Pennsylvania GOP won't endorse in big primary fields for governor, Senate

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Republican party on Saturday decided against endorsing in huge primary fields for governor, U.S. Senate and lieutenant governor, ensuring that this spring's races will be that much more wide open.

The party banned reporters from the ballroom where it held its winter meeting at a Lancaster hotel. However, committee members and candidates said the party held a voice vote against endorsing.

Party committee members had predicted for months that nobody would win an endorsement.

More:Rivals in GOP Senate race attack high-profile candidates who just moved to Pa.

More:Pennsylvania high court to decide congressional district map

In addition, no candidate can claim the endorsement of Donald Trump. The former president had endorsed Sean Parnell in the Senate primary, but Parnell ended his campaign in November amid an ugly custody battle with his estranged wife.

It is the first time in decades that Pennsylvania has held an election for an open Senate seat and an open governor’s office.

The Republican primary field for governor is double-digits deep, while the fields for Senate and lieutenant governor each feature at least a half-dozen candidates.

Dr. Mehmet Oz makes the fourth stop along his campaign trail, for the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat resigned by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, at Wisehaven Event Center in Windsor Township, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The Senate field is notable for wealthy and well-connected candidates moving from out of state to run, including Mehmet Oz, best known as daytime TV’s host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and David McCormick, the just-resigned CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds.

Both candidates and their allies  are spending millions of dollars on TV ads. The primary is May 17.