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Next Governor of Pa. likely to be a 'Tom' but not necessarily Corbett

Tom Wolf - Democrat candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania
Tom Wolf - Democrat candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania
Tom Wolf for PA (CC)

Gov. Tom Corbett should be getting at least a little nervous about his re-election chances at this point. It's starting to look like there's a strong front-runner in the field of Democrat candidates for his office, and he's doing a better than average job of selling himself as a "man for the people."

Tom Wolf is reaping the benefits of a media campaign right now, and his message is resonating with Pennsylvanians that are tired of broken promises. Property tax savings that were supposed to come as a result of casino income haven't materialized. Corbett, in spite of having the benefit of a Republican majority in the legislature, has been a non-starter on his legislative agenda, failing to privatize either of the bloated State departments he claimed he'd get out of the taxpayers' pocketbooks - the Lottery Commission, or the Liquor Control Board. While it's not likely that Wolf will pick up either of those issues, he is addressing the fact that Corbett hasn't pushed for extraction taxes on companies like Range Resources, pointing out that it's time for Pennsylvania to stop being the only state in the union that doesn't levy that kind of tax on business. Corbett's logic had theoretically been to stimulate the economy in general, keeping natural gas costs down for Pennsylvanians by not taxing for extraction. That plan didn't work out exactly as he'd hoped, thanks to Federal regulations costing the companies instead.

Of course one hard question for Wolf will be about those natural gas rates, but voters probably won't be very rough on him, if the current trend continues. He has an easy lead in the pack of Democrats, and more importantly, he's leading Corbett in a Quinnipiac Poll, 52-33.

The primary isn't until May 20, so it is still a bit early for Wolf to start celebrating anything. However, once the Democrats pick their candidate, the numbers will be far more clear. It's not looking very good for Corbett regardless, though. Unless he manages to accomplish something major in the run up to the election, it's likely he'll be a one-term governor.