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15 candidates expected to fill out crowded GOP field for Pa. governor

There are currently 14 people declared, with a 15th expected to enter the race for Pennsylvania's governor this weekend.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — One of the largest fields to ever vie for political office in Pennsylvania is expected to get bigger this weekend.

Thirteen Republican candidates vying for the commonwealth's open governor seat took the stage Wednesday night at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Cumberland County. A 14th declared candidate, Lou Barletta, declined the debate invitation, while a 15th candidate, State Senator Doug Mastriano, plans to officially declare at an event Saturday in Gettysburg.

Once the list finalizes, it represents a culturally and politically diverse GOP field. Among them, business owners, politicians, men, women, and an immigrant.

In alphabetical order, they are:

  • Lou Barletta, a former Congressman who represented parts of Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties from 2011 to 2019. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 and lost to current Senator Bob Casey. Barletta is the former Mayor of Hazelton and is an immigration hardliner.
  • Shawn Berger, a business owner in Eastern Pennsylvania who owns a cleaning company and seafood restaurant.This is his first political campaign.
  • Guy Ciarrocchi, the former director of the Chester County Chamber of Business. He was a chief of staff under former Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley and before that, served under former President George W. Bush as a regional program director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Jake Corman, who is currently the President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate. He is in his 23rd year in the Senate, and served as Majority Leader from 2015-21.
  • Joe Gale, who is a Montgomery County Commissioner and outspoken critic of current Republican policies in the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
  • Charlie Gerow, a Harrisburg-area based Republican strategist and television political commentator.
  • Melissa Hart, who is formerly a U.S. Congresswoman and State Senator from Western Pennsylvania, and is currently an Allegheny County attorney.
  • Scott Martin, the head of the Pa. Senate Education Committee and two-term senator from Lancaster County. Martin was formerly a Lancaster County Commissioner.
  • Doug Mastriano, who has yet to officially declare for governor, and is expected to do so at an event on Saturday, January 8 in Gettysburg. Mastriano is an ally of former President Donald Trump, and advocated for a full forensic audit of the 2020 Presidential Election in Pennsylvania.
  • Bill McSwain, who was appointed by former President Trump as U.S. Attorney to the Eastern District.
  • Jason Monn, who owns a pizza restaurant in Corry, Pa. where he is the former mayor and councilman.
  • Jason Richey, an attorney and partner at R&L Gates law firm in Pittsburgh.
  • John Ventre, a former public affairs executive for UPS and currently a UFO researcher in Westmoreland County.
  • Dave White, who owns a plumbing and HVAC company in Delaware County and is a third generation member of the Steamfitters Local union.
  • Nche Zama, a heart surgeon living in the Poconos. He was born in Cameroon.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the only Democratic declared candidate.

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