The second-term senator and former county commissioner joins a crowded field of declared candidates and prospective candidates.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state senator from southcentral Pennsylvania said Tuesday that he is forming an exploratory committee to run for the Republican nomination for governor in 2022.

Sen. Scott Martin, R-Lancaster, joins a crowded field of declared candidates and prospective candidates.

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Martin is a second-term senator and former county commissioner who hails from a Republican-leaning district and chairs the Education Committee. Forming an exploratory committee helps him raise money for a campaign.

Already declared is Lou Barletta, the former four-term congressman who was the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018 before he lost to Democrat Bob Casey. Barletta has by far more electoral experience than any other Republican considering running, and is the only one to have run statewide.

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Democrats are coalescing around Pennsylvania’s second-term Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has said he expects to run for governor, but has yet to formally announce his candidacy.

Other Republicans who have said they are interested in running or spoken at party functions for prospective candidates include U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, marketing consultant Charlie Gerow, state Sen. Dan Laughlin, state Sen. Doug Mastriano and Bill McSwain, a former chief federal prosecutor in Philadelphia.

Several others are declared candidates: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, Pittsburgh lawyer Jason Richey and Dr. Nche Zama, a cardiothoracic surgeon.

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