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WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Lou Barletta, a Trump ally, announced Monday that he plans to run next year for governor of Pennsylvania, a presidential battleground state that has flipped between Democrats and Republicans.
In a video, Barletta declared his candidacy and took aim at Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf for how he handled the Covid-19 pandemic and other Democratic policies.
“We need to take back our commonwealth, we need to take back our livelihoods from the insiders in Harrisburg that have no idea the harm their lockdowns have done,” Barletta said.
Barletta, 65, said that Pennsylvania’s response was “disastrous” because of Wolf’s leadership. He said the governor “squeezed our small business owners and put hardworking Pennsylvanians on the unemployment line” and “kept our kids out of school for far too long.”
The former congressman left Congress after a failed bid for the Senate in 2018 against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. Barletta served in the U.S. House for four consecutive terms beginning in 2011.
“We need to take back our natural resources from the elites and turn on the energy powerhouse that Pennsylvania can be,” Barletta said. “We need to take back our streets from the extremists who want to abolish our police and turn our neighborhoods into sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. We need to take back our elections from career politicians in Harrisburg, Democrat and Republican who oppose the mail in ballots system that injected chaos into our elections and destroyed voter confidence.”
Barletta is so far the most high-profile Republican to announce a bid in the governor's race. Wolf is term limited and cannot run for re-election. Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, is expected to be the leading Democratic contender.