With Trump urging, Barletta mulls run against Casey

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WASHINGTON — Congressman Lou Barletta, the former Hazelton mayor who became one of President Trump’s earliest supporters in Pennsylvania, is mulling a run against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey.


The Luzerne County Republican said Wednesday that he talked with Trump this week and has been encouraged by others to consider running against Casey, a Democrat seeking his third term. 

“I’m going to sit down and talk with my family and determine what steps I need to take from there,” Barletta said in an interview. The Associated Press first reported his interest in the race.


A Barletta bid for Senate in 2018 could be seen as a measure of Trump’s lasting support in Pennsylvania. He won the state in November, a victory that ended nearly three decades of Keystone State losses by GOP presidential nominees, and was seen as a cornerstone of his election. 





Barletta gained prominence last year as half of a team of Pennsylvania surrogates then-candidate Trump dubbed “Thunder and Lightning.” (The other was Republican Congressman Tom Marino, though Trump never specified who was thunder and who was lightning). Once reliably working class Democratic, Northeast Pennsylvania became one of the regions that swung for Trump. 

Barletta said one aim in moving to the Senate would be to help advance the president’s agenda. “Obviously the people of Pennsylvania would like to see the things he campaigned on become a reality,” he said.

He did not, however, say if Trump pledged to support him if he ran.

The four-term Congressman previously made his name for his tough anti-illegal immigration stands as the mayor of Hazleton. Trump’s backing would be a boon, though Barletta comes from a small media market and would have to make up significant fund-raising ground: he had $341,000 in his campaign fund as of his last report, compared to $3.8 million for Casey.




Four other Republicans have filed to run: state Rep. Rick Saccone, Jeff Bartos, Andrew Shecktor and Paul Delong. Another, state Rep. Jim Christiana, has declared his candidacy, though he has not filed formal paperwork.















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