October 13, 2018 / 1:49 AM / 3 days ago

Pennsylvania Republican candidate threatens to stomp on opponents face

(In this October 12 story corrects third paragraph to attribute the quote to “Wagner,” not “Wolf” as written)

(Reuters) - The Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania threatened to stomp on the face of his Democratic opponent in a social media video on Friday and then walked back his comments, saying he made a mistake in his choice of words.

Republican Scott Wagner is trailing well behind incumbent Democrat Tom Wolf in the polls ahead of the Nov. 6 election, and the video posted on Wagner’s campaign Facebook page was part of an acrimonious battle in one of most populous U.S. states.

“Governor Wolf, let me tell you what, between now and Nov. 6, you’d better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes,” Wagner said in the video.

A few hours later, the video was taken down. Wagner explained: “I may have chosen a poor metaphor. I shouldn’t have said what I said.”

On his Facebook page, Wolf encouraged people to share the original video if they agreed that “Scott Wagner should not be the governor of Pennsylvania.”

The video with Wagner’s threat set off a social media storm and attracted the attention of a few prominent Republicans, including Steve Scalise, the No. 3 three Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“These comments are totally unacceptable. As I’ve said many times before, there is absolutely no place in our politics for this kind of rhetoric, said Scalise, who battled for his life after he was shot by a gunman who opened fire on Republican lawmakers during baseball practice in 2017.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Leslie Adler

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