Mudslinging is an unfortunate part of most political races. However, Pennsylvania's gubernatorial election reached an extreme level after one Republican candidate threatened to "stomp" on his opponent's face while wearing golf spikes in a video posted — and then later deleted — to Facebook on Friday.
"Your people said that I've raised the right white flag," GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner said in a video message aimed at his opponent, Pennsylvania's incumbent governor Tom Wolf. "Well, Governor Wolf, let me tell you, 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 because I'm going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania and we're throwing you out of office."
Bustle has reached out to Wagner's campaign for comment.
The video message was posted to Wagner's Facebook page early Friday, drawing at least 28,000 views in just a few hours according to The New York Times. Within 24 hours, however, the video appeared to have been deleted.
"I'm sick and tired of your negative ads," Wagner went on to say in his video. "So, Governor Wolf, I am bound and determined. I am going to vote you out of office. The people of Pennsylvania are going to vote you out of office."
Wolf's campaign has since cited Wagner's video as evidence that the Republican is "unfit" to serve in the office of governor. "Scott Wagner's latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office," both CNN and The Times reported Wolf's campaign communications director, Beth Melena, said in a statement. "Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office."
But in a statement to The Times, Wagner campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo said his candidate's comments "were not to be taken literally."
"He wanted them to be a metaphor for how he will approach the final stretch of the campaign," Romeo explained to The Times.
In a second video shared late Friday, Wagner moved to apologize for his comments, saying he "may have chosen a poor metaphor" and "may have had a poor choice of words."
"I shouldn't have said what I said," Wagner said in that video. "But, you know, the bottom line is we have a governor who refuses to have town hall meetings, who refuses to have debates... I'm getting sick of guys, like Tom Wolf, that have no interest in talking to people. Oh yeah, they say all the right things — they don't mean a single thing they say."
Wagner then went on to imply that his initial video message had been motivated not by anger but by his passion for Pennsylvania. "Trust me when I tell you folks, I'm very passionate," he said. "Don't confuse anger with passion. I will continue to fight for the people of Pennsylvania, that's why I made a decision to run to be the next governor of Pennsylvania."
While it remains unclear how, or if, Wagner's threat will affect him at the ballot box, a poll from September showed Wolf with a hefty 22-point lead over Wagner.