Stampede to file before deadline for Pennsylvania primary

MARC LEVY
Associated Press
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HARRISBURG — Candidates are down to the final hours before Tuesday's deadline to file paperwork to get on Pennsylvania's primary ballots, as large fields shape up for the open governor’s office and U.S. Senate seat.

This year's election is the first time in decades that Pennsylvania has its governor's office and a U.S. Senate seat on the same ballot with no incumbent running.

That has sparked heavy interest from would-be candidates in contests that are viewed as wide open. Almost 20 candidates have filed for those two offices alone.

Save for Democrat Josh Shapiro's near-certain nomination for governor, the national and state parties have not waded into the contests, and neither has former President Donald Trump.

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Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive term, while Sen. Pat Toomey, a second-term Republican, is not running again.

The 5 p.m. close-of-business deadline to file enough voter signatures to make Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary ballot also applies to races for lieutenant governor and Congress.

A look at who has filed, according to information from state election officials:

U.S. SENATE

Both parties will have contested primaries.

Four have filed so far for the Democratic Party's nomination.

They are: emergency room physician Kevin Baumlin; Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, second-term state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia; and third-term U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb of suburban Pittsburgh.

On the Republican side are seven candidates.

They are: conservative activist Kathy Barnette, who has aligned herself with leading figures in the Trump-led push to overturn 2020's presidential election; real estate investor Jeff Bartos, who was the party's nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018; lawyer George Bochetto; lawyer Sean Gale; former hedge fund CEO David McCormick; Mehmet Oz, the self-styled health and wellness guru and author best-known as host of daytime TV's “The Dr. Oz Show;" and Carla Sands, Trump's former ambassador to Denmark who ran her late husband's commercial real estate empire in California.

GOVERNOR

The Democratic Party's presumed nominee, Shapiro, filed to run for governor in the midst of serving his second term as Pennsylvania's elected attorney general. He is expected to have a clear lane to the party's nomination.

The Republican side has featured more than a dozen candidates running.

So far, seven have filed.

They are: Lou Barletta, the GOP's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018 and a former congressman known for his crusade against illegal immigration; Jake Corman, the top-ranking state senator; Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner; state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a force in Pennsylvania's right-wing politics who aligned himself with Trump and pushed to overturn 2020's presidential election; Bill McSwain, a lawyer who was the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Philadelphia; Jason Richey, a Pittsburgh-based lawyer who specializes in commercial and contract litigation; and Dave White, who runs a large plumbing and HVAC firm and is a former Delaware County councilman.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Both parties have contests for the open seat with Fetterman seeking higher office.

On the Democratic side are two state lawmakers.

They are second-term Pittsburgh-area Rep. Austin Davis and five-term Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia. Davis is running on a ticket with Shapiro.

On the Republican side, four candidates have filed.

They are: Teddy Daniels, a former police officer and Army combat veteran who is aligned with Trump and says he was outside the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of the Jan. 6 insurrection; Carrie DelRosso, a freshman state lawmaker from suburban Pittsburgh; Rick Saccone, a former state lawmaker from the Pittsburgh area who also was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6; and Clarice Schillinger, a Bucks County resident who got politically involved in school board races last year in a push against pandemic-era measures.

CONGRESS

Fifteen incumbents are running for reelection for Pennsylvania’s 17 congressional seats in newly drawn districts.

Thirty-eight candidates have filed thus far and most incumbents will have a primary or general election challenge.

Two Pittsburgh-area districts lack an incumbent and will provide an opportunity for newcomers. So far, four candidates combined have filed for those seats and more were expected.