Mango Ad Backfiring Across Pennsylvania

Turns Off Voters At Pennsylvania Leadership Conference 

Last week, Paul Mango launched against Scott Wagner what Terry Madonna called “the most brutal” television attack ad in the history of modern Pennsylvania politics. While Mango may have approved the ad, riddled with false character smears, in the hopes of cutting into Wagner’s strong lead, the cartoon spot  is actually having the opposite impact on the state of the race.

First off, Mango’s justification for airing the false attack was that he had previously warned Wagner to take down an ad that points out the fact that Mango advocated for Obamacare. (PennLive, 4/5/18)

Therefore, Mango has admitted he has stooped to a new low solely because Scott Wagner did not adhere to his threats.  Mango never made such a demand to Wagner, and if he did, Wagner would not have taken his policy / political contrast ad down, as it has been fact checked as legitimate by PennLive

Mango’s ad, on the other hand, has received criticism from members of the media in Pennsylvania:

  • “As for whether Wagner is a deadbeat dad, court records reveal a very contentious divorce that Wagner had nearly a decade ago. A judge found that he understated his income, so upped his alimony and child support, ordering him to pay $800,000 over the next seven years. There is nothing to indicate that he has missed any of those payments.” (KDKA, 4/6/18)
  • “That the mudslinging by Mango is unbecoming of an officer goes without saying. So let us say that it is disgusting and vile, and demeans Mango more than it damages Wagner because it reveals a lack of respect for voters, the electoral process and our democracy. Not to mention the dishonesty.” (Intelligencer, 4/8/18)
Republican leaders and grassroots conservatives also took issue with Mango’s ad. 
  • Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio lead the charging stating,“Having spent time with Paul Mango, I am surprised and disappointed he would go to these depths to assail a fellow Republican. Personal attacks like this hurt our democratic process and will only serve to undermine the chances of achieving what must be our shared goal –  defeating Tom Wolf, America’s most liberal Governor. “The fact is, Paul Mango’s claims against Scott Wagner have already been heard and rejected by the elected state committee members, who at our meeting in February, overwhelmingly endorsed Scott Wagner to be our candidate for Governor  “For the good of our party and our commonwealth, it is time we rise above personal attacks and focus on substantive solutions to the problems facing Pennsylvanians. As such, I call on Paul Mango to take down this misleading attack ad.” (Statement, 4/6/18)
Additionally, Republicans who attended the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (PLC) in Harrisburg this weekend were interviewed by ABC27 about Mango’s ad. Their views of it were overwhelmingly critical. 
  • Senator John Eichelberger: “I think that’s over the top… The guy that is winning in all this is Tom Wolf. Those kinds of ads just cost a lot of money, they beat up on the Republican ticket and they will help devalue that ticket as we move forward into the fall.”
  • Central Caucus GOP Chairman Dick Stuart: “ I used to have respect for Paul Mango…I’ve lost all respect with these type of false ads. I find them to be very sleazy.”
  • Hampden Township Commissioner Al Bienstock:  “Despicable… He’s sinking to the lowest level of what should be political discourse and I’m ashamed for him.”
  •  Young Republican Nicole Witmer: “I don’t know if Mango would win any new votes with that ad. I can see a lot of people would be very disgusted with it.”

Watch the full segment HERE.

Those anecdotal opinions of Mango’s ad proved to be representative of what the overall crowd at the PLC thought of it. In a straw poll that was taken after candidates spoke about the ad during a forum, Wagner rolled to victory and Mango fell below Laura Ellsworth.

  • “Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango’s attack television ad against GOP opponent state Sen. Scott Wagner did not impress Republican primary voters. A straw poll taken Saturday at the state’s largest annual gathering of conservatives, the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Harrisburg, showed 45 percent would vote for Wagner, 23 percent would vote for Laura Ellsworth and 18 percent would vote for Mango.”  (Reading Eagle, 4/8/18)
It seems voters are seeing through Mango’s attack and rallying behind Scott Wagner and his determination to stick to the issues. 
  • As PennLive’s John Micek reported: “As they separately addressed an annual gathering of Pennsylvania conservatives, a defiant Wagner shot back a few minutes later: Keep it coming, if that’s what you have to do. Then that’s what you’re going to have to do.” (PennLive, 4/7/18)