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Pennsylvania Dem Senate Candidate Called Republicans ‘Devoid of Substance and Full of Rhetoric’

Katie McGinty running on her ability to overcome ‘hyper-partisanship’

Katie McGinty
Katie McGinty / AP
• November 5, 2015 3:30 pm

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Katie McGinty is running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania as a Democrat who can work across the aisle, but internal emails show that during recent budget negotiations McGinty had poor relationships with Republicans.

McGinty was chief of staff for Gov. Tom Wolf before she resigned on July 23 to run for the Senate. She left her post amid a brutal budget fight between Wolf and the state’s Republican legislature that still has not been resolved.

McGinty was brought on to "help [Wolf] work with Republicans and Democrats to move Pennsylvania forward," but she had many choice words for GOP members of the state legislature while on his staff, according to an internal email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Writing on July 15 to a former colleague with whom McGinty had worked on the staff of Gov. Ed Rendell, McGinty attacked Jake Corman and Joe Scarnati, two members of the state senate’s Republican leadership, as "devoid of substance and full of rhetoric and posturing" and said "Jake and Joe are shadows of their former selves."

McGinty added that "the governor is on the side of the public and that lends strength and resolve" to their position in the budget battle.

McGinty’s message came in response to an email stating that a compromise over the budget was not feasible due to "the nature" of Republican opposition and an assurance that "in the end both you and the governor’s agenda will prevail."

Critics say this type of thinking has kept the sides from agreeing on a budget.

Wolf vetoed a budget bill passed in the legislature within hours of receiving it, a rare instance of a governor rejecting a budget bill in its entirety. He would later veto a stopgap funding bill that would have allowed for school funding.

McGinty’s rhetoric in comments to the press regarding her Republican counterparts was so harsh that she was temporarily excluded from budget negotiations.

Some in Pennsylvania applauded McGinty’s run for Senate, hoping her exit from the Wolf administration would allow for compromise in the budget battle.

Republicans say that McGinty quit her job with Wolf because she was unable to work across the aisle.

"When the going got tough, Katie McGinty got going­—quitting her job in the midst of difficult state budget negotiations because she couldn’t handle working across the aisle," said Alleigh Marré, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senate Committee.

The McGinty campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

McGinty has long hailed her ability to work with Republicans, making it one of the cornerstones of her failed 2014 campaign for governor.

"I’m not a career politician, but I’ve got a track record as a problem solver," McGinty told a local paper in 2014. "Someone who brings people together, solves tough problems, and gets stuff done."

McGinty argued that it was her being a woman that gave her such a knack for creating a "collaborative environment" that could overcome the "hyper-partisanship" in Pennsylvania.

"Women often have the knack of creating that kind of collaborative environment. I think people would like that in a governor," said McGinty.

McGinty got last place in the 2014 Democratic primary for governor, bringing in less than 10 percent of the vote.

Published under: 2016 Election, Katie McGinty