HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — More than a dozen Republican candidates for governor were expected to appear on stage for the first time Wednesday in a question-and-answer session sponsored by conservative groups and a statewide business association.
One candidate, former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, declined to attend the evening event at Dickinson College in Carlisle, saying he will not participate in forums or debates — other than a Feb. 4 event sponsored by the state Republican Party — until candidates have qualified to be on the ballot.
The deadline to file ballot paperwork is March 8. The primary election is May 17.
Thirteen candidates were expected to appear to answer questions from representatives of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and conservative website Broad and Liberty.
The huge and wide-open GOP field of candidates is unlike anything party officials have seen in at least decades, as the party searches for a nominee to potentially succeed outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
The Republican field is still growing. Former Pittsburgh-area U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart is expected to announce her candidacy Wednesday and state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County is expected to formally announce his candidacy Saturday.
None have run statewide before, except for Barletta, who was the party’s 2018 nominee for U.S. Senate when he unsuccessfully challenged the re-election bid of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
The presumed Democratic nominee is Josh Shapiro, the state’s two-term attorney general.
Source: Berkshire mont