An early guide to Pennsylvania’s 2022 Senate and governor’s primary election

Who’s on and off the 2022 ballot will be finalized Tuesday, the deadline for candidates to hand in their petitions ahead of the May 17 primary election.

Below is a rundown of the candidates for office who submitted enough signatures to the Department of State to make it in front of the voters this spring for two big, open statewide races in Pennsylvania this year.

U.S Senators serve six-year terms, with no term limits. Their job is to craft, debate, and vote on legislation in the 100-member upper chamber of Congress. 

The chamber also must confirm federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, and any treaties with foreign powers that the president wishes to enter.

The position also comes with a big bully pulpit, as most political offices do. In recent elections, many presidential hopefuls have come from the Senate.

The seat is open because the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from the Lehigh Valley, announced in 2020 he was not running for reelection.

Kevin Baumlin

In Brief: Emergency room doctor in Philadelphia; chaired the Pennsylvania Hospital’s department of emergency medicine; likes the Affordable Care Act, but says it’s not enough to ensure affordable and accessible health care

Endorsements: N/A

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Source: Tom Wolf Flickr.)

John Fetterman

In Brief: 52-year-old former mayor of Braddock, a borough outside of Pittsburgh; now lieutenant governor (and chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons); likes cannabis and pride flags; dislikes party politics; on fracking, it’s hard to say.

Endorsements: United Steelworkers, UFCW 1776, national marijuana legalization group NORML, a handful of Democratic officials

Malcolm Kenyatta

In Brief: 31-year-old, openly gay state representative from Philadelphia; member of the governor’s Suicide Prevention Task Force; likes workers’ rights and supports raising the minimum wage; dislikes weak gun laws

Endorsements: American Federation of Teachers, Gloria Steinem, a handful of legislative Democrats, and a series of unions

Alex Khalil

In Brief: Jenkintown Borough Councilmember; member of the Jenkintown Education Foundation and Jenkintown Advisory Committee; IT specialist; former business owner with an existing practice in New Jersey that specializes in small businesses

Endorsements: N/A

Conor Lamb

In Brief: 37-year-old attorney by trade, now western Pennsylvania congressman; vocal moderate, particularly on fracking (he

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-17th District (WikiMedia Commons)

calls himself a “normal Democrat”); vocal critic of former President Donald Trump post-Jan. 6.

Endorsements: Building trade unions, National Organization of Women, oodles of Democratic elected officials, but not the state Democratic Party

Kathy Barnette

In Brief: 50-year-old Montgomery County resident and conservative media personality; lost a bid for U.S. House in 2020; promoted election conspiracy theories; likes Trump and supports restricting abortion access

Endorsements: State Sen. Doug Mastriano, former U.S. National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn, U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens, BlakPAC, Pennsylvania State Police FOP Pioneer Lodge #37, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly

Jeff Bartos

In Brief: Montgomery County businessman and 2018 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor; co-founded the Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit providing loans to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns.

Jeff Bartos in his campaign-opening ad. (Bartos campaign)

Endorsements: Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a handful of Senate and House Republicans, and a series of municipal leaders

George Bochetto

In Brief: A 69-year-old Philadelphia attorney who defended the Christopher Columbus statue in Philadelphia; his law firm helped on a brief to defend Trump during his second impeachment

Endorsements: Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman, the Fraternal Order of Police Philadelphia Lodge #5, PRIMO Magazine, the Italian Sons and Daughters of Philadelphia

Sean Gale

In Brief: Montgomery County attorney; brother of gubernatorial candidate Joe Gale; graduated from Temple University’s business school; earned degrees from Villanova and Drexel universities

Endorsements: N/A

David McCormick

In Brief: 56-year-old former CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund; longtime Connecticut resident; West Point graduate who served in the Gulf War; worked for the George W. Bush administration 

Endorsements: National Border Patrol Council, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former GOP Senate candidate Sean Parnell

Dr. Mehmet Oz, known best for hosting the “Dr. Oz Show” (Photo provided)

Mehmet Oz

In Brief: 61-year-old celebrity heart surgeon and talk show host; graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s medical and business schools; longtime New Jersey resident; registered to vote in Pennsylvania in 2020 at his in-laws’ address; supports abortion restrictions — but that wasn’t always the case 

Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler

Carla Sands

In Brief: 61-year-old former ambassador to Denmark under the Trump administration; helped campaign and fundraise for the former president; Pennsylvania native, but relocated to California to run a real estate company founded by her late husband; moved to Cumberland County to run for U.S. Senate

Endorsements: State Reps. Greg Rothman and David Maloney, a handful of former Trump-era officials, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Pennsylvania’s governor serves a four-year term. They can only serve two, consecutive terms (but could technically come back for a third after waiting four years.)

As the commonwealth’s chief executive, the governor is the boss and sets policy for hundreds of thousands of public workers, from state troopers and DMV clerks to environmental permitting staff and unemployment and Medicaid caseworkers. 

The governor can also attempt to change the regulations or rules governing many of these agencies internally without legislative approval.

The governor also proposes a budget each year, which is the starting place for negotiations with the Legislature over how much should be spent on competing priorities, whether public safety, schools, transit or the social safety net, among other topics.

With the wave of their pen, the governor can also sign into law or reject legislation on guns, abortion, taxes, and the environment, to name a few of the dozens of subjects policy makers may address.

And like the Senate, the governor’s mansion can also be a launching pad for even higher political ambitions.

The seat is open because the incumbent, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has served two terms and cannot seek reelection.

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks at a union rally on Oct. 16, 2020 in Pittsburgh. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Josh Shapiro

In Brief: 48-year-old attorney general; former state representative and Montgomery County commissioner; sued Trump administration over environmental, abortion policies; has negotiated compromises with health care giants and police unions; argues this history of taking on “big fights” make him a strong choice

Endorsements: Pretty much every Democrat in the state.

Lou Barletta

In Brief: 66-year-old former U.S. Congressman and Hazleton mayor; among Trump’s earliest congressional backers; immigration hawk who wants to court Trump-y Democrats; argues he can restore “Pennsylvania values”

Endorsements: A slew of state and local GOP elected officials 

Capital-Star Q+A with Barletta

GOP Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, reacts to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Jake Corman

In Brief: 57-year-old Senate president pro tempore from a Centre County political family; running on record of challenging Wolf’s pandemic policies and proposed tax hikes; argues he can pass a conservative agenda in Harrisburg that, for instance, increases gas production.

Endorsements: N/A

Capital-Star interview with Corman

Joe Gale

In Brief: 32-year-old Montgomery County Commissioner; voted against certifying 2020 election results; vocal critic of Republican establishment and mail-in voting; supports liquor privatization

Endorsements: N/A

Capital-Star Q+A with Gale

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, speaks at a Capitol steps rally in Harrisburg on June 5, 2021. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Doug Mastriano

In Brief: 58-year-old veteran and state senator from Franklin County; rose to prominence opposing Wolf’s pandemic policies, then spread baseless claims of fraud about the 2020 election; was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6; argues he’s the grassroots candidate for conservative change

Endorsements: Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; Gun Owners of America; U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barette; state Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin; state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton; Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers; radio host Wendy Bell; Audit the Vote PA founders Toni Shuppe and Karen Taylor.

Bill McSwain

In Brief: 52-year-old veteran and former federal prosecutor; running on “law and order” and supporting school choice; backed by a big-money group that thinks he’s the best GOP candidate to win in November

Endorsements: Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs 

Jason Richey

In Brief: 49-year-old Pittsburgh attorney with K&L Gates; offers a multi-point “Contract with Pennsylvania” policy program including eliminating mail-in ballots and income taxes, expanding natural gas production

Endorsements: Former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey; NFL Hall of Fame tight end Mike Ditka; a handful of western Pennsylvania state representatives

Capital-Star Q+A with Richey

Pa. 2022 gubernatorial candidate Jason Richey (Courtesy of the Richey campaign)

Dave White

In Brief: 60-year-old former Delaware County councilman, union pipefitter and HVAC contractor; likes voter ID and vocational education; dislikes critical race theory and regulations

Endorsements: Former Trump admin official Ric Grenell; state Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie

Originally published at,by Stephen Caruso

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