- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The first reports showing who is giving money to prospective candidates for governor in Pennsylvania revealed Friday that the campaigns collected roughly $34 million in 2013.

Withdrawals from the candidates’ own bank accounts and transfers from past campaigns accounted for about half of the total, underscoring the symbolic importance of the campaign finance reports as an early test of the candidates’ strength.

Another huge chunk of the contributions came from wealthy people, while labor unions, interest groups and party fundraisers also made sizable donations.

The state’s deadline for the first campaign finance filings in the governor’s race applied to Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, and the eight Democrats who have lined up to challenge him in the November election.

Democrat Tom Wolf, a York businessman, chipped in $10 million of his own money on his way to raising more than $13 million - far more than any of the other candidates.

Wolf’s total included $1 million from Tim Grumbacher, chairman of the Bon-Ton Stores. He also raised six-figure donations from his father, a cousin and a fellow York businessman, Louis J. Appell Jr.

Corbett raised $6.8 million, with his biggest contributions from Philadelphia cable TV mogul and philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest and the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association, which is headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Lenfest gave $250,000 and the RGA gave $210,000.

Among the Democrats, state Treasurer Rob McCord raised $6.6 million, including 2013 activity in another political committee, $1.3 million left over from his 2012 campaign for treasurer and $1.7 million in personal loans. Al Lord, a Philadelphia native and Penn State alum who is the former CEO of student lending giant Sallie Mae, gave McCord $500,000.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz reported just over $6.5 in contributions, including $3.4 million from her congressional campaign committee, $150,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 in Philadelphia and $132,000 from Emily’s List, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights.

Katie McGinty, a former environmental adviser to the Clinton White House and former Gov. Ed Rendell, reported raising nearly $2.4 million, including a $235,000 loan from herself.

John Hanger, who also served in Rendell’s Cabinet as environmental protection secretary, reported raising nearly $1 million, but most of the money came from his own pocket and a line of credit on his home. In an interview, Hanger said he pumped $750,000 into the campaign, including $430,000 in cash and a $320,000 line of credit on his home secured by Fulton Bank.

Still, Hanger’s campaign did not let the day go by without slamming the culture of big-money donations and the importance of fundraising over ideas.

“Today the pundits will focus on who has more and who has less money, instead of who offers the best solutions for the problems faced by the people of Pennsylvania,” his campaign said.

The real story, he said, should be that “Big Money is trying to buy another election” and he called for scrapping Pennsylvania’s campaign finance law that allows unlimited individual campaign donations in favor of laws under which gubernatorial elections are publicly financed.

Another candidate, little-known Pentecostal minister Max Myers from suburban Harrisburg reported raising about $30,000 while Jo Ellen Litz, a Lebanon County commissioner, reported raising $4,000.

A campaign finance report for Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was not available Friday evening. Asked if Pawlowski would remain in the race, his campaign manager, Mike Fleck, would only say that Pawlowski will give details Sunday about a news conference where he will speak Monday.

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