HARRISBURG - A conservative group's shoot-'em-up fund-raising event is setting off fireworks across the political landscape - and has some candidates running for the hills.

The Commonwealth Foundation is offering attendees at its May 8 "LiveFreePA" fund-raiser and candidates' forum in Lancaster County the chance to "fire a few rounds into a beat-up car bearing anti-freedom messages and icons."

On Tuesday, foundation president Matt Brouillette wrote in an e-mail sent to media and foundation supporters: ". . . I hope you'll join us May 8th to pump a few rounds (or fire a cannon . . .) into a beat-up truck bearing anti-freedom-policy ideas like 'ObamaCare,' 'Card Check,' 'Cap and Trade,' and other failed, wealth-redistributionist ideas."

Apparently, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Wagner, who is listed on the Foundation's Web site as a confirmed guest, suddenly had scheduling problems and backed out. Now, even Republican state committee-endorsed lieutenant governor candidate Jim Cawley, it appears, is having second thoughts. He told Capitolwire.com that he would have to "take a look" at the activities before commenting.

The GOP candidates for U.S. Senate (former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik) and governor (Attorney General Tom Corbett and House Rep. Sam Rohrer) are on the attendees list.

Calls to Corbett's campaign and the Attorney General's Office were not returned.

Also invited was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel. "Right-wingers have trouble talking straight," he said. "I sure hope they can shoot straight."

Hoeffel, who acknowledged he would not attend, said he didn't think there was anything sinister about the fund-raising activity, but called it a "disturbing" symptom of the country's "divisive politics."

Brouillette sent out another blast e-mail to drum up attendance and accused Hoeffel of not having a sense of humor.

"You know what? If I were a nanny-stater, I wouldn't show up either," Brouillette wrote. "And I sure wouldn't want you to come, have a good time, and show these politicians what gun safety and a sense of humor look like, and be encouraged to keep fighting for freedom."

Contact staff writer Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or aworden@phillynews.com.