What to Know
- Gov. Tom Wolf won his first term in 2014 after unseating Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
- Scott Wagner won a state senate seat four years ago as an independent, and has campaigned as a Trump-like political outsider.
- The two candidates faced off in one debate, after which Wagner called Wolf a "gutless coward" for refusing a second.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is the projected winner in his campaign for a second term, defeating Republican challenger Scott Wagner, according to NBC News.
Wolf, 69, a Democrat from York County, stayed out of squabbles that Wagner tried to drag him into throughout the campaign. He ran on his committment to education and recent relative quiet in Harrisburg following years of budget battles.
Wagner, 62, failed to connect with voters over the summer after a bruising primary election against fellow Republicans. He could never seize momentum from Wolf, who led a measured campaign and never took the bait when Wagner at times accused the incumbent of being afraid to debate.
Wolf only agreed to one debate, despite Wagner's persistent calls for more. The only debate's lasting effect was by its moderator, Alex Trebek, who stole the show from the actual candidates.
Wolf is the scion of one of the oldest and most successful families in York County. He won a first term in 2014 by making Republican Gov. Tom Corbett the first incumbent to go down in defeat since Pennsylvania in the 1970s began allowing governors to serve a second term.
Wagner, a sanitation management tycoon, at times ventured outside the boundaries of political decorum, including calling Wolf a "gutless coward."
"Between now and Nov. 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face," Wagner said along the side of a road in his home base of York County in a Facebook Live post. "Because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes. Because I’m going to win this."
Hours later, Wagner took the old one down.
"I may have chosen a poor metaphor. I may have had a poor choice of words. I shouldn’t have said what I said," Wagner said in the replacement post.