During a short Facebook live segment Friday morning, Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner came up with a very specific threat against his opponent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
“Between now and November 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes,” said Wagner, who is trailing Wolf in the polls. “Because I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re throwing you out of office because I’m sick and tired of your negative ads.”
Wagner stood under a billboard in York, Pennsylvania, that features a negative ad about him. The ad criticizes his trash-hauling company for being too harsh in suing customers who were late on their bills.
“I want to puke when I see those ads,” Wagner said.
A spokesman for Wagner told HuffPost the comments were just a figure of speech.
“Scott’s comments were not to be taken literally,” Andrew Romeo said. “He wanted them to be a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign. Tom Wolf has spent the entire race hiding behind false and negative attack ads like a coward instead of debating in front of the people of Pennsylvania and Scott will spend the last month of the race making it clear to voters why they should not give him a second term.”
Wagner accused “Tom Wolf and his Democrat cronies” of putting up the ad last month, but it was actually paid for by a Democratic-leaning advocacy group called PA Spotlight. The Wolf campaign has said it has no affiliation with the group and has not commented on the billboard.
The campaign’s communications director, Beth Melena, denounced Wagner’s remarks.
“Scott Wagner’s latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office,” she told HuffPost. “Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office. This is part of an unfortunate pattern with Scott Wagner.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) also spoke out against Wagner’s remarks, calling them “totally unacceptable”
The Pennsylvanian GOP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article has been updated with comment from Romeo and Scalise.