Wag­ner to gover­nor: I’ll stomp on your face

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Marc Levy

HAR­RIS­BURG >> Penn­syl­va­nia’s Re­pub­li­can can­di­date for gover­nor had some ad­vice Fri­day for his Demo­cratic op­po­nent: Put on a catcher’s mask be­cause “I’m go­ing to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”

Hours later, Scott Wag­ner re­moved the nearly 3-minute video posted on Face­book, and said he may have used a poor choice of words and that his pas­sion should not be con­fused with anger.

It was, how­ever, the lat­est time the for­mer state se­na­tor and

waste-haul­ing mil­lion­aire has used vi­o­lent im­agery to de­scribe how he would get things done in the Capi­tol, and it re­vived a theme that has been used against Wag­ner pre­vi­ously in the cam­paign.

Demo­cratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s cam­paign re­sponded by calling it a threat of vi­o­lence that shows Wag­ner “is un­hinged and un­fit for of­fice.”

Asked ear­lier in the day about the video, Wag­ner’s cam­paign said the re­marks

were metaphor­i­cal, and were meant to con­vey how Wag­ner will ap­proach the fi­nal stretch of the cam­paign be­fore the Nov. 6 elec­tion.

In it, Wag­ner stood in front of a bill­board at­tack­ing his waste-haul­ing com­pany’s prac­tices be­fore mak­ing the golf spikes com­ment.

“Gover­nor, let me tell you, be­tween now and Nov. 6, you’d bet­ter put a catcher’s mask on your face be­cause I’m go­ing stomp all over your face with golf spikes be­cause I’m go­ing to 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 in the video.

The bill­board was put up by a lib­eral group not af­fil­i­ated with Wolf’s cam­paign and is or­ga­nized as a “so­cial wel­fare” non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that is not re­quired to dis­close its donors. The bill­board ac­cuses Wag­ner’s waste­haul­ing com­pany, Penn Waste, of su­ing 6,979 Penn­syl­va­ni­ans. Wag­ner sug­gested it was for non­pay­ment of their bills.

“Hey gover­nor, I don’t know whether you know this or not, but if you have a com­pany and you ren­der

a ser­vice ... you want to get paid for that ser­vice,” Wag­ner said in the video.

Wolf has con­sis­tently led in­de­pen­dent polls by dou­ble-dig­its and had a huge cam­paign cash ad­van­tage over Wag­ner of five-to-one as of Sept. 17. Wag­ner has largely self-fi­nanced his cam­paign and weath­ered an ex­pen­sive pri­mary cam­paign.

He has long raised eye­brows for his ref­er­ences to vi­o­lence.

“Threats of vi­o­lence have no place in so­ci­ety, es­pe­cially from some­one run­ning for pub­lic of­fice,” Wolf’s cam­paign said Fri­day. “This is part of an

un­for­tu­nate pat­tern with Scott Wag­ner.”

Wag­ner has used other vi­o­lent im­agery in the past to de­scribe how he would get things done in the Capi­tol as a state se­na­tor. In 2014, he talked about wear­ing gloves to the state­house be­cause things would get bloody, and an­other time he spoke of bring­ing a base­ball bat.

In 2016, de­scrib­ing a bud­get stale­mate, he told a Re­pub­li­can au­di­ence that GOP law­mak­ers had Wolf “down on the floor with our foot on his throat and we let him up. Next time, we won’t let him up.”

A pri­mary ri­val in April

aired a TV ad calling him “vi­o­lent Wag­ner” and teased a video clip from last year when Wag­ner grabbed a cam­era from a cam­paign tracker work­ing for a lib­eral po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion group.

The ad ended with the cap­tion “vi­o­lent Wag­ner ac­cused of bru­tal as­sault.” How­ever, Wag­ner was not charged in the in­ci­dent and the cam­paign tracker did not ap­pear to suf­fer more than a mi­nor fin­ger in­jury.

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