Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters.
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania politicos are preparing for an intense 2022 election, with open seats for U.S. Senate and governor on the November ballot. The fields are still taking shape, but it’s already clear there’s a lot at stake — both races are currently categorized by the Cook Political Report as toss-ups.
The race for governor may get less national attention, but the outcome will determine the balance of power in Harrisburg and could radically shape policies on everything from abortion to voting rights in the years to come. Here’s what we know about the candidates so far.
With roughly a year to go until the primary (Pennsylvania hasn’t set a date yet), no Democrats have officially declared they are running. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro has come the closest, telling Philadelphia magazine earlier this year, “I expect to be a candidate.”
The number of other Democrats rumored to be interested in the job appears to be dwindling, but Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is apparently still considering a run.
There are a lot of names in the mix on the Republican side. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a right-wing lawmaker who hosted a hearing devoted to unfounded claims of 2020 election fraud and marched to the U.S. Capitol before the Jan. 6 insurrection, claimed former President Donald Trump asked him to run and promised to help him campaign. (An aide says Trump “has not made any endorsement or commitments yet.”)
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, of Western Pennsylvania, also believes his relationship with Trump could be an asset should he run for governor. Another member of the state’s congressional delegation, Dan Meuser of Luzerne County, said he is considering a run, and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain is exploring the possibility, as well.
Five other men have already declared their candidacy, most notably Lou Barletta, a former member of Congress who first rose to national prominence because of his anti-immigration policies as mayor of Hazleton.
The other declared GOP candidates are:
Joe Gale, Montgomery County commissioner | Website
Jason Monn, restaurant owner and former Corry City Council member | Website
Jason Richey, attorney | Website
Nche Zama, cardiothoracic surgeon | Website
So far, two people who aren’t members of a major party have declared their intention to run:
Libertarian Party: Joe Soloski, public accountant | Website
Green Party: Christina Olson, artist, co-chair of Green Party of Pennsylvania, owner of Lehigh Valley Ladders | Twitter
WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundations and readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.