Campaign finance reports filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State in the last week of January show that 1989 Wharton MBA graduate Rob McCord has raised over $6.2 million to finance his bid for governor, including a self-loan and a rollover of funds not spent in prior campaigns.
His opponent, 1984 Penn Law graduate John Hanger, has raised just over $1 million.
In a press statement released at the end of last month, the Hanger campaign criticized the necessity of money in modern politics and pundits’ focus on campaign contributions as a metric with which to measure a candidate’s chances of victory.
“[The] orgy of political spending is proof positive of the need to rip out by the roots Pennsylvania’s terrible campaign finance laws and adopt public financing for gubernatorial elections,” the statement said. It noted that candidates could spend as much as $50 million in the Democratic primary alone.
Hanger has been vocal in criticizing what his campaign calls “the piles of cash that big money interests are unloading in Pennsylvania,” and has called for his opponents to respect a $3-5 million cap on campaign spending during the Democratic primary.
He hopes this will allow all the candidates to reach voters with their message, while preventing the candidate with the most money from buying the election.
McCord, Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer, is currently third in fundraising among Democratic candidates, behind only businessman Tom Wolf and congresswoman Allyson Schwartz .
A spokesperson for the McCord campaign said that the treasurer believes the best way to raise money for a gubernatorial campaign is to reach out to Pennsylvanians across the state, rather than a few large donors.
He cited the fact that McCord has attracted endorsements from dozens of current and former state officials — and unions representing over 250,000 Pennsylvanian workers — as evidence of his broad appeal in the Democratic party.
Both men are vying for the party’s nomination to face incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett in November’s election.
In a December poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, Corbett lost hypothetical general elections against every major Democratic candidate by a wide margin. Both Hanger and McCord beat the governor by almost 20 percentage points each.
Hanger, known for his vocal support of education and marijuana law reform, led Corbett among independent voters by the widest margin of any Democrat — 39 points.
The McCord campaign cites his repeated efforts to fight the governor on many issues in his role as State Treasurer — including the state’s liquor and lottery privatization schemes — as evidence that he is the most qualified candidate to unseat Corbett.