Scott Wagner, the Republican presidential candidate in Pennsylvania, wanted to send a message to incumbent Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, three weeks before Election Day. He said in part, "I'll stomp you with golf spikes all over my face."
This violent imagery was perhaps the most touching of several verbal bombs thrown by Mr. Wagner in a video on Facebook on Friday, as the country approaches the home stretch of a tense campaign season. On Friday afternoon, the video had been seen over 28,000 times.
"Well, Governor Wolf, let me tell you, by the 6th of November, you better put a catcher mask on your face, for I'll do it pounding with golf spikes across your face," roared Mr. Wagner, as the noise passing cars could be heard nearby. "Because I'm going to win that for the state of Pennsylvania, and we're throwing you out because I'm fed up with your negative views."
It is not surprising that Mr. Wolf's campaign condemned Mr. Wagner's comments.
"Scott Wagner's latest tirade shows that he is starving and unfit," spokeswoman Beth Melena said in a statement. "Violent acts have no place in society, especially not by someone who works for public office."
But Andrew Romeo, a spokesman for Mr. Wagner, said in a statement that his "comments should not be taken literally." 19659002] "He wanted them to be a metaphor for how he would approach the last leg of the campaign," said Mr. Romeo. The video should argue that Mr. Wolf had "hidden behind false and negative attack ads, coward," he said.
The negative ad that so enraged Wagner and that he showed during his Facebook video claimed that the garbage disposal company he owns had sued Penn Waste 6,999 of his customers.
Mr. Wagner defended the lawsuits and said they were a necessary part of getting the delinquent customers to pay their bills. "If you have a company and provide a service, you want to be paid for it," he said. 19659011] Surveys suggest that Mr. Wagner, a state senator, may have problems throwing Mr. W out of service. A poll released last month by Franklin & Marshall College showed that he left the incumbent 22 points, 30 to 52 percent, among voters with 17 percent of voters. Fifty percent of respondents said Mr. Wolf did an "excellent" or "good" job as governor.
Recovery in Pennsylvania is a major priority this year for the Democratic Party, which staggered as the state voted for President Trump in 2016. Along with Michigan and Wisconsin, it was one of three states that were considered reliable blue whose votes contributed to Mr. Trump's decision.
Political terrain suggests that Democrats have reason to hope in November. Republican candidates face voters, especially in suburban areas that do not feel comfortable with Mr. Trump. And earlier this year, the Supreme Court ordered a redesign of the congressional districts of Pennsylvania, which were considered partisan Gerrymander favoring the Republicans.