State Senator Scott Wagner is taking an unorthodox step in his campaign for governor.
The conservative York County Republican has named a running mate—real estate developer and political outsider Jeff Bartos.
In some ways, the decision is only symbolic.
Pennsylvania’s primary system requires candidates for lieutenant governor to campaign separately from gubernatorial hopefuls. The winners from each party are automatically paired together.
Sometimes that leads to odd couplings, like current Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Mike Stack, who are known to have a strained relationship.
Wagner said that’s what he’s trying to avoid.
“We have a governor and Lieutenant Governor that don’t even speak to each other,” he said. “It is dysfunction at its best, and that has to stop.”
At their announcement, Wagner and Bartos stressed they have a lot in common.
“Scott and I are joined and united by the fact that we’re both conservatives, we’re both outsiders, and we’re both businesspeople,” Bartos said.
Both also expressed admiration for Donald Trump, though Wagner did try to distinguish himself from the president, whose poll numbers are hovering below 40 percent.
“Donald Trump grew up in the New York real estate world. I grew up on a farm in York, Pennsylvania,” Wagner said. “I’m a blue collar guy; I came to Harrisburg because I was fed up.”
Bartos had previously been running for the US Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat Bob Casey.
He’s officially terminating that bid, a move he said should help fellow Casey challenger, Republican Congressman Lou Barletta.