The Governor serves as the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth, and through his or her cabinet, controls all state departments and agencies. The Governor's legislative authority includes the preparation of state budgets, the proposal of legislation to the General Assembly, and the power to veto legislation (subject to the override of a two-thirds majority in each General Assembly chamber). The Governor's law enforcement powers include command of the State Police and the Pennsylvania National Guard. The Governor also has the power to grant pardons and reprieves of convicted criminals.

Democratic Candidates

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Tom Wolf (D) - WINNER

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Before being elected governor in 2014, Tom Wolf served in state government under Democratic Governors Bob Casey (in economic development and urban schools) and Ed Rendell (Secretary of Revenue). Born in 1948 and raised in York County, Wolf received a BA from Dartmouth College, an MA from University of London and a PhD (in political science) from MIT, and volunteered in India for the Peace Corps before going into his family’s building-products distribution business, which he sold in 2015. Wolf and his wife, Frances, live in Mt. Wolf, PA. They have two grown daughters.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...I’ve enacted the strongest executive branch ethics reforms in the country. I signed an executive order banning members of my administration from accepting gifts and ended pay-to-play in legal contracting. I publish my schedule publicly every day, do not accept a pension, and donate my salary to charity. 

I recently announced my Citizens First Ethics Reform Plan which will take these reforms even further by calling for a gift ban for all public officials, "No Budget, No Pay" legislation, campaign finance reform, and public official expense reform. I’m dedicated to continuing my commitment to building a government that works for everybody.

If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is...I will continue to work tirelessly to protect our citizens’ constitutional right to free and fair elections. Pennsylvania has been on the wrong side of voting rights reform for far too long, enacting policies that make voting more difficult, give special interests too much power, and make politicians less accountable to the people.

I recently proposed a 21st Century Voting Reform plan. This includes adopting same day voter registration, automatic voter registration, modernizing absentee ballots, campaign finance reform, and gerrymandering reform. If reelected, I will continue to advocate for voting reform to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to fair elections.

If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...I will never vote for legislation that restricts Pennsylvanians’ access to free and fair elections. 

I have been steadfast in my opposition to partisan gerrymandering. I rejected a map proposed by Republicans that was unconstitutionally gerrymandered. As a result, the Court drew a new, fair map that Pennsylvanians have long deserved. 

Gerrymandering weakens citizen power, promotes gridlock and stifles meaningful reform. I will continue my opposition to any further attempts to subvert our democratic process. I have called for an independent redistricting commission, and I will not support legislation that puts more control in the hands of special interests.

Republican Candidates

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Laura Ellsworth (R)

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Attorney Laura Ellsworth, 59, is a first-time candidate with extensive civic and government experience, having chaired the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and serving on three state boards under Gov. Tom Corbett, among many other endeavors. Professionally, she ran the Pittsburgh office of an international law firm from 2003 to 2015 before becoming its first Partner-in-Charge of Global Community Service Initiatives. Gov. Ed Rendell named her one of Pennsylvania’s Top Businesswomen. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Ellsworth is married to longtime federal prosecutor Bruce Teitlebaum. They have a college-age son.

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Paul Mango (R)

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First-time candidate Paul Mango, 59, retired in 2017 from an international management-consulting firm where he focused on health care and rose to director during a 29-year career. An Allegheny County resident (Pine Township), Mango grew up in upstate New York and attended West Point, graduating in 1981 with a BS in engineering. His military career included a stint as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. After being discharged, he earned a MBS from Harvard Business School in 1986. Mango and his wife, Dawn, are the parents of five grown daughters.

One big thing I've accomplished that voters should know about is...Over 25 years, I led a team that built a $500M global health care business. We helped hospitals build patient-centered care models. Gov. Wolf’s Medicaid expansion is a fiscal ticking time bomb, and Obamacare has been a disaster for Pennsylvania. It will cost us about $500M more each year in the future. I would prioritize chronic care treatment, innovation, cost transparency, and legal reform. Washington will never solve Pennsylvania’s health care problems. While I have severed all ties with my previous job (I am the only candidate who has left my job, and I will refuse a salary or pension as Governor), my experiences in health care will help me to tackle these complex challenges.
If elected, one thing I'd work tirelessly to achieve is...Bringing our jobs and our children home to Pennsylvania. Each year, politicians fight over higher taxes or less spending. Meanwhile, our deficit grows annually due to the Medicaid expansion and our bloated pensions. The only way out of this mess is to grow the economy. My platform, Restore the Dream, identifies five specific industries where Pennsylvania is positioned to lead—energy, advanced manufacturing, cell biology/drug discovery, agriculture, and tourism. Next, it describes the steps we would need to take to foster growth, including reducing our business tax rate, strengthening our infrastructure, and reconstituting our skilled labor. Please learn more at www.mangoforpa.com.
If elected, one thing I'd never vote for is...The “bathroom bill” co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Wagner. I oppose discrimination against anyone. We must also protect religious freedom and the privacy of our children. This legislation has already been used elsewhere to shut down faith-based charities that do amazing work. Philadelphia is now forcing Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities to close, meaning that kids will not be placed in foster homes so bureaucrats can enforce their own social agenda. It’s wrong, and I will not support it as Governor. We should be empowering all types of local organizations who know best the populations they serve, not driving more people into learned helplessness through government dependence.
  • scott wagner

Scott Wagner (R) - WINNER

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State Sen. Scott Wagner, the GOP state committee’s endorsed gubernatorial candidate, represents a district in York County, where he has lived his entire life. The owner of waste-hauling and trucking firms, Wagner, 62, opened his first business two years after graduating from Dallastown Area High School in 1973. He entered the Senate after winning a 2014 special election as a write-in candidate---the first in PA Senate history to do so---and now chairs its Local Government Committee. The father of two grown daughters, Wagner lives in Spring Garden Township with his wife Tracy, a former trucking company owner.

For questions about Seventy's Voter Guide, please contact bettergov@seventy.org.