Lou Barletta Throws Hat Into Ring for Pa.'s GOP Race for Governor

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Lou Barletta, the Republican Party's Donald Trump-endorsed nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018, is running for governor of Pennsylvania.
What to Know Republican Lou Barletta tells The Associated Press that he will run for governor of Pennsylvania.

Barletta is a former Hazleton mayor and four-term member of Congress, and ran statewide in a 2018 loss to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

Barletta has another strength in a Republican primary: a relationship with former President Donald Trump. Barletta served as Trump's campaign co-chairman in Pennsylvania in 2016 before becoming one of Trump's biggest allies on Capitol Hill.

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Barletta, 65, becomes the most prominent figure to enter a 2022 governor's race that Republicans have won every time in the past half-century when there is an outgoing Democratic governor and a first-term Democratic president.

Barletta, a former Hazleton mayor and four-term member of Congress, has far more electoral experience than any other potential challenger for the GOP nomination. That includes having introduced himself to voters in a statewide campaign in his 2018 lossto Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

"So people know me," Barletta said in an interview. "I'm starting out with that advantage as well as I had 2.1 million votes in 2018. And that's a good start as well."

Barletta said that, if elected, he would focus on boosting the state's economy, while also aiming to overhaul Pennsylvania's election law and fight illegal immigration, a long-time pet issue for Barletta that helped build his political reputation.

Barletta's only declared primary opponent is Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner. After that, several others are seriously considering it. That includes U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser — who succeeded Barletta in Congress — and William McSwain, the top federal prosecutor in Philadelphia under Trump.

Barring something unforeseen, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro will seek the Democratic nomination. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is constitutionally term-limited.

Marc Levy
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