Former state Auditor General Jack Wagner said he did something Wednesday that he has never done — dropped out of a race.
“The financial reality set in,” said Wagner, who was the only Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate from Western Pennsylvania. “I realized it was virtually impossible to compete with the other candidates, especially due to the fact that I got into the race so late.”
Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to withdraw and remove their names from the May 20 ballot.
Wagner, 66, of Beechview is a former Pittsburgh City Council president and state senator. He ran and lost Democratic primaries for lieutenant governor in 2002, governor in 2010 and mayor of Pittsburgh in 2013.
Wagner entered the 2014 governor’s race in late February, long after other candidates began raising money, campaigning and gathering campaign petition signatures.
That made it difficult to gain a financial foothold, he said.
“So many people were either committed to other candidates or sitting this race out,” he said.
When he entered the race, Wagner expected to be outspent but said his experience and Pittsburgh-area roots would play in his favor.
“Obviously, I felt strongly about running or I would not have jumped in,” he said. “I was the only moderate Democrat running to reform government.”
He does not plan to endorse a candidate.
Four candidates remain in the Democratic race: York County businessman Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Montgomery County, state Treasurer Rob McCord, and former state Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty of Chester County.
Salena Zito covers politics for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-320-7879 or [email protected].