PA-Gov: Rasmussen Reports' Newest Poll Has Gov. Tom Wolf (D) Crushing Scott Wagner (R) 52-40

Some good news today out of Pennsylvania courtesy of Rasmussen Reports’ newest poll:

Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf is sitting comfortably in his bid for reelection in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race.

The first Rasmussen Reports telephone and online survey of the race finds Wolf with the support of 52% of Likely Pennsylvania Voters to Republican Scott Wagner’s 40%. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, while five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among the 87% who say they are definitely going to vote in the upcoming election, Wolf posts a 53% to 40% lead.

Both Wolf and Wagner, previously a Pennsylvania state senator, are well-known by voters in the state.

The closer we get to Election time, the more bad press Wagner gets. For example, there’s this:

Republican governor candidate Scott Wagner isn't afraid to speak his mind – we all know that by now.

But has the York County politician now gone too far?

Wagner, a former state senator who's challenging Gov. Tom Wolf in November, is being criticized by Democrats this Thursday morning for sharing a story during a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre that compares undocumented immigrants and Muslims to a raccoon infestation that only President Donald Trump can clean up.

The anecdote was first published in March 2016 on the white-nationalist site InfoWars, run by activist Alex Jones, and it has since cost one public official who repeated it his job.  

At that Sept. 12 event in Wilkes-Barre, Wagner told the crowd that he wanted to “read a story someone sent to me, and listen, every time I turn on the TV I hear Donald Trump this, Donald Trump did that […] This story came around and I'm going to tone it down a little bit, but it's a great story. It's the raccoon story.”

The lengthy anecdote, which complains that America is “becoming a nation of victims where every Tom, Ricardo and Hasid is part of a special group with special rights,” was attributed to an anonymous, 80-year-old author who wanted to explain why he planned to support then-candidate Trump.

“This country is weak, bankrupt, our enemies are making fun of us, we are being invaded by illegal aliens and bringing tens of thousands of Muslim refugees to America, while leaving Christians behind to be persecuted. We are becoming a nation of victims where every Tom, Ricardo and Hasid is part of a special group with special rights, to the point where we don't even recognize the country we were born and raised in; “AND WE JUST WANT IT FIXED” and Trump is the only guy who seems to understand what the people want,” the original piece reads, in part.

And this:

The candidate had just chided the media minutes earlier for not being tougher on his opponent when the moderator asked him what might be his least favorite campaign question: Why won't you release your tax returns?

It wasn't a scene from the 2016 presidential race. Rather, it was from this year's campaign for governor in Pennsylvania, where the Republican challenger who has made millions from his trash-hauling business has refused to release his tax returns.

“How much I make or don't make is nobody's business, frankly,” the candidate, Scott Wagner, responded during a question-and-answer forum.

The incumbent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, released his tax return in what he said was a nod to transparency. The discrepancy between the two candidates and the ongoing dispute highlights a fact that was overlooked in the controversy over then-candidate Donald Trump's refusal to release his returns during the 2016 presidential race: The nation's other executive branch leaders — state governors — also are not required to release their tax returns and often don't.

And this:

A company co-owned by Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate in November’s election for governor of Pennsylvania, paid a fine last year for repeatedly violating federal labor law, recently released Department of Labor records show.

Wagner has since run a campaign focused on saying government regulation is hurting the state’s economy — and won support from pro-business groups like the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity.

A Labor Department investigator on Nov. 22, 2016, inspected Eagle Disposal of PA, Inc., a company of which Wagner owns 50 percent, after an employee was killed the day before by a hit-and-run-driver, documents obtained by the Democratic group American Bridge show. When the investigator asked for Eagle’s records of employee injuries for the last four years, the company’s human resources manager said the logs for 2015 and 2016 were incomplete. He then completed the logs ― showing that eight employees had been injured in the two and a half months prior.

The official ultimately required Eagle to pay a penalty of $1,630.

Eagle is only one of Wagner’s business interests. A multimillionaire who entered politics just four years ago, he is best-known for the company he personally founded and runs: Penn Waste. That firm has twice faced Department of Labor citations and received more than 30 violations and citations from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia magazine reported earlier this year. The author of the piece noted that Wagner says many of the violations were as small as a waste truck dripping a minuscule amount of water. But, she added, “Something about Wagner’s lack of subtlety undercuts him. When I ask if Penn Waste ever received a violation that he thought was fair — just one, in the history of the company — he says, bluntly, ‘No.’”

Let’s not get complacent though. Let’s make sure the Blue Wave hits Pennsylvania hard. Click below to donate and get involved with Wolf and his fellow Pennsylvania Democrats’ campaigns:

Bob Casey

Tom Wolf