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Bartos declares candidacy for US Senate in Pennsylvania

Bartos, 48, has longtime connections to GOP campaign donors and political elite through his work fundraising for candidates. He also served briefly as the state party’s finance chair.

  • By Marc Levy/Associated Press
The Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

Russ Walker / PA Post

The Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020.

(Harrisburg) — Jeff Bartos is formally launching his campaign for Pennsylvania’s wide-open U.S. Senate race, the highest-profile Republican candidate so far to declare for the seat.

Bartos, the Republican Party’s nominee for lieutenant governor in 2018, has said he was seriously considering a run and filed paperwork to run last month. On Monday, the suburban Philadelphia real estate investor and longtime GOP fundraiser updated his campaign website to say that he is running.

He declared his candidacy on Twitter, using an expletive to say he’d get things done.

“It’s time to make sure that the average Pennsylvanian has a fighting chance to live their own American Dream,” he wrote.

The Montgomery County resident is playing up his roots in Berks County and his work over the past year as a co-founder of the Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund, a non-profit that raised more than $3 million to distribute as forgivable loans to small businesses in Pennsylvania struggling through the pandemic.

Bartos originally started running for U.S. Senate in 2017 before switching to the lieutenant governor’s race after then-U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta joined the Senate stakes with Donald Trump’s backing.

Bartos, 48, has longtime connections to GOP campaign donors and political elite through his work fundraising for candidates. He also served briefly as the state party’s finance chair.

The Senate seat in the presidential battleground is being left open after two-term Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey announced in October that he would not run again.

The race for the Democratic nomination is already crowded.

Already declared are Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia, while several others say they are considering or will consider a run. They include state Sen. Sharif Street, who is also the vice chair of the state Democratic Party, and U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle, Chrissy Houlahan and Conor Lamb.

More than a half-dozen of unknown or first-time candidates from both parties have also filed to run.

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