Former Pittsburgh-Area Lawmaker To Run For Lieutenant Governor
A former state lawmaker and two-time congressional candidate from the Pittsburgh area who appeared to support efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's victory said Monday that he will run for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor next year.
Rick Saccone, 63, will make a formal announcement on Sept. 10, he said.
Saccone drew attention Jan. 6 when he posted videos online from outside the U.S. Capitol that appeared to support the violent insurrection by supporters of then-President Donald Trump to prevent Congress from counting Electoral College votes to confirm Biden's victory last November.
His comments also appeared to support Trump’s pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the session, to tip the results in Trump’s favor, although Pence's role was strictly ceremonial.
“We are in front of the U.S. Capitol, hundreds of thousands of people storming the Capitol, they broke down the gates, they’re macing them up there, we’re trying to run out all the evil people in there, all the RINO’s that have betrayed our president, we’re going to run them out of their offices,” Saccone said in the video. “We’re calling on Vice President Pence to support our president. ... I’m telling you there are hundreds of thousands of people here to support our president and save our nation. Are you with me?”
Saccone said Monday that he has not had any run-in with law enforcement over his statements and insisted he knew of no violence storming of the Capitol until an Associated Press reporter called him when he was back at his bus, ready to leave.
Saccone served four terms in the state House of Representatives from Allegheny County before losing a special election to Congress and a Republican primary for another congressional seat in 2018.
In the state House, Saccone was an early supporter of Trump known for his fiery speeches and a willingness to buck party leaders. Saccone had among the most conservative voting records, based on American Conservative Union ratings, and his support of religion in public life made him a favorite of religious conservatives.
He is a retired Air Force counterintelligence officer who served as a civilian adviser in Iraq and lived in South Korea, where he worked in the private sector, including as an anchor for an English-language television news station.
He also spent a period in North Korea as a diplomatic representative on an unsuccessful American-sponsored nuclear power project aimed at freezing North Korea’s homegrown plutonium production and earned a PhD. in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
The video he posted Jan. 6 led to him resigning a position as an adjunct professor from Saint Vincent College.