HARRISBURG, Pa. — Candidates came in a stampede before Tuesday's deadline to file paperwork to get on Pennsylvania's primary ballots, as large fields shape up for the open governor’s office, lieutenant governor's office and U.S. Senate seat.
This year's election is the first time in decades that Pennsylvania has its governor's office and a U.S. Senate seat on the same ballot with no incumbent running.
That has sparked heavy interest from would-be candidates in contests that are viewed as wide open. Twelve apiece filed for U.S. Senate and lieutenant governor, while 11 filed for governor, most of them Republicans.
Save for Democrat Josh Shapiro's near-certain nomination for governor, the national and state parties have not waded into the contests for governor and U.S. Senate, and neither has former President Donald Trump.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive term, while Sen. Pat Toomey, a second-term Republican, is not running again. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, is running for U.S. Senate, instead of seeking another term.
The 5 p.m. close-of-business deadline to file enough voter signatures to make Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary ballot also applied to races for Congress.
The state allows one week to file court challenges to a candidate's paperwork, and courts have one more week after that — until March 29 — to render a decision.
A look at who has filed, according to information from state election officials:
Both parties will have contested primaries.
Five filed for the Democratic Party's nomination.
They are: emergency room physician Kevin Baumlin; Fetterman; second-term state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia; liberal activist Alex Khalil; and third-term U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb of suburban Pittsburgh.
On the Republican side are seven candidates.
They are: conservative activist Kathy Barnette, who has aligned herself with leading figures in the Trump-led push to overturn 2020's presidential election; real estate investor Jeff Bartos, who was the party's nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018; lawyer George Bochetto; lawyer Sean Gale; former hedge fund CEO David McCormick; Mehmet Oz, the self-styled health and wellness guru and author best-known as host of daytime TV's “The Dr. Oz Show;" and Carla Sands, Trump's former ambassador to Denmark who ran her late husband's commercial real estate empire in California.
The Democratic Party's presumed nominee, Shapiro, filed to run for governor in the midst of serving his second term as Pennsylvania's elected attorney general. He has a clear lane to the party's nomination with no opposition.
Ten candidates filed to run on the Republican side.
They are: Lou Barletta, the GOP's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018 and a former congressman known for his crusade against illegal immigration; Jake Corman, the top-ranking state senator; Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner; Charlie Gerow, a marketing consultant and longtime conservative activist; Melissa Hart, a lawyer and former congresswoman; state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a force in Pennsylvania's right-wing politics who aligned himself with Trump and pushed to overturn 2020's presidential election; Bill McSwain, a lawyer who was the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Philadelphia; Jason Richey, a Pittsburgh-based lawyer who specializes in commercial and contract litigation; Dave White, who runs a large plumbing and HVAC firm and is a former Delaware County councilman; and Nche Zama, a heart surgeon who has directed units at various hospitals in Pennsylvania.
Both parties have contests for the open seat with Fetterman seeking higher office.
On the Democratic side, three filed, including two state lawmakers.
They are second-term Pittsburgh-area Rep. Austin Davis, five-term Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia and Raymond Sosa, a financial planner who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018. Davis is running on a ticket with Shapiro.
On the Republican side, nine candidates filed.
They are: John Brown, a former elected executive of Northampton County and the party's 2016 nominee for lieutenant governor; Jeff Coleman, a former state lawmaker and political and marketing consultant; Teddy Daniels, a former police officer and Army combat veteran who is aligned with Trump and says he was outside the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of the Jan. 6 insurrection; Carrie DelRosso, a freshman state lawmaker from suburban Pittsburgh; Russ Diamond, a state lawmaker from Lebanon County who was prominent in resistance to pandemic-era government measures; Christopher Frye, the mayor of New Castle; James Jones, who runs an oil and petroleum products trading business; Rick Saccone, a former state lawmaker from the Pittsburgh area who also was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6; and Clarice Schillinger, a Bucks County resident who got politically involved in school board races last year in a push against pandemic-era measures.
Fifteen incumbents are running for reelection for Pennsylvania’s 17 congressional seats in newly drawn districts.
At least 56 candidates filed and most incumbents will have a primary or general election challenge.
Two Pittsburgh-area districts lack an incumbent and will provide an opportunity for newcomers. Six filed to run in the Pittsburgh-based district, while five filed in the district just to the west.