As the 2018 midterms inch closer and closer, candidates on both sides are doing anything that they can to get an edge on their opponents. Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner might have taken things a bit too far during a recent Facebook Live rant, however.
“Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and November 6th, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m gonna stomp all over your face with golf spikes because I’m gonna win this for the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re throwing you out of office because you know what, I’m sick and tired of your negative ads,” Wagner said on Facebook Live.
Wagner made the Facebook Live comments in response to an attack ad placed on a billboard, saying that the billboard was discouraging for small businesses that want to collect their money from customers, according to the York Daily Record.
Wagner further defended his lawsuits against customers who did not pay their bills, saying, “if you have a company and you render a service, you want to get paid for it.”
Wagner also held up stacks of 600 paychecks for his business’ payroll this week, likely in an attempt to demonstrate his small business prowess once and for all — to silence any doubters.
Full video of GOP candidate Scott Wagner threatening Gov. Tom Wolf: "You better put a catcher's mask on your face because I'm going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes." pic.twitter.com/Whh6TdsOXz— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) October 12, 2018
The billboard ad was paid for by PA Spotlight, according to USA Today, a nonprofit accountability organization that claims to be independent of any campaigns and has no clear relationship to the Governor’s campaign.
The threat was condemned nearly universally by Democrats and those involved with Wolf’s campaign.
When asked to further elaborate on the comments, Andrew Romeo — Wagner’s campaign spokesman — said that the speech shouldn’t be taken literally.
“Scott’s comments were not to be taken literally. He wanted them to be a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign. Tom Wolf has spent the entire race hiding behind false and negative attack ads like a coward instead of debating in front of the people of Pennsylvania and Scott will spend the last month of the race making it clear to voters why they should not give him a second term.
J.J. Abbott, Governor Wolf’s press secretary, condemned Wagner. Abbott called Wagner’s rant “disgusting” in a tweet, following up with a joke tweet clearly referencing the threat.
John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, tweeted that he felt Wagner had “lost it.”
The Governor responded to the comments himself when asked about them by reporter Chris Brennan, saying “First of all, I think that would hurt. I don’t think I’d like that.”
.@GovernorTomWolf was his typical restrained self at the @PhillyInquirer & @PhillyDailyNews editorial board meeting today when asked about @realScottWagner’s video threat to stomp him with golf cleats. “First of all, I think that would hurt. I don’t think I’d like that.” pic.twitter.com/7qvTBrIH3u— Chris Brennan (@ByChrisBrennan) October 12, 2018
It’s yet to be seen if this incident will have any effect on the polling, which has Wolf significantly ahead of Wagner.
According to a Franklin and Marshall College Poll in September, Wolf is a solid 22 points ahead of Wagner.
The Cook Political Report has rated the race as “Likely Democrat,” meaning that they think Wolf is likely to win that race.