PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — House Speaker Mike Turzai, a North Hills Republican, confirmed what many knew on KDKA Radio on Wednesday with KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Delano: “Why do you want to be governor of Pennsylvania?”
Turzai: “Jon, I have to tell you. I just think Pennsylvania needs positive change.”
Before appearing on Marty Griffin’s radio talk show, Turzai — arguably the second most powerful state official already — told KDKA why he wants the top job.
“There’s no position, other than the position of governor, that allows you to be in complete control of leadership, to take the bully pulpit and to go out and really transform Pennsylvania.”
“If you want to make a difference on jobs, energy independence, manufacturing, improve schools, if you want to do those things, you really need to have the opportunity to be governor to do that.”
Democrats accuse Turzai of being an obstructionist, blocking state budgets that the governor, Republican Senate, and House Democrats have agreed on.
Turzai dismisses the charge as phony and attacks Gov. Tom Wolf.
“The governor’s got a real problem. He’s running ads right now. Why? Because he knows people know that he’s been elitist and arrogant.”
Delano: “Is it personal between you and the governor?”
Turzai: “No, it’s not, but I have to tell you I don’t think he’s done a very good job. And I know lots of people think that. You can’t act like you’re better than everybody and that’s what he does.”
Before Turzai can run against Wolf, he must win the republican nomination.
Besides Turzai, also running are Pittsburgh attorney Laura Ellsworth, Pittsburgh businessman Paul Mango, and York state Sen. Scott Wagner.
Delano: “What makes you stand out?”
Turzai: “I’m somebody who’s actually gotten things done in Harrisburg.”
But Turzai is hedging his bets by running for his House seat and governor at the same time.
Delano: “Why run for both offices at the same time?”
Turzai: “Look, I want to become governor and I want to win the Republican primary, and I think I’m going to do that. I’m going to be very positive, but I’m going to continue to run for the House seat.”
Now it’s perfectly legal to run for both offices at the same time — and others have done so.
If Turzai wins both, he’d resign the state House nomination, and Republican party insiders — so-called conferees — would handpick a replacement.
KDKA reached out to the other announced Republicans for governor for comment on Turzai running.
Paul Mango responded, saying he was eager to contrast his leadership, business experience, and vision with all the candidates.