- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates sprinted toward the finish line Friday, going town to town and rally to rally making their final pitches and encouraging their supporters to cast ballots and get everyone they know to join them.

Democrat Tom Wolf and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett are also mounting a new wave of attacks on each other as they vie for every last advantage in an election where turnout is expected to be lower than other recent midterm elections.

“Contact your veterans. Go to your social halls. Go to the VFW and the American Legion, all the other halls,” Corbett told a gathering of veterans in downtown Carlisle supporting the former Pennsylvania Army National Guard member. “Talk about this race. And explain in this race there is a clear, clear, clear choice.”

Corbett is seeking a second four-year term in Tuesday’s election, while Wolf is trying to make Corbett the first governor to lose a re-election bid since Pennsylvania in 1970 began allowing its governors to serve eight years. Pollsters are projecting turnout to be lower than in past midterm elections; turnout was slightly above 50 percent in 2006 and about 47 percent in 2010.

Wolf has held a substantial lead on Corbett since he won the four-way Democratic primary in May, but recent polls show Corbett narrowing the gap.

The choice, it seems, will be one between Corbett, a conservative who promises to keep taxes as low as possible, and Wolf, a liberal who is pledging to slap higher taxes on the thriving natural gas industry and restructure Pennsylvania’s income tax to shift a bigger burden to the wealthy, raise school spending and cut property taxes. Corbett accuses Wolf of pursuing a big government, big spending and tax-hiking agenda; Wolf accuses Corbett of favoring moneyed interests and balancing budgets on the backs of the middle class, public schools and the poor.

With President Barack Obama arriving Sunday to boost Wolf in a rally at Temple University in Philadelphia, Corbett is trying to capitalize on Obama’s sagging popularity in Pennsylvania and has begun airing radio and TV ads telling voters that Wolf will try to further the president’s agenda.

“Tom Wolf may just be Barack Obama’s biggest fan. Like Obama, Wolf’s a liberal. Like Obama, Wolf has never met a tax increase he didn’t like,” says the Corbett campaign’s newest ad.

Meanwhile, Wolf is hitting back with perhaps his sharpest TV ad yet, calling Corbett “desperate and dishonest” in his attacks on Wolf’s plan to restructure the income tax. He also brings up the budget bill Corbett signed in 2011 and the transportation funding package he signed in 2013, calling Corbett the author of a $1 billion cut in education funding and a 28-cent per-gallon tax increase on gas.

The campaign action Friday and through the weekend was focused on eastern Pennsylvania.

On Friday, Wolf attended rallies in Stroudsburg, Allentown, Quakertown and Phoenixville. On Saturday, he will be in Philadelphia, Chester and Media before the Sunday rally with Obama.

Corbett was campaigning Friday in Selinsgrove, Chambersburg, Carlisle and Annville, including a lunchtime event with potential presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. On Saturday, he will hopscotch from Harrisburg to Wilkes-Barre and spend Sunday in southeastern Pennsylvania, including a rally with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another potential presidential candidate.

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