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Rep. Mike Kelly Skips Gov Race in PA as RGA Recruitment Failures Continue

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In the latest recruitment failure for the RGA, GOP Congressman Mike Kelly is not running for governor, according to one report – joining Senator Pat Toomey who has also already decided to stay on the sidelines. 

Kelly’s decision to join Toomey and not run means he’s going to avoid what is already gearing up to a messy and extreme Pennsylvania GOP primary about embracing former President Trump’s harmful policies and toxic conspiracy theories. Just this week, several potential GOP candidates for Governor attended a Berks County GOP fundraiser where the county chairman compared Democrats to “Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Japan’s Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.”

Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that failed U.S. Senate candidate Lou Barletta is starting a new state-level PAC in the lead up to a likely gubernatorial campaign. Barletta was one of the first members of Congress to support Trump in 2016, and Trump campaigned heavily for Barletta during his failed run in 2018.

Barletta is joined by Trump appointee Bill McSwain and Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale. McSwain remained silent as Trump tried to overturn the will of Pennsylvania voters, but had no problem using his public office to spend more than $75,000 in taxpayer dollars to promote himself in a self-centered ad campaign, including billboards, TV ads and radio ads. Meanwhile Gale has already launched ads against other Republicans after making clear he entered the race to “continue advancing the Trump movement” and “hold bad Republicans accountable.”

“Potential top Republican candidates in Pennsylvania are already dropping like flies in this race for governor because they know the GOP primary is guaranteed to be a nasty fight that will result in a divided party and unpopular nominee,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton. “But with the likely field of C-List options of die-hard Trump extremists like Joe Gale, Bill McSwain and Lou Barletta, the Republican primary will still get plenty of attention – just for all the wrong reasons.”