HARRISBURG — Republican gubernatorial candidates Paul Mango and Scott Wagner are donating heavily to their campaigns, putting up millions of their own dollars for the right to challenge Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in the November election, according to campaign finance reports disclosed Wednesday.
Wednesday was the deadline for the gubernatorial campaigns to report to state elections officials how they raised and spent money last year.
The campaigns are heading into 2018 with more than $23 million combined in the bank, as the heavy spending season approaches. Mango and Wagner are airing TV ads, likely every day until the May 15 primary election.
Meanwhile, Wolf can nurse his campaign account — at just over $11 million as of Dec. 31 — without a serious primary challenger. Also in the running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination are state House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and lawyer Laura Ellsworth.
Wolf’s campaign spent more than $32 million on his successful 2014 campaign for governor. That year, he gave his campaign $10 million, but has said he would not use his own money to support his re-election campaign.
Mango, a former health care systems consultant, reported $5.5 million in the bank as of Dec. 31 after spending $2.9 million last year. Mango gave himself $6.7 million and reported a $1 million loan from Patrick Hampson, a private equity executive who lives a few blocks from Mango in the Pittsburgh suburb of Gibsonia.
Hampson also gave Mango another $70,000, while Mango received $60,000 from Pittsburgh-based labor union Western Pennsylvania Laborers District Council.
Wagner, a York County state senator and founder of waste hauler PennWaste, reported $5.9 million in the bank as of Dec. 31 after spending almost $3 million last year. He has given himself more than $7.5 million in loans and other contributions, including investment gains on his campaign donations, transfers from his Senate campaign account and in-kind contributions for things like air transportation and meals.
Wagner drew heavily on the construction industry in south-central Pennsylvania, including about $250,000 apiece from the families that own Kinsley Construction and York Building Products. He also received $135,000 from John Arnold, chairman of Petroleum Products Corp., and $105,000 from John DiSanto, a state senator from suburban Harrisburg who was recruited by Wagner after a successful career in real estate and construction.
Wolf’s campaign reported more than $4 million in donations from labor unions last year, plus another $1 million from Fairness PA, a political action committee that supports Democratic candidates and accepted donations in the past year from labor unions, trial lawyers and prominent Democratic Party donors from the Philadelphia area. Wolf also pulled down $250,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.
Turzai’s campaign reported just over $1 million in the bank as of Dec. 31 and Ellsworth’s campaign reported about $417,000 on hand, but neither they nor Wolf’s campaign had provided details about how they raised the money by mid-day Wednesday.