THE FOUR Democrats seeking to challenge Gov. Corbett's bid for a second term entered the last two weeks of their primary race with goals well-defined.
Tom Wolf wants to stay in character as the calm, confident, in-command front-runner.
Allyson Schwartz seeks to reclaim her mantle as the liberal lioness leading the pack.
Rob McCord strives to emphasize his endorsements while continuing as the troublemaker.
And Katie McGinty hopes Schwartz and McCord do the job of tearing down Wolf while failing to elevate themselves.
With polls showing Wolf holding a commanding double-digit lead, a 6ABC debate taped yesterday turned often to his career running a business that supplies kitchen cabinets and his service in 2001 as chairman for the mayor of York's re-election campaign.
Wolf, a former state Revenue secretary and onetime Peace Corps volunteer, tried to close the deal with primary voters after dominating the field with early and strong television commercials about his life story.
"It's a very compelling story and it's true," Wolf said after Schwartz and McCord challenged elements of that narrative.
Schwartz attempted the difficult maneuver of holding Wolf accountable for financial problems with his company after he sold it and before he purchased it back and resolved those problems.
She complained that he was "leaving out part of the story" but later acknowledged that Wolf was not responsible for the company when its problems arose.
McCord, who five times cited his endorsements by the Inquirer and Philadelphia Gay News, again said that Wolf had "failed the leadership test" based on the 2001 York mayoral campaign.
York Mayor Charles Robertson won the primary election but withdrew from the general election after he was charged with murder in the 1969 death of a black woman during a race riot.
Two men were convicted in 2002 for that killing; Robertson was acquitted.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. have condemned a McCord TV commercial about that.
Wolf said he had a "professional relationship" with Robertson that ended after he was "instrumental" in getting him to withdraw from the election.
McGinty largely stayed above the fray, noting three times that she is not a "career politician."
The debate airs on 6ABC at 5 p.m. tomorrow and 1 p.m. Sunday.
A federal political-action committee started making "independent expenditures" this week to air a commercial supporting state Rep. Brendan Boyle in the May 20 primary election for the 13th District U.S. House seat.
A line in that ad knocks Boyle's primary foes, claiming he will "protect a woman's right to choose and will protect Planned Parenthood."
NARAL Pro-Choice America and Emily's List teamed up yesterday to announce a direct-mail campaign that aims to paint Boyle as "two-faced" on the issue.
The groups cite Boyle's 2011 vote for legislation that increased regulations for abortion clinics.
Former U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies, another Democrat in the race, sought to capitalize yesterday with a news conference citing the six abortion clinics that closed due to the legislation.
State Sen. Daylin Leach and Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, the other candidates, also have questioned Boyle's position on abortion.
Boyle's campaign yesterday denounced all that as "predictably desperate and misleading last-minute attacks."
"And for state rep, Brendan Boyle. Twice!"
- U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city's Democratic chairman, calling endorsed candidates onto the stage Monday at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. Boyle is running simultaneously for the U.S. House and a fourth term in his 170th District state House seat in the primary election.