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Polls Predict Sen. Mastriano Winning GOP Primary for Governor

The governor’s race also had a bombshell drop as the finish line comes into view. On Saturday, Trump endorsed state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

In the Emerson poll, Mastriano surged to first place with 34 percent, which Barletta trailed with 22 percent. However, 15 percent were undecided and those voters were asked how they were leaning. A majority, 54 percent of undecided broke toward Mastriano, which would give Mastriano 42 percent, while Barletta was at 24 percent. Since the April Emerson poll, Mastriano gained 20 points, while Barletta lost three points.

Lou Barletta (right) talks with Jerry Stelweck at the Penrose Diner

Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling said, “Among those who have already voted, Mastriano has 13 percent, but his support rises to 37 percent of those who plan to vote on Election Day. His opponent, Barletta, is getting about an equal share with 25 percent of the early vote and 21 percent of the Election Day voters.”

On the Democratic side, AG Josh Shapiro is running for governor running unchallenged.

Meanwhile, Barletta campaigned at the Penrose Diner in South Philadelphia on Monday. He spoke to patrons and talked to the press and argued that he is the best candidate to beat Shapiro in the fall.

When Barletta announced that he was running a year ago he predicted the race would be between him and Mastriano.

“And here we are the day before the election and that’s who it’s come down to,” he said. The Emerson poll “shows it’s still a two-person race, myself and Doug Mastriano. There’s a lot of undecideds. And there’s also the fact that when people go to the polls they’re going to realize, they may have supported one of the other many candidates, that their only chance to beat Josh Shapiro will be myself. So even though they may have polled for someone else along the line, when they get to vote, they’ve got to make that decision. Does their vote count if they vote for someone else?”

“I think I have a very good chance,” he said.

Asked about President Trump’s endorsement of Mastriano, Barletta said, “I think he made a mistake. But I’ll take his endorsement on Wednesday.” Barletta, when he was in Congress, was an early Trump supporter.

“My plea to the people of Pennsylvania is I give us the best chance to beat Josh Shapiro. Winning a primary is not good enough if we have somebody Josh Shapiro can beat. I have a record. I’ve been a mayor of a Democrat city and a congressman. I think I give us the best chance.”

Mastriano called Barletta’s remarks “RINO (Republican in Name Only) nonsense and establishment double-speak.”

“The fact is, he can’t and won’t win the primary and therefore has zero chance of winning the general election.  The people will decide and will give us a huge mandate,” said Mastriano.  Mastriano served in the Army for 30 years, prior to becoming a state senator for Franklin County.

Berwood Yost, director of the Franklin & Marshall poll, said that Mastriano “is leading this race based on widespread grassroots support.”

“I think the hope among more mainstream candidates that they can consolidate support behind a single candidate other than Mastriano comes too late in this race to make much of a difference,” said Yost.  “Remember, the state reported that nearly a half-million primary ballots had been returned as of last Wednesday, so those votes have been cast.

“And even if some candidates have left the race, their names will still appear on the ballot. Barletta may benefit from the undecided voters breaking his way, but recent polls suggest he might be trailing Mastriano and McSwain.  I think there are simply too many candidates in the race for them to overtake Mastriano, especially after receiving former President Trump’s endorsement.”

“We need to remember that polling in primaries is notoriously difficult for many reasons, so lots of things could happen tomorrow.  Still, Mastriano seems best positioned right now to win,” said Yost.

Meanwhile, two other candidates, Sen. Jake Corman and former Congresswoman Melissa Hart, dropped out and threw their support to Barletta.  And the prestigious Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs changed its endorsement from Bill McSwain to Barletta. Commonwealth CEO Matt Brouillette called for McSwain and Dave White to withdraw from the race and support Barletta.

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In PA Governor’s Race, Corman Bows Out, Endorses Barletta

Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who came within a whisker of dropping out of the governor’s race a few weeks ago, formally threw in the towel Thursday and threw his support to former Congressman Lou Barletta.

Corman never rose above single digits in the polls and was going to exit the campaign a few weeks ago, but said former President Donald Trump urged him to stay in the race. Corman had hired Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to work on his campaign, and she even appeared in TV commercials on his behalf.

Corman may also have been under pressure from his fellow Pennsylvania Republicans to throw his support to Barletta as recent polls showed state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) surging. News reports suggested GOP party insiders are seeking a white knight candidate to save the party from Mastriano, whose right-leaning views may not play well in the general election against Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor.

When questioned by Delaware Valley Journal about his participation in a rally partially organized by the QAnon conspiracy theorists, for example, Mastriano abruptly ended the interview.

“Lou Barletta is the man at the right time at the right place for the people of Pennsylvania and I’m happy to be here today to support Lou,” Corman said at a Harrisburg press conference on Thursday. “At a time when Tom Wolf is leaving office with historically low approval ratings when the country and Pennsylvania are rejecting the Biden agenda, this is a time when we’re looking for new leadership.

“The only way that we will not be successful in the fall is if we nominate someone who can’t possibly win,” Corman added.

Barletta thanked Corman.

“I very much appreciate Sen. Jake Corman’s support and the difficult decision he made to withdraw from the race and work together for the benefit of Republicans and all Pennsylvanians,” Barletta said. “It is increasingly evident that Republicans must get behind one candidate who can win the nomination and then actually defeat Josh Shapiro in November. There is no question that as the Republican nominee, I can beat Shapiro because the people of Pennsylvania know me. I am proven, road-tested, and ready to lead the Great Pennsylvania Comeback.”

Some of the other Republican gubernatorial campaigns were quick to push back against Corman’s endorsement of Barletta.

“It’s no surprise that career politician Jake Corman, who implemented the highest gas tax in America, has chosen to endorse fellow career politician Lou Barletta, who is also a steadfast supporter of higher gas taxes,” said James Fitzpatrick, campaign manager for Bill McSwain. “Alliances between career politicians will do nothing but protect the status quo in Harrisburg. It’s time for a conservative outsider to end this nonsense. Bill McSwain will beat Josh Shapiro this fall and conservatives should immediately rally around his candidacy.”

Similarly, Bob Salera, campaign manager for Dave White said, “It should surprise absolutely no one that career politician Jake Corman would endorse career politician Lou Barletta – this is the swamp endorsing the swamp. Both Corman and Barletta have spent more than two decades on the public payroll, racking up massive taxpayer-funded pensions along the way.

“Both Corman and Barletta have repeatedly voted to raise taxes and voted for increased government spending at the taxpayers’ expense. Career politicians flock together, which is exactly why Pennsylvania needs to turn the page and elect an outsider like Dave White who will bring less talk and more action for the people of Pennsylvania to Harrisburg.”

Barletta, who was also the former mayor of Hazelton, is known for his early warnings regarding the effect of the influx of illegal immigrants. In a podcast, Barletta told DVJournal he would bus the illegals being flown to Pennsylvania to Biden’s home state of Delaware if he became governor.

While Trump has not endorsed anyone in the governor’s race, Barletta has touted his ties to the former president.

Barletta has also spoken out about inappropriate books in school libraries, favors expanding the state’s energy sector, and is against vaccine mandates. As a former small business owner, Barletta says he believes he can help bring more businesses and jobs to the commonwealth.


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Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Lou Barletta Picks Up Key Endorsements

Trailing in the polls with the primary just days away, gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta picked up a handful of coveted endorsements Thursday from establishment Republicans. They include those of former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The former congressman touted the “major announcement” ahead of a news conference in Levittown at the American Legion Post 960, where he was joined by Schweiker and former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, whom he called the “greatest leaders that I know.”

The news came after state Senate leader Jake Corman announced he was dropping out of the nine-candidate race to throw his support behind Barletta.

“I am proven, road-tested, and ready to serve as the 48th governor of Pennsylvania,” Barletta said.

There is concern inside the GOP that state Sen. Mastriano (R-Franklin) is too far right-leaning and would get clobbered by Attorney General Josh  Shapiro (D) in November’s general election. Republicans who share those concerns are rallying around Barletta, who they believe is the Republicans’ best chance at taking back the governor’s mansion.

Schweiker called Barletta the “most competitive candidate,” touting his experience as a mayor in Hazleton and a former lawmaker, equipped to run the Keystone State’s sprawling government.

“He’s got the right perspective,” Schweiker said. “He’s a fighter. He’s got big stones … For this candidate, this isn’t going to be just a once-in-a-while interest. This is going to be an everyday preoccupation. He’ll see to it as an everyday assignment, not an afterthought.”

As mayor of Hazleton, Barletta commanded the national spotlight for his restrictive immigration efforts, which he touched on again during the news conference, promising to eliminate sanctuary cities across Pennsylvania if he is elected governor.

In 2006, he backed an ordinance that would have prevented employers and landlords from hiring and renting to undocumented immigrants, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Litigation ensued and the ordinance took effect, but such stark immigration policies were later embraced during the presidency of Donald Trump, whom Barletta supported early on in 2016.

Saying he had a “history of beating Democrats,” Barletta pledged that if he was elected he would remove Pennsylvania from the multi-state consortium Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on his first day in office. He also pledged to repeal Act 77 (the controversial no-excuse voting law), block biological males who identify as women from participating in women’s sports, push for parents to have more say in their children’s school curriculum, and do away with “toxic critical race theory,” which he believes stokes division between Americans.

“We’re going to teach our children to love each other, not hate each,” Barletta said.

That messaging resonated with other Republicans as Barletta also picked up key endorsements from Santorum and U.S. Rep. Fred Keller. They came not long after media reports that Pennsylvania Republicans had discussed coalescing around a single candidate.

Cawley suggested Barletta is the “only candidate” who can beat Shapiro. He referred to a TV attack ad from Shapiro many believe is actually designed to boost Mastriano among Trump supporters.

Democrats are “literally reaching in and trying to manipulate our votes,” Cawley said. “Well, folks, I have a message for Josh Shapiro. It’s this: Josh, you’re just not that clever, and your shenanigans are just not going to work. Pennsylvania Republican voters are pretty smart, and they are not going to allow you to pick their candidate for governor. … Josh is pretty sure he can beat Doug Mastriano, but he’s absolutely confident he will lose to Lou Barletta.”

Focused on his own campaign, Barletta refused to take shots at Mastriano. However, he stressed the importance of the GOP embodying a unified front heading into next week’s primary, adding the endorsements were another step toward achieving equanimity in the party.

“The best thing for Josh Shapiro is for us to come out fractured,” he said. “I have been a unifier. I haven’t run one negative ad against any of my opponents. This is not in any way a reflection on Doug Mastriano or any of the other candidates. What I’m doing is making my case in the final five days that I am not only the one who can unify our party but I am the only one who can beat Josh Shapiro because of my history.”

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New Poll Makes Mastriano Frontrunner in GOP Governor’s Race

With just a week to go before the May 17 primary, state Sen. Doug Mastriano is far ahead of the others in the GOP race for governor.

A Trafalgar Group poll put the Franklin County, Pa. Republican at 27.6 percent, followed by former Congressman Lou Barletta at 17.6 percent. Delaware County businessman Dave White was in third at 15 percent, and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain was fourth at 14.4 percent. The other candidates were in the single digits while 11.3 percent remain undecided.

The poll of 1,080 Republican voters had a 2.99 percent margin of error. It was conducted May 6-8. The Trafalgar Group is rated by the data analysts at FiveThirtyEight as one of the most accurate polling firms in the country.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro is running unopposed.

GOP consultant Charlie O’Neill said, “The only poll that matters is on Election Day. With a very large field, this race is still anyone’s game. I also have noticed that enthusiasm on the ground doesn’t always seem to match these polls. Candidates like Charlie Gerow are attracting lots of attention and attendees at campaign events–much higher than this poll would indicate.”

Before Mastriano became a state senator, he served 30 years in the Army and retired as a colonel.

“The recent Trafalgar poll has our campaign with a double-digit lead over all the other candidates is evidence that the people do not want to settle,” Mastriano said. “The people want a fighter. Someone who stood with them through the dark times of the shutdown. It’s a clear choice between proven leadership or more of the same. We will win next week, and we will win on November 8 to restore freedom.”

But the Barletta campaign said not to write them off yet.

“Lou Barletta has run the biggest and best grassroots campaign in Pennsylvania history and the data that we see shows that Lou is the best candidate to beat Josh Shapiro,” said Barletta advisor Tim Murtaugh. “Shapiro is running TV ads trying to boost the Republican he knows he can beat [Mastriano] and we must not let a Democrat interfere to choose a candidate we know will lose in November.”

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Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Lou Barletta Speaks Out on Inappropriate Books in Schools

Republican Lou Barletta, a former mayor and congressman running for governor held a press event Monday to emphasize his opposition to inappropriate books in area public schools. It is a hot-button issue and one of several educational concerns that drove many parents to the polls in the 2021 school board elections.

Education continues to be a significant issue for voters going into the primary election in two weeks. Barletta took a strong stance against critical race theory and sexually explicit books in public schools.

Additionally, Barletta said he is the only candidate for governor who has signed the 1776 pledge, indicating that he will require that schools teach American history accurately.

“One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was how parents finally got to see up close what their kids are learning in school,” said Barletta, who spoke at the Sheraton Great Valley Hotel in Frazer. “When I’m governor, we will restore the rights to parents and guarantee that there will be no sexually explicit content in our schools without parental consent.”

Parents have been speaking out against these age-inappropriate books in public schools throughout the Delaware Valley region, including Radnor, Downingtown, Great Valley, Central Bucks, and West Chester Area school districts. And it’s been an issue for parents across the country and arguably the main issue that propelled Republican governor Glenn Youngkin into office in Virginia.

Some Chester County parents contacted Barletta to alert him to certain books available to children down to elementary school age.

Lou Barletta with parents at his press conference.

One of those parents, Fenicia Redman, who has children in the Great Valley School District, spoke out on the issue.

“I met Lou during a (candidates’) forum, and he was the only candidate when I confronted this serious issue about making a stand,” Redman said. “I have been confronting this issue to Great Valley along with other parents for the past eight months, and it shows how urgent it is to have federal and state officials address this in our children’s schools.”

One of the highly contested books in the West Chester Area School District’s taxpayer-funded school libraries is a book titled “Gender Queer.” The book is “a graphic biography of a young female who wants to be male but has to figure out how to incorporate her female body into that fantasy.”

Image from “Gender Queer”

When a parent brought the book to the district’s attention, a 17-person committee was formed to review it. On March 28, the school board voted 8 to 1 to keep this book, even as tensions over the issue continued to rise.

“We can’t allow this issue to continue to divide us, and we must make sure that our kids are protected from this explicit content,” Barletta said. “There is no explanation needed to think this is tolerable, and I will do everything within my power to ban this content.”

Barletta, who has four daughters and 10 grandchildren, emphasized the importance of having a good education and how it will have lasting effects on families throughout the commonwealth.

“Education is the key to lifting people out of poverty and empowering kids to follow their dreams,” Barletta said. “When we address this correctly, Pennsylvania will be a place where families will want to send their kids to school here whether it’s charter, public, or private.”

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Early Polls Have Dr. Oz, Former Congressman Lou Barletta on Top With GOP Voters

The Trafalgar Group has consistently been one of the most accurate pollsters in American politics, predicting President Trump’s shocking victory in 2016. And their new poll of the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate GOP primary finds that, at the moment, it’s the Dr. Oz Show.

And former Congressman Lou Barletta holds a narrow 4-point lead over state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) in the governor’s race.

The poll, which has a 2.99 percent margin of error, sampled 1,070 voters likely to vote in the 2022 Republican primary.

The Senate race has Dr. Mehmet Oz in the lead with 27.4 percent of the vote, followed by hedge fund manager Dave McCormick, with 15.9 percent. Former ambassador Carla Sands was third with 14.8 percent, followed by Fox News personality and author Kathy Barnette at 8.9 percent and Montgomery County real estate developer Jeff Bartos at 6.6 percent.

Montgomery County lawyer Sean Gale had 1.9 percent, Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto had 1.6 percent, and investigator Everette Stern garnered 1.5 percent.

However, 21.6 percent of the respondents said they still haven’t decided how they’re going to vote in the May 17 primary.

“Dr. Oz’s no-nonsense, fighter mentality has Pennsylvania Republicans rallying behind his campaign because they know he is on their side, taking on the political, media, and medical establishments to protect their freedoms. Beijing’s favorite candidate David McCormick continues to flounder, despite spending millions on a China-funded smear campaign,” Dr. Oz’s communications director Brittany Yanick said in a statement.

McCormick communications director Jess Szymanski said they aren’t impressed. “The only hall of fame Mehmet Oz is going to join is in Hollywood. He is being rejected by Pennsylvania conservatives and this poll proves it. They see through the fraud of his candidacy and his negative campaign that has already been caught lying. He started with 100 percent name ID and a huge lead and has dropped every single week that he’s been in the race. At this rate, he will be back on TV in China by April.”

“The Trafalgar poll shows Carla well-positioned to capitalize off of her Trump credentials to win the nomination. In an eight-person field, Carla is in a statistical tie with David McCormick for second place behind Mehmet Oz, both of whom have outspent Sands significantly,” said a spokeswoman for Sands. “As McCormick and Oz continue to pummel each other on the airwaves, Carla is fighting for the voters of Pennsylvania and sits perfectly positioned to be a viable third option.”

Kathy Barnette

Barnette came out swinging.

“The people of Pennsylvania have a very important decision to make. It is my hope that we have all learned a valuable lesson over these past two years about what kind of leadership we need in Washington, D.C. We need fighters. We need representatives who will actually represent us and not the will of big money interest. We need to stop picking and rewarding people who have so much money themselves that they don’t need the support of the people, except on voting day,” Barnette said. “Do we really need to send one more rich person to D.C. just because they’re so rich that they can buy an election? How has that worked out for us over these past two years? Which of the three candidates who are reflected in this poll as the ‘top three’ were actually living in Pennsylvania when our schools were shut down, businesses were shuttered, nursing home deaths were exploding, churches closed, rioting and looting filled our streets and our election laws were being unconstitutionally changed?

“The thing about these particular three is that when they lose, we will never see them again. And if they win, we will never see them again. So, choose wisely Pennsylvania. We only get one shot at this,” she said.

Lou Barletta

In the governor’s race, Barletta holds the lead with 24 percent, followed by Mastriano, who garnered 20 percent. Barletta has consistently led in GOP primary polls.

The two leaders are followed by state Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman at 5 percent; former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain at 4 percent; Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) at 4 percent; someone else at 14 percent; and 29 percent were undecided.

Dave White, the businessman and former Delaware County councilman who won most of the straw polls, was not mentioned. And since the survey was taken, Martin suspended his campaign.

Both Barletta and Mastriano have ties to former President Donald Trump.

“This reflects what we see and shows the success of Lou’s massive grassroots campaign. We are still working hard to earn every vote,” said Jeremy Sheftel, Barletta’s campaign manager.

Mastriano did not respond to a request for comment.

However, Christopher Borick, a professor of political science at Muhlenberg College and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said it is early in the election season and things could easily change by primary day.

“At this point of the races, the poll results reflect name recognition and some other candidate attributes,” said Borick. “Barletta has run a statewide race before and Oz is a household name. Mastriano has built a substantial media presence and has a strong following in the Trump wing of the GOP.    I would be cautious about making too much of the results at this point because a number of candidates with substantial resources have yet to fully make their ad buys.”

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Josh Shapiro remains the only prominent Democrat running for governor.

In the Senate race, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman showed a commanding lead of 45 percent in an internal poll released on Feb. 1. Congressman Conor Lamb followed him at 15 percent, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta at 12 percent, and Montgomery County Commissioners Chair Val Arkoosh at 4 percent. Arkoosh has since dropped out.


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Commonwealth Court Strikes Down PA’s Controversial Act 77 Voting Law

The Commonwealth Court Friday ruled that Pennsylvania’s no-excuse mail-in voting law, Act 77, is unconstitutional.

In addition to striking down the law, the court ordered the acting secretary of state not to enforce Act 77.

The 3-2 ruling found the law, which permitted no-excuse absentee voting, while ending straight-ticket voting, violated the constitutional requirement of “the physical presence of the elector.” The judges found the legislature could not make changes to voting laws without amending the state Constitution.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democratic candidate for governor, said he will appeal the decision.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro

“This opinion is based on twisted logic and faulty reasoning, and is wrong on the law,” said Shapiro, who is also the presumed Democratic candidate for governor. It will be immediately appealed and therefore won’t have any immediate impact on Pennsylvania’s upcoming elections. The issue will now go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and we are confident in the constitutionality of Act 77.”

Gov. Tom Wolf agreed, saying, “The administration will immediately appeal this decision to the state Supreme Court and today’s lower court ruling will have no immediate effect on mail-in voting pending a final decision on the appeal.

An appeal has already been filed, triggering an automatic stay that keeps the law in place during the appeal process.

“The Republican-controlled legislature passed Act 77 with strong bipartisan support in 2019 to make voting more safe, secure, and accessible and millions of Pennsylvanians have embraced it,” Wolf said.

He accused Republicans who opposed Act 77 of “trying to silence the people.”

Sen. Jake Corman

Pennsylvania Republicans, however, were thrilled. And they used the ruling to criticize the Wolf administration’s execution of the law.

“There have been numerous concerns raised about the way Act 77 was implemented by the Department of State, especially the double standard created by the removal of key mail-in ballot security measures in lead-up to the 2020 election,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte). After what occurred in the 2020 and 2021 elections, I have no confidence in the no-excuse mail in ballot provisions. There is no doubt that we need a stronger election law than the one we have in place today.

“Today’s ruling should serve as a call to action to open up a serious conversation about the reforms necessary to make voting both accessible and secure for all Pennsylvanians. Gov. Wolf has ignored this debate for over a year, but hopefully this ruling will help bring him to the table so we can address concerns about our election system once and for all.”

Corman plans to introduce a bill with voter ID, eliminating straight-party voting and ending drop-boxes, as well as banning outside money to fund elections, which was done by Mark Zuckerberg in key areas of Pennsylvania in 2020.

Bill McSwain

Republican Bill McSwain, the former U.S. Attorney for eastern Pennsylvania running for governor castigated those who supported Act 77, including his Republican primary opponents.

“Act 77 has wreaked havoc across our state and robbed voters of confidence in their elections. Any politician who supported this unconstitutional bill on either side of the aisle is unqualified to be governor,” said McSwain. “As U.S. Attorney and as a candidate for governor, I have consistently called Act 77 unconstitutional, and applaud the Commonwealth Court for recognizing it as such.”

Lou Barletta

Former Congressman Lou Barletta, another gubernatorial candidate, promised to repeal Act 77 if it remains on the books after appeals are exhausted.

“Now we know that not only was Act 77 a terrible law, it was also unconstitutional and shouldn’t have been passed in the first place,” said Barletta. “Most states that go to widespread mail-in voting take years to implement the process, but in Pennsylvania, we went from under 300,000 people voting by mail in 2016 to over 2.6 million in 2020. Local elections officers weren’t trained, equipped, or staffed to handle the flood of ballots and the result was the chaos that we all saw.”


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UPDATE: Bartos Wins Two GOP Caucuses Saturday, Governor’s Vote Divided

Jeff Bartos won two straw polls in northeast Pennsylvania this weekend, giving the Montgomery County businessman a perfect record in these early bellwether contests. He won the Republican State Committee’s Central Caucus a week earlier.

On Saturday, Bartos won the Northeast Central Caucus Straw poll for the Senate nomination, as well as the Northeast Caucus which took place the same day.

In the 15-person governor’s race, former Congressman Lou Barletta won the NE Caucus straw poll outright. However, in the NE Central Caucus’ straw poll, Delaware Valley businessman Dave White won. But a second vote that group took, using rank voting muddied the waters. That vote placed Barletta at the top, GOP strategist Charlie Gerow in second and White in third.

Clarice Schillinger, who led a movement to keep kids in school, won the lieutenant governor straw poll for the NE Caucus but the NE Central Caucus did not vote on lieutenant governor, instead delaying its vote until next week.

The straw polls are a process where Republican Party leaders and activists vote on their preferred candidates, among those who have thrown their hat in the ring for the 2022 races. This year the ballot will be topped by contests for governor, U.S. Senator and lieutenant governor.

“I am blown away to have received such tremendous support in the Northeast and NECRA caucuses. GOP grassroots leaders know that no other candidate knows this state, loves this state, or is as prepared to serve this state as I am,” Bartos said in a statement.

Bartos was the favorite of the Northeast Central Caucus including Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, and Schuylkill counties, as well as the Northeast Caucus for Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties’ party leaders.

Bartos also won the Central Caucus straw poll on Jan. 15, part of a Delaware Valley candidate sweep, where White also won.

“We were very happy with the results,” said Gerow, about Saturday’s second-place outcome in the ranked vote. “And continue to press our campaign with the people.”

While the caucus results are encouraging, the primary will determine whose name is on the fall ballot, he said.

White, on Facebook, thanked members of the NECRC for their support, saying, “We have the momentum to win in May and November.”

“Winning the plurality vote for the Northeast Caucus is very humbling,” said Schillinger via a text message. “I will continue to travel the Commonwealth and promise to take the concerns we ALL share to the steps of the Capitol.”

Three more caucuses are scheduled, two for Jan. Jan and one for Feb. 2.


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Lou Barletta Promises to Bus Illegal Immigrants to Delaware, President Biden’s Home State

If he becomes Pennsylvania governor, Lou Barletta says he will bus illegal immigrants to Delaware.

Barletta is taking a page out of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ playbook in saying he would send migrants that the federal government has been flying throughout the country to President Joe Biden’s home state.

The Florida governor recently told Fox News he was considering responding to the Biden administration’s policy of flying migrants from the U.S. southern border to states like his by sending them on to Biden’s home state.

“Our view is that if they’re going to be dumping, we want to be able to facilitate transfer to places like Delaware. And so we have $8 million in my new budget to be able to do that,” DeSantis said.

Barletta, 65, who is polling ahead of the other 14 or so candidates running for the GOP voters’ nod in the May 2022 primary, first made national headlines with a no-nonsense attitude toward illegal immigrants when he was mayor of Hazleton. He says he likes what DeSantis is doing.

“We’re a lot closer to Delaware than Florida, and it will cost us all lot less money to ship people from Philadelphia to Wilmington than it will for DeSantis to ship them from Fort Lauderdale,” Barletta told the Delaware Valley Journal podcast on Wednesday.

Barletta said that he has stayed true to his principles “his whole political career” and always did what he thinks is right, “even if it’s not politically popular.”

“When I was mayor of Hazleton, I was the first mayor in the country to stand up against the illegal immigration because it was affecting our city,” said Barletta.

It’s a matter of fairness to Barletta.

“How many millions of (legal) immigrants who are waiting, have waited, have gone through the process, have paid the price (to) bring their families here legally,” said Barletta. “And, you know, they’re watching people just cross the border and getting the same benefits…which is unfair. It’s a case of unfairness, but everybody should care.”

Barletta, who also served in Congress and ran for the Senate against Democrat Bob Casey, said that his experience in government, coupled with his background as a small business owner, has prepared him to be governor.

Barletta promised to get the state’s economy back on track.

“I would open up our economy.” Pennsylvania “was blessed with all this energy under our feet,” he said. The commonwealth has as much mineral wealth as “an entire country.”

“That’s how much energy we have that we could be exporting, but also using it to bring manufacturing here, building pipelines, which will put people to work, having all this gas under our feet and not building a pipeline is like being in college and having a keg of beer without a tap.”

Barletta would also cut taxes and regulations to bring more businesses here.

“Pennsylvania’s not business-friendly,” said Barletta. The state has “the second-highest business taxes in the country” and “our regulatory agencies are used as weapons to punish businesses right now. The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) stands for don’t expect permits.”

Asked about the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that Wolf is entering Pennsylvania into without the legislature’s agreement, Barletta said, “Day one, I’m repealing RGGI.”

“It’s ludicrous that we would be a state with all this opportunity here. And we would put ourselves in a consortium of other states that could care less because they don’t have it. They don’t have the energy…that we have and our country needs this energy. Look at the price of gas…Pennsylvania can be a leader and we will be a leader, and that’s going to mean a lot more jobs and a lot more opportunities.”

So far the only Democrat running for governor is Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Meanwhile, many of the Republican gubernatorial candidates will be in Carlisle on Jan. 5 for their first debate, although Barletta will not attend any debates until after the qualifying period to be on the May primary ballot.

Among those also running: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale; former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain; Jason Richey, a Pittsburgh attorney; Charlie Gerow, a political strategist based in Harrisburg; Guy Ciarrocchi, who is on leave as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry; Dave White, a former Delaware County councilman and small business owner; Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who lives in Centre County; Melissa Hart, a lawyer and former congresswoman from Allegheny County; and Lancaster state Sen. Scott Martin, who also owns a small business. State Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, is also expected to run.

If he does, Mastriano may compete with Barletta for voters who support former President Donald Trump. Barletta was the first congressman to support Trump when the former billionaire businessman and TV star began his quest for office. Mastriano is a strong advocate of Trump’s contention that he lost to Biden in 2020 because of a rigged election.


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PODCAST: Lou Barletta Says He’s The Trump Guy PA Dems Can Love

In this edition of the Delaware Valley Journal podcast, former Congressman (and mayor of Hazelton, Pa.) Lou Barletta talks to News Editor Linda Stein about his race for governor and why he believes he’s the best candidate to take on Democratic A.G. Josh Shapiro next year.

Barletta makes the case that he’s got both the name ID and the ability to appeal to Democrats that the Republican Party needs to win the general election.

Hosted by Michael Graham.