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Pa. primary election 2022: See how much money the GOP candidates for governor have raised

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Though the race to lure more and bigger donors is only expected to intensify as the May 17 primary draws closer, it appears unlikely to shatter records.
Though the race to lure more and bigger donors is only expected to intensify as the May 17 primary draws closer, it appears unlikely to shatter records.
Robert Frank / For Spotlight PA

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HARRISBURG — With just over a month to go until the May primary election of 2022, the nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination for governor have collectively raised more than $13 million.

Some of their campaigns have been fueled primarily by small donations of $25 to $250. Others have benefited from multimillion-dollar infusions of cash. Yet others have poured millions of dollars of their own money into their campaign war chests in the hopes of pulling ahead of the pack, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

That money has helped them crisscross the state, hit the television airwaves, cut digital ads, print mailers, and pay steep salaries to a bevy of consultants and campaign finance advisers.

Though the race to lure more and bigger donors is only expected to intensify as the May 17 primary draws closer, it appears unlikely to shatter records. Pennsylvania in recent years has made national headlines for its expensive primary contests for governor — at least on the Democratic side.

In 2014, for instance, Tom Wolf edged out three opponents in a primary race that cost $36.6 million. He eventually won the general election. Before that, the bruising primary between former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell and now Sen. Bob Casey cost an eye-popping $30 million.

This year’s general election, however, could quickly make history when it comes to spending.

The Republican candidate who emerges victorious in the primary will face state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is running unopposed. As the Republicans have fought for campaign superiority, Shapiro began the year with $13.4 million on hand — and raised an additional $4.5 million in the first three months of this year. (Read Spotlight PA’s analysis of Shapiro’s donors.)

Here’s what we know about the Republican field’s donors, based on their most recent campaign finance reports covering the first three months of 2022 (the next report is due in early May):

Lou Barletta has received thousands from his own PAC.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Philadelphia Inquirer
Lou Barletta has received thousands from his own PAC.

Lou Barletta

Cash raised overall: $1.3 million

Cash raised in 2022: $430,745

Cash on hand: $356,292

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • Change PA PAC ($198,000)

  • Norman Arthur Dick ($30,800)

  • Restore The Dream ($30,000)

  • Where America Started ($30,000)

Barletta, the former mayor of Hazleton and an ex-U.S. representative, has received the most money from a likely source: Change PA PAC, a political action committee that he launched last year as he was mulling a run for governor.

Change PA did not get contributions this year. In 2021, the biggest donors were Jodey Mutchler and Richard Mutchler, the president of the pharmaceutical firm Biospectra, who gave $100,000.

To Barletta’s current campaign, Norman Arthur Dick, who runs a kitchen and bathroom products company in Mountain Top, contributed $30,800 in two donations. Tied for third are two political action committees: Restore The Dream and Where America Started. Each donated $30,000.

Restore The Dream is chaired by G. Reeder Patton II, whose family runs an indoor sports complex center in Harrisburg. Going back to 2018, it was affiliated with the political action committee of onetime gubernatorial candidate Paul Mango. The PAC has not raised money since 2018, when Mango made his unsuccessful run for governor, but it donated the majority of the money it had left to Barletta.

Where America Started received its largest donations last year from executives from construction, coal, and real estate companies.

Barletta also received $36,000 in an in-kind donation from James Ertle of Ertle Subaru in Stroudsburg.

Jake Corman has received multiple six-figure donations over the past 15 months.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Philadelphia Inquirer
Jake Corman has received multiple six-figure donations over the past 15 months.

Jake Corman

Cash raised overall: $2.8 million

Cash raised in 2022: $589,627

Cash on hand: $270,846

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • University City Housing Co. ($500,000)

  • John DiSanto ($100,000)

  • Galen E. Dreibelbis ($100,000)

Corman, a state senator from Centre County, has received multiple six-figure donations over the last 15 months. His largest contributor was the political action committee of Bryn Mawr’s University City Housing Co. The company is run by Michael Karp, a major Philadelphia-area real estate developer.

Tied for second place are five donors who have each given Corman $100,000: State Sen. John DiSanto’s political action committee; Galen E. Dreibelbis, a commercial and residential real-estate developer in Centre County who formerly served in the state legislature; Laura M. Pegula, a geologist and daughter of Terry Pegula, a Pennsylvania State University alumnus who runs a multimillion-dollar energy industry acquisition company; Sandra L. Poole, a designer with a Centre County home-building company run by her husband, Robert Poole; and hotel developer, owner, and operator Lance Shaner.

His third-largest donor is a political action committee called Where America Started. The PAC’s largest donors last year were executives from construction, coal, and real estate companies.

Corman has also moved $200,00 from his senatorial PAC, Friends of Jake Corman, to support his gubernatorial bid. His mother has also lent his campaign $90,000.

Charlie Gerow has raised less than half a million dollars over the course of his campaign.
Courtesy Charlie Gerow
Charlie Gerow has raised less than half a million dollars over the course of his campaign.

Charlie Gerow

Cash raised overall: $468,574

Cash raised in 2022: $46,907

Cash on hand: $179,073

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • American Conservative Union ($100,000)

  • Louis A. Esposito ($25,000)

Gerow, a Republican strategist and former lobbyist, has raised less than half a million over the course of his campaign. The largest donation ($100,000) came from the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes the annual meeting known as CPAC and of which Gerow serves as the vice-chairman.

He also lent $85,000 of his own money to his campaign last year.

Joe Gale has raised nearly $100,000 throughout his campaign.
Michael Bryant / Philadelphia Inquirer
Joe Gale has raised nearly $100,000 throughout his campaign.

Joe Gale

Cash raised overall: $99,095

Cash raised in 2022: $58,496

Cash on hand: $33,133

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • No donors who meet that criterion.

Gale, a current Montgomery County commissioner, has branded himself as a political outsider, claiming that the Pennsylvania Republican Party is not conservative enough.

Gale has raised nearly $100,000 throughout his campaign, over half of which was given during the first three months of this year. He has lent his own campaign $25,000 of that total.

Melissa Hart has seen most of her campaign cash come from individual donations under $5,000.
TYGER WILLIAMS / Philadelphia Inquirer
Melissa Hart has seen most of her campaign cash come from individual donations under $5,000.

Melissa Hart

Cash raised overall: $37,060

Cash raised in 2022: $34,310

Cash on hand: $7,200

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • None

Hart, a former state senator and congressional representative from Western Pennsylvania, has seen most of her campaign cash come from individual donations under $5,000.

Doug Mastriano has largely received small donations — those under $500.
Amanda Berg / For Spotlight PA
Doug Mastriano has largely received small donations — those under $500.

Doug Mastriano

Cash raised overall: $1.4 million

Cash raised in 2022: $372,555

Cash on hand: $1.1 million

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • James Martin ($110,000)

  • Clayton Black ($50,000)

  • Steven Latta ($50,000)

Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, has largely received small donations — those under $500.

His top donor is James Martin, owner of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, a bread and roll manufacturer in Chambersburg, who has contributed $110,000 in two donations. Car dealership owners Clayton Black and Steven Latta tied for second, giving him $50,000 each. Businessman David Z. Abel, the owner of a truck and auto supply company in Palmyra, was third, contributing $25,000.

Bill McSwain has attracted big-name cash donors.
JOSE F. MORENO / Philadelphia Inquirer
Bill McSwain has attracted big-name cash donors.

Bill McSwain

Cash raised overall: $2.4 million

Cash raised in 2022: $1.4 million

Cash on hand: $1.7 million

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • Walter W. Buckley Jr. ($1 million)

  • Jon Lubert ($125,000)

  • David E. Barensfeld ($100,000)

McSwain, a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, has attracted big-name cash donors, including Walter Buckley Jr., an investment fund managing partner, and hedge fund manager Jon Lubert. He has also received sizable donations from David E. Barensfeld, board chair of Commonwealth Partners, a conservative advocacy group.

The Commonwealth Leaders Fund — a political action committee founded by prominent conservative Matthew Brouillette and funded in large part by billionaire Jeffrey Yass — has bet big on McSwain, donating almost $6 million in TV and digital ads as well as other items like mailers. These are known as in-kind donations.

Dave White has received his top donations from a PAC controlled by Bob Asher.
Keith Srakocic / AP
Dave White has received his top donations from a PAC controlled by Bob Asher.

Dave White

Cash raised overall: $5.1 million

Cash raised in 2022: $1.8 million

Cash on hand: $171,308

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • PA Future Fund ($202,000)

  • UA Union Plumbers & Pipefitters Vote! PAC ($200,000)

  • Steamfitters Local Union 420 COPE Fund ($100,000)

White, a business owner from Delaware County, has received his top donations from a PAC controlled by Bob Asher, a candy magnate and powerful figure in Republican politics from Montgomery County. Asher was a major backer of Donald Trump.

White on his campaign website says he worked for “decades as a union pipefitter,” and he has also seen large donations from PACs associated with that industry.

The candidate himself, with his wife, Debra Ann, has lent his campaign $4 million, according to his most recent report.

Nche Zama has primarily received smaller donations and no major PAC support.
Courtesy Nche Zama campaign
Nche Zama has primarily received smaller donations and no major PAC support.

Nche Zama

Cash raised overall: $263,052

Cash raised in 2022: $35,448

Cash on hand: $134,455

Top donors who gave at least $25,000 at one time:

  • No donors who meet that criterion.

Zama, a Harvard-educated surgeon who has lived in the Poconos for more than a decade, has primarily received smaller donations. The candidate had lent $140,000 to his own campaign, his most recent report showed.

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