The 65-year-old Barletta becomes the first prominent figure to enter the 2022 governor’s race.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republican Lou Barletta tells The Associated Press that he will run for governor of Pennsylvania.

The 65-year-old Barletta becomes the first prominent figure to enter the 2022 governor’s race.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Cooldown Coming With Fall Set To Arrive

Barletta is a former Hazleton mayor and four-term member of Congress, and ran statewide in a 2018 loss to Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

Barletta said he would focus on boosting the state’s economy, but also aiming to overhaul Pennsylvania’s election law and fight illegal immigration.

READ MORE: Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine Works In Kids Ages 5 To 11

Barletta has another strength in a Republican primary: a relationship with former President Donald Trump.

Barletta served as Trump’s campaign co-chairman in Pennsylvania in 2016 before becoming one of Trump’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill.

MORE NEWS: Study: Men Prefer Virtual Visits For Doctor's Appointments

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)