Jeff Bartos abandons Senate campaign, to run for lieutenant governor
Suburban Philadelphia businessman Jeff Bartos is abandoning his campaign for U.S. Senate to run for lieutenant governor as GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner's running mate.
Nominees for governor and lieutenant governor appear together on general election ballots in Pennsylvania, but run separately in primaries. But Wagner and Bartos cast themselves as a team in a joint news release Thursday.
“(Bartos) is a great guy who wants to change the way Harrisburg works,” Wagner, a first-term state senator and businessman from York County, said in the release. “He'll help me take on career politicians. He'll help me change the way things have always been done in Harrisburg.”
Of Wagner, Bartos, a real estate investor from Montgomery County, said: “Scott built his waste company from nothing into a major job engine right here in central Pennsylvania. He's a conservative. He's tough. He makes great things happen — something we really need in Harrisburg.”
Bartos added: “Scott's knows what it takes to win, and that's what he'll do. We both will.”
Wagner and Bartos have positioned themselves as political outsiders. During his U.S. Senate campaign, Bartos' attacked fellow GOP candidate Lou Barletta, a congressman from Luzerne County, as a career politician and, in an op-ed last month on the news website Breitbart, criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's performance, saying he would “not pledge” to vote for McConnell for Republican leader if elected to the Senate.
In addition to Wagner, former health care consultant Paul Mango of Pine and Pittsburgh attorney Laura Ellsworth are seeking the GOP nomination for governor.