Corman Withdraws from Pennsylvania Governor’s Race, Endorses Barletta; Santorum Adds His Support

Lou Barletta picked up two high-profile endorsements in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor on Thursday: newly withdrawn gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). 

Corman, who serves as State Senate President Pro Tempore and represents a district that includes State College, polled consistently in the single digits throughout the Republican gubernatorial primary. Despite his ending his bid, his name will remain on the ballot, as the deadline has passed for removing it. 

In remarks alongside Barletta in Harrisburg, Corman praised what he considers the former congressman and former Hazleton mayor’s political abilities and leadership skill. 

“Lou Barletta is the man at the right time at the right place for the people of Pennsylvania and I’m happy to be here today to support Lou,” the senator said. “At a time when Tom Wolf is leaving office with historically low approval ratings, when the country and Pennsylvania are rejecting [President Joe Biden’s] agenda, this is a time when we’re looking for new leadership.”

Corman also made an apparent dig at the race’s front-runner, State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg), a conservative firebrand who many right-leaning figures are attempting to brand as unelectable. 

“The only way that [Republicans] will not be successful in the fall is if we nominate someone who can’t possibly win,” Corman warned.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of surveys, Mastriano currently has a 10.4-point lead ahead of Barletta, the second-highest-polling hopeful. Former Delaware County Councilman Dave White and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain have also gained significant traction. 

Santorum, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995 and then in the U.S. Senate until 2007, issued a statement noting he has known Barletta for two decades and appreciates the conservatism that Barletta always adhered to during that time. 

“He stood on the national stage by himself when he fought against illegal immigration in Hazleton and he has proven to be able to win over Democrats, meaning he will be a strong nominee who can beat Josh Shapiro in November,” Santorum said. “He will unleash Pennsylvania’s energy resources to create jobs, and will restore the rights of parents to be involved in their children’s education. Lou Barletta is a pro-God, pro-gun, pro-family, pro-life, pro-America public servant, and I am proud to give him my emphatic endorsement.”

Barletta thanked both Corman and Santorum and underscored their mention of his record as a conservative mayor and congressman. In 2006, he gained national attention by enacting measures to prevent renting to or hiring illegal aliens in Hazleton and to make English the city’s official language. He subsequently would serve four terms in the U.S. House and, in 2018, run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. 

“It is increasingly evident that Republicans must get behind one candidate who can win the nomination and then actually defeat Josh Shapiro in November,” Barletta said. “There is no question that as the Republican nominee, I can beat Shapiro because the people of Pennsylvania know me.  I am proven, road-tested and ready to lead the great Pennsylvania comeback.” 

Whoever prevails in the GOP primary next Tuesday will go on to face Shapiro, a former state representative, former Montgomery County commissioner and current state attorney general in November.

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Pennsylvania Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to bradvasoliwriter@gmail.com.

 

 

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