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Scott Wagner, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, released an aggressive campaign video on Facebook Friday in which he vowed to "stomp all over" his opponent’s "face with golf spikes."
Wagner makes the startling threat to his Democratic opponent, incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf.
"Between now and Nov. 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," Wagner, a former state senator, says in the video.
"Because you know what, I'm sick and tired of your negative ads," Wagner adds.
In other parts of the video, Wagner complains at length about Wolf's ads and what he calls his lack of understanding of small business.
A spokeswoman for Wolf's campaign hit back at Wagner, calling his "rant" proof that he is "unfit for office."
“Scott Wagner’s latest rant shows he is unhinged and unfit for office. Threats of violence have no place in society, especially from someone running for public office," Beth Melena, the Wolf campaign's communications director, told NBC News. "This is part of an unfortunate pattern with Scott Wagner.”
A spokesman for Wagner's campaign later said that the GOP 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," said Andrew Romeo, the communications director for the Wagner campaign.
Wagner — who received the endorsement of President Donald Trump earlier this week during a rally in Erie, Pa. — is trailing Wolf by double digits in polls.
A recent Franklin & Marshall poll shows Wolf leading Wagner 52 percent to 30 percent among likely voters.
The release of Wagner's video comes as Republicans, including Trump himself, have criticized Democrats, such as former Attorney General Eric Holder, for lacking civility in their campaign messages.
Over the weekend Holder was captured on video telling a crowd that it was "time for us, as Democrats, to be as tough as they are" and that his party should respond more forcefully to Republican attacks.
"Michelle always says, 'When they go low, we go high,'" Holder says in the video, referencing former first lady Michelle Obama.
“No. When they go low, we kick 'em.,” Holder says.
Trump, in an interview with "Fox and Friends" on Thursday, called Holder’s comments "dangerous."