HARRISBURG - York County businessman Tom Wolf leads all Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates in money spent on the race as fundraising by all the candidates approached the $40 million mark, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday, six weeks out from the primary election.
The four Democrats and two Republicans raised $5.3 million between Jan. 1 and March 31, on top of the roughly $34 million they collected last year.
Democratic front-runner Wolf revealed he spent by far the most, including nearly $4.5 million on the TV ads he launched in late January that are widely credited for his surge in early polling. That accounted for most of his $5.4 million in expenditures over the three-month period, which also included $143,000 for online ads and services, $113,000 for polling and $26,000 for fundraising.
Wolf, who donated $10 million - some of it borrowed from a bank - to his campaign, raised $611,000 during the last reporting period, bringing his campaign total to about $14 million. He reported having $7.1 million in cash - more than any other candidate - as of March 31.
Wolf's biggest contributions included $200,000 from fellow York businessman Louis Appell and $50,000 from George Hodges, chairman of the York Water Co.
On the Republican side, Gov. Tom Corbett, who faces token opposition in the GOP primary, took in $1.4 million, pushing his total to nearly $9 million. After nearly $3 million in expenditures in the last three months, he had almost $6 million on hand.
Corbett's biggest contributors included John S. Middleton, a Philadelphia Phillies co-owner and major GOP donor, who gave $250,000. Contributions from the highway construction industry zoomed past the $160,000 mark and the political committee and chief executive of Ohio-based coal mine operator Murray Energy gave Corbett's campaign at least $50,000.
The governor's campaign spent heavily on its media strategy, cutting more than $1.7 million in checks to its media consultant.
Corbett's only foe in the GOP primary, Ardmore conservative activist Bob Guzzardi, reported raising $4,500 and spending $4,100. A challenge to Guzzardi's nomination petition is pending in state Commonwealth Court.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz raised more money than any other candidate between January and March - $1.6 million - bringing her campaign total to about $8 million.
Schwartz's biggest contributor was Emily's List, a national group that works to elect women who support abortion rights, which gave her $355,000. She also received $50,000 from the Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Philadelphia.
Democratic state Treasurer Rob McCord lagged in contributions, pulling in $568,000 and giving his campaign a total of $7.2 million.
McCord was helped by his allies in organized labor. He received $75,000 from the Mid-Atlantic Laborers' Political League and $50,000 from the Teamsters' DRIVE committee. He also received a pair of $50,000 contributions from two Philadelphia-area executives.
McCord spent more than $2 million on TV advertising and reported more than $2 million in unpaid debts, including loans from himself and wealthy supporters.
Katie McGinty, a former state environmental protection secretary, reported contributions of $1.1 million that boosted her campaign total to $3.5 million. A big chunk of that was from her own bank account, a $300,000 loan to her campaign for a total of $535,000, including last year. She also took in several big sums, including $150,000 from Stephen Silberstein, a California-based software company founder and philanthropist.