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Republican Race For Governor Is The Top Billing In Pa. Primary

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With little time left, the Republican candidates for governor campaigned in Pittsburgh over the weekend and on Monday.

"It's been 18 months of a sprint, but the last 72 hours is a real sprint, but it's been fun," said Paul Mango.

paul mango
(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Fletcher Rumbaugh)

Mango, a Pittsburgh business consultant, was out pressing the flesh at Peace, Love & Little Donuts in Monroeville and pitching his conservative business record as an outsider to politics.

"We think we have the message and the leadership profile that Pennsylvanians most want in the next governor," Mango said.

At an election eve rally in Washington County, Mango said his main goal is to restore people's confidence in the American Dream.

Mango told a crowd of supporters, "If you're anywhere under 35-, or 40-years-old, and you were born and bred here, you only know a few things - that factories close, companies leave, that jobs leave, and that every 10 years, we lose a couple of Congressional seats."

KDKA's Ralph Iannotti Reports:

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York County Pennsylvania Sen. Scott Wagner started his Monday at Our Diner in Imperial, stressing his own anti-tax views.

"My mission, it's really about Pennsylvania's paychecks -- the paychecks of today, tomorrow, and the future," said Wagner, "and Harrisburg needs to get its financial house in order, and everybody who's getting more money in their paychecks should keep it."

He was the biggest spender in the Republican campaign, and the endorsed candidate. During his Monday campaign stops, the millionaire waste hauling businessman was looking ahead to the November election.

"I employ 600 people in my three companies. Our employees are seeing more money in their paychecks because of the federal tax cut. I ask them how they'd feel if Gov. Wolf decided to take that away, and they said they didn't like that," he said.

scott wagner
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Despite the positive spin Monday, much of the campaign between Mango and Wagner was a form of character assault calling each other dead-beats, phonys, and liars.

Both Mango and Wagner defend their tactics.

"Our ads were factual. They weren't negative in any way. I did not engage in any personal attacks," Wagner insists.

If you're going to hop into a game like this, you got to be able to take it. You got to be able to throw a few punches, too," says Mango.

The third candidate -- Pittsburgh attorney Laura Ellsworth -- who wrapped up her campaign in Ohio Township Park -- said the two men had raced to the bottom.

laura ellsworth
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"Here's what I'm hearing from voters. They want somebody who is an outsider, who will get things done, and who will listen and believe in a civil, decent approach to the world," said Ellsworth. "And when I turn my back, people look at each other and say, you know, we could use a woman governor because that's what women deliver."

Pennsylvania has never had a woman governor; although, the Republican party did nominate a woman to run against the late Gov. Bob Casey. Remember Barbara Hafer?

Polls last week showed Ellsworth in third place, but closing in on Mango with Wagner in the lead.

"I think it turns people off to politics where we should be bringing them in, and make them understand that this is theirs," said Ellsworth. "One of the reasons I got into this is because I saw the need to instill civility, and integrity into the political process, and I think because of that, people are coming over to us."

According to that Susquehanna Poll, nearly one-quarter of Republicans were still undecided.

That means the race is wide open.

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