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Wagner puts millions in Pennsylvania gubernatorial run

Marc Levy
Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Republican gubernatorial candidates Paul Mango and Scott Wagner are donating heavily to their campaigns, putting up millions of their own dollars for the right to challenge Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in the November election, according to campaign finance reports disclosed Wednesday.

Seeking the Republican Party's nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's re-election bid, candidates, left to right, Paul Mango, Pennsylvania Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York County, Laura Ellsworth, and Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, participate in a debate, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Wednesday was the deadline for the gubernatorial campaigns to report to state elections officials how they raised and spent money last year.

The campaigns are heading into 2018 with more than $23 million combined in the bank, as the heavy spending season approaches. Mango and Wagner are airing TV ads, likely every day until the May 15 primary election.

Meanwhile, Wolf can nurse his campaign account – at just over $11 million as of Dec. 31 – because he doesn’t have a serious primary challenger. Also in the running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination are state House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and lawyer Laura Ellsworth. All told, the candidates have marshaled more than $33 million for their campaigns, and spent about $9.5 million last year.

More: Governor race: Independent streak seen at GOP candidates’ forum

Wolf’s campaign spent more than $32 million on his successful 2014 campaign for governor. That year, he gave his campaign $10 million, but has said he would not use his own money to support his re-election campaign.

More: Full of optimism, Gov. Wolf prepares for re-election

Here’s how the candidates are doing:

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Mango, a former health care systems consultant, reported $5.5 million in the bank as of Dec. 31 after spending $2.9 million last year. Mango gave himself $6.7 million and reported a $1 million loan from Patrick Hampson, a private equity executive who lives a few blocks from Mango in the Pittsburgh suburb of Gibsonia.

Hampson also gave Mango another $70,000, while Mango received $60,000 from Pittsburgh-based labor union Western Pennsylvania Laborers District Council.

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Wagner, a York County state senator and founder of waste hauler PennWaste, reported $5.9 million in the bank as of Dec. 31 after spending more than $4 million last year, including in-kind contributions. He has given himself more than $7.5 million in loans and other contributions, including investment gains on his campaign donations, transfers from his Senate campaign account and in-kind contributions for things like air transportation and meals.

Wagner drew heavily on the construction industry in south-central Pennsylvania, including about $250,000 apiece from the families that own Kinsley Construction and York Building Products. He also received $135,000 from John Arnold, chairman of Petroleum Products Corp., and $105,000 from John DiSanto, a state senator from suburban Harrisburg who was recruited by Wagner after a successful career in real estate and construction.

FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2017, file photo, Pa. state Sen. Scott Wagner, a Republican from York County and owner of trash hauling firm Penn Waste, speaks to reporters after formally announcing he will run for Pennsylvania governor in 2018, during an event at a Penn Waste facility in Manchester, Pa. U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican planning to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's bid for re-election in 2018, and Wagner, planning to challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's attempt to win a second term in 2018, were both early supporters of Trump, and remain unabashed supporters of the president. (AP Photo/Marc Levy, File)

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Wolf’s campaign reported more than $4.7 million in donations from labor unions last year, plus another $1 million from Fairness PA, a political action committee that supports Democratic candidates and accepted donations in the past year from labor unions, trial lawyers and prominent Democratic Party donors from the Philadelphia area. Wolf also pulled down $250,000 from the Democratic Governors Association.

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks at a news conference at The Fresh Grocer in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf wants to require that employers pay overtime wages to hundreds of thousands of lower-paid Pennsylvanians. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Turzai’s campaign reported just over $1 million in the bank as of Dec. 31 and Ellsworth’s campaign reported about $417,000 on hand.