PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Republican win for governor in Virginia and the close election in New Jersey have Republicans in Pennsylvania thinking about next year’s gubernatorial race here.
Already, a number of GOP candidates are lining up to replace Governor Tom Wolf, who retires at the end of next year.READ MORE: KD Sunday Spotlight: LIFE Pittsburgh Giving Independence And Support To Seniors
For Democrats, so far at least, there’s only one candidate. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the likely Democratic nominee for governor. But it’s wide open on the Republican side.
“It’s a very broad field. And I will say based on the change in the landscape in the last 36 hours, it may continue to broaden as more people feel there is an opportunity for Republicans to win this seat,” Bill Bretz, chair of the Westmoreland County Republican Party, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Thursday.
After the success at the polls on Tuesday, local Republican leaders told KDKA’s Jon Delano that all kinds of Republicans want to run for governor, some with more familiar names than others.
That list includes Lou Barletta, Luzerne County; Guy Ciarrocchi, Chester County; Joe Gale, Montgomery County; Charlie Gerow, Cumberland County; Bill McSwain, Chester County; Jason Monn, Erie County; Jason Richey, Allegheny County; John Ventre, Westmoreland County; Dave White, Delaware County; and Nche Zama, Monroe County.
Among those who many announce soon are Jake Corman, Centre County; Scott Martin, Lancaster County; Doug Mastriano, Franklin County; and Dan Laughlin, Erie County.READ MORE: The Black Market Returns For The Holidays To Showcase Local Black-Owned Businesses
“The pitch they give many times revolves around how beatable Josh Shapiro is,” says Sam DeMarco, chair of the Allegheny County Republican Party.
Electability and money come up a lot from the candidates, but local GOP leaders say they want to hear substance, too.
“I tend to want to support candidates and work with candidates that understand why they are running, what they want to do if they are fortunate enough to win,” says Jim Christiana, Beaver County Republican Party chair.
Christiana, who served in the state House with Shapiro, says the race next year won’t be easy for any Republican.
“We need to have somebody who can contrast Josh in many different ways, and if we don’t, I think it’s going to be a really tough, tough election for us,” says Christiana.
So far, the 14 Republican candidates for governor are all males. Thirteen of the 14 are white, with two from this region and four from the Philadelphia area.MORE NEWS: Domestic Incident Inside Of The Mall At Robinson Leads To Chaotic Scene
In February, party leaders may decide to endorse one candidate and try to narrow the field. Or they could declare an open primary and let Republican voters pick their nominee next May.