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Wolf Extends Fundraising Lead Over 3 Republicans In Primary

Matt Rourke

Millions more dollars poured into the Pennsylvania governor's race in 2018, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf extended his fundraising lead over the three Republican candidates vying for the party's nomination to challenge him, according to reports filed at the state's Tuesday deadline.

Wolf reported more than $14.7 million in the bank for November's general election, or $8.5 million more than his nearest rival, Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County, who made millions in the waste-hauling industry.

With seven weeks until May 15's primary election, Wagner reported $6.2 million in cash in the bank. Paul Mango, a former health care systems consultant from suburban Pittsburgh, had $3.3 million and Laura Ellsworth, a longtime commercial litigation lawyer from suburban Pittsburgh, had $434,000.

All told, candidates reported raising $8.7 million from Jan. 1 through March 26. That boosted contributions in the race past $40 million, including cash carried into last year.

Of the cash contributions in the most recent period, Wolf claimed nearly $5 million, with roughly half donated by labor unions. He also reported receiving $250,000 apiece from two national Democratic groups — the Democratic Governors Association and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee led by former Attorney General Eric Holder — as well as the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and Michael G. Rubin, a co-owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL's New Jersey Devils.

Wagner, who is endorsed by the state Republican Party, gave himself the vast majority of the $2.8 million in contributions he reported, including investment gains on campaign cash. That doesn't include another $320,000 Wagner clocked for expenses that he footed, largely for air travel, lodging, meals and interest.

Mango reported contributions of $573,000. Most of it was from himself and a $200,000 loan that Patrick Hampson, a private equity executive who lives a few blocks from Mango, converted into a campaign contribution.

Ellsworth reported raising $368,000.

The candidates, in total, spent $7 million during the period. Of that, Wagner and Mango combined to spend $5.4 million, including on TV ads attacking the other. Wolf spent $1.2 million while Ellsworth spent about $350,000.

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