Paul Mango and Scott Wagner continue their path of mutual destruction,” said DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold. “Wagner and Mango’s nasty campaign will keeps digging deeper and deeper into the gutter. These character assassinations are going to cost them dearly if they make it to the general.”