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Early Financial Reports Suggest Saccone Has Small Edge In GOP Primary

Republican Rick Saccone drew upon national Republican support during his special election campaign against Democrat Conor Lamb last month. He lost that race anyway, and federal campaign-finance reports show he may not be able to count on that edge when facing a new Republican challenger, state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, in the May 15 primary.

The reports, the first filed since the March 13 special election and the first to give a head-to-head match up between the Republican contenders, show Saccone with $225,014.30 on hand. Reschenthaler had $75,997.90, though both campaigns have some debts to pay.

But Saccone’s edge comes as little surprise. The reports cover a period that began in late February, when he was running as the Republican nominee in a race that attracted national attention.  During that time, he raised nearly $929,000, much of which came from out of state, and spent more than $1 million. 

Reschenthaler’s fundraising, meanwhile, didn't get underway until a few days before the reporting period ended. And while his totals were boosted by contributions from members of ColdSpark Media, a campaign consultant that is working on his bid, several prominent Republicans are also backing him.

A political committee tied to Senator Pat Toomey was among Reschenthaler’s biggest supporters, backing him with a $5,000 contribution. (The committee had backed Saccone's special election bid last year.) Charlie Dent, a moderate Congressman from eastern Pennsylvania who is retiring this year, gave $1,000. Republican gubernatorial candidate Laura Ellsworth gave $2,700, as did a former chair of the state Republican Party, Rob Gleason.

Another Reschenthaler supporter is state Senator Kim Ward, who competed with Mr. Reschenthaler to be the nominee in the special election. When she was eliminated from contention in a nominating conference, her supporters largely backed Mr. Saccone. 

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.
WESA will be surveying Pennsylvania candidates for federal and state office for the 2022 general election — tell us which issues are most important to you.