EDITOR'S NOTE (May 16, 2022): This story has been updated to reflect which candidates will appear on the ballot in the May 17 primary, but have suspended their campaigns. For a comprehensive look at candidates running in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate and congressional races, click here.
The race for Pennsylvania governor in 2022 is wide open, with incumbent two-term Gov. Tom Wolf leaving office in Jan. 2023.
Wolf, a Democrat, cannot run for a third term. His party has a candidate waiting in the wings: Pennsylvania's current attorney general, Josh Shapiro, is the lone candidate for the Democratic nomination in the May primary election.
Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to find the right opponent to Shapiro, and overcome their party's shortcomings in the total number of registered voters. In Pennsylvania, there are 600,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. Initially, there were 14 Republican candidates. That number has shrunk to 10. Former President Donald Trump has not endorsed any of the candidates yet.
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If a Republican wins the gubernatorial election this year, it could mean that the party would control both the Legislature and the governor's mansion. Republicans currently hold a majority of seats in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. However, for 16 of the last 20 years, a Democrat has been governor.
Here's a look at the candidates currently in the race, and what voters need to know with the primary election just a few months away. Links to their official campaign websites are included. Anyone crossed out has suspended their campaign or dropped out of the race.
Pennsylvania Governor Race 2022 Candidates
Josh Shapiro (Democrat): The second-term state attorney general who lives in Abington Township, just outside Philadelphia, is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. No other Democrat filed petitions to run in the May 17 primary.
Lou Barletta (Republican): A former mayor of Hazleton in northeastern Pennsylvania who went on to represent his region in Congress, Barletta became known for his anti-immigration views and as an early supporter of President Donald Trump. The former president, however, did not endorse Barletta.
Jake Corman (Republican): A state senator for more than 20 years, taking over a seat previously held by his father, Corman represents a central Pennsylvania district that includes Pennsylvania State University's main campus. (UPDATE: Corman suspended his campaign on May 9, and endorsed Barletta.)
William McSwain (Republican): The former U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania is a Chester County resident who served as the federal prosecutor in the Philadelphia region for former President Trump. He often clashed with city District Attorney Larry Krasner. He also successfully blocked the opening of a supervised injection site in the city.
Dave White (Republican): The businessman from Delaware County, just south of Philadelphia, previously served on the county Council.
Shawn Berger (Republican): The Lehigh Valley business and restaurant owner is running as a pro-life, pro-marijuana conservative who wants to bring firearm safety training to public schools and provide more funding for education. Guy Ciarrocchi (Republican): The South Philadelphia native now serves as CEO of Chester County's Chamber of Business and Industry. He promises to run the state like a business, and use Chester County as the model. He is pro-cyber charter schools and anti-regulation.
Joe Gale (Republican): The second-term Montgomery County commissioner proudly calls himself "the only Republican not controlled by GOP part bosses," and has long touted his early support for former President Trump. He is against mail-in voting and COVID-19 restrictions.
Charlie Gerow (Republican): As one of the state's highest-profile Republican political consultants, Gerow has been involved in both state and national political campaigns for decades. He began his career working for former President Ronald Reagan after graduating from Villanova University Law School. He is pro-life, pro-school choice and supports Pennsylvania energy production.
Melissa Hart (Republican): The former congresswoman from western Pennsylvania served in the U.S. House from 2001-2007 before losing re-election to a Democratic challenger. She is an attorney who was born in Pittsburgh. (UPDATE: Hart suspended her campaign on May 10, and endorsed Barletta.) Scott Martin (Republican): The lifelong Lancaster County resident is a former county commissioner serving his first term as a state senator. He played professional football in the Arena Football League, and is anti-marijuana and pro-school choice.
Doug Mastriano (Republican): As a state senator representing a central Pennsylvania district along the Maryland border, Mastriano has risen fast in the last year by strongly supporting former President Trump's refutations of the 2020 election results. He attended the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington D.C., but says he did not take part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Trump has endorsed Mastriano in the primary.
Jason Richey (Republican): As a lawyer in Pittsburgh and native of western Pennsylvania, Richey wants to lower property taxes while also ensuring police departments and public safety are funded. He has former professional football coach Mike Ditka's endorsement. John Ventre (Republican): The western Pennsylvania business executive has a campaign slogan of "Never Socialist" and is running on a platform of shrinking government. He is proposing the radical contraction of the Pennsylvania Legislature, from 253 members to 84. He also proposes using taxpayer dollars for families to pay for private schools.
Nche Zama (Republican): A cardiothoracic surgeon from the Lehigh Valley, Dr. Zama immigrated to the United States on a student visa and earned a master's degree in management from Harvard University. His platform includes improving the COVID-19 response and getting rid of state business regulations.
Joe Soloski (Libertarian): An accountant who lives in central Pennsylvania, west of Harrisburg, the small-government advocate wants to decriminalize marijuana, sell the state liquor stores, enact term limits on elected officials, take away emergency powers from the governor and turn the state Legislature into a part-time job for politicians. Christina "Tina" Olson (Green): The co-chair of the Pennsylvania Green Party lives in Hellertown, Northampton County, in the Lehigh Valley.
How Long is a Governor's Term in PA?
A governor's term in Pennsylvania is four years. The elected position is term-limited. A person can only be governor for two terms in a row.
Pennsylvania Governor Race 2022 Polls, So Far
There has been very few polls done on the race so far through Jan. 19. Three of the largest national organizations that rate the competitiveness of statewide elections have rated the governor's race as a "toss-up," meaning it remains anyone's race to win.
When Is the Deadline to Register to Vote in PA's May 2022 Primary? What Is the Last Day to Apply for a Mail-in Ballot?
The last day to register to vote before the May 17 primary is May 2. To vote for specific candidates of a party, you must register as a member of that party. However, independent voters can still vote on ballot questions, of which there are expected to be many this year.
The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is May 10.
Here is a list of all the important dates that voters should be aware of in 2022.
When Are the Primary and General Elections in 2022 in PA?
The primary election in Pennsylvania is May 17. The general election is Nov. 8.