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Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor: A guide to the 2022 primary and candidates

  • By Emily Previti/ WESA
 The Pennsylvania Capitol is lit at night in the yellow and blue colors of the Ukrainian flag in solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa.

Marc Levy / AP Photo

The Pennsylvania Capitol is lit at night in the yellow and blue colors of the Ukrainian flag in solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Harrisburg, Pa.

What’s at stake : The lieutenant governor’s office doesn’t have a long list of official responsibilities, but the role’s gravity transcends its historically low profile (scandal and star power notwithstanding). In addition to refereeing the state Senate, the LG chairs the Board of Pardons and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The job also requires keeping tabs on local government agencies across the diverse, massive Keystone State. All those tasks have amassed more import in recent years since the role’s relevance was questioned. And the position’s significance seems poised to grow on the heels of the pandemic and a chaotic 2020 election (and startlingly unaffected redistricting process) — not to mention the Board of Pardons’ significance in desperately needed criminal justice reforms. And, maybe, this year’s winner will someday be needed to cast the Senate’s tie-breaking vote.

Note: Campaign finance fundraising totals include contributions raised in 2021 and 2022. Data updated 4/18/22.

Democrats

Austin Davis 

State Representative Austin Davis

Courtesy Of Friends Of Austin Davis

State Representative Austin Davis

Davis’s war chest dwarfs that of the Republican field, at least as of the last campaign finance report filing deadline on April 5. Paired with Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro, Davis, 32, hails from McKeesport and has spent much of his life in politics and the Pittsburgh area. Davis was the first Black state representative elected from his district in 2018, and he would be the state’s first Black lieutenant governor if he wins this race.

Party: Democrat
Experience:
Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 35th District (2018 – present);
Previous aide to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
Education: University of Pittsburgh (B.S.)
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Allegheny County Democratic Committee; 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club; gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro; Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
Fundraising total: $673,863
Cash on hand: $624,407
Worth reading: “Austin Davis announces bid for lieutenant governor, backed by Josh Shapiro” (Chris Potter, WESA)

Brian Sims

Matt Rourke / The Associated Press

FILE PHOTO: State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, accompanied by other officials, speaks at a protest calling on Pennsylvania to add sexual orientation to its hate crime law at John F. Kennedy Plaza, also known as Love Park in Philadelphia.

Sims made history as Pennsylvania’s first openly gay state legislator when he was elected more than a decade ago to represent Center City Philadelphia in the state House. He’s spent those years in the House of Representatives, not the Senate —where he would run voting sessions as lieutenant governor. Opponents say Sims’s quick temper makes him ill-suited for that part of the job, but supporters defend his record. Sims settled in Philly after law school in Michigan and a peripatetic upbringing by two parents who are Army officers.

Party: Democrat
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 182nd District (2012 – present)
Education: Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (B.S.); Michigan State University (J.D.)
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: LGBTQ Victory Fund; Philly Neighborhood Networks; Philadelphia state Reps. Angel Cruz and Chris Rabb
Fundraising total: $819,582
Cash on hand: $316,859
Worth reading: “Philly Democrat Brian Sims sparks firestorm after posting videos of him scolding Planned Parenthood protesters” (Andrew Seidman, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Ray Sosa

Courtesy The Sosa Campaign

Ray Sosa

Sosa has run for lieutenant governor before, and is adamant about the importance of the office. Sosa has criticized current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a fellow Democrat now running for Senate, for his handling of the pandemic as head of PEMA. More broadly, Sosa critiques the practice of using the position as a launching pad to higher office through the years. Sosa, who’d be the first Latino lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania if elected, is a finance and insurance consultant and has lived in suburban Philadelphia for more than a decade.

Party: Democrat
Education: Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (B.B.A.)
LinksWebsite | Facebook
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising total: 4,507
Cash on hand: $-947

Republicans

John Brown

Courtesy The Brown Campaign

John Brown

Brown’s tenure in local government started in 2009 when he ran for mayor of Bangor, Northampton County, after a career in banking and pharmaceuticals. He says his years in the borough’s highest office, as Northampton County Executiveand his time on Northampton County Council have prepared him well for keeping the peace during state Senate debates. As Board of Pardons chair, he would similarly lean on his experiences overseeing the implementation of Northampton’s re-entry program and enhanced law enforcement training protocols.

Party: Republican 
Experience: Northampton County Council member (2022 – present)
SEDA – COG Executive Director (2020)
Northampton County Executive (2014 – 2017)
Mayor of Bangor (2010 – 2014)
Education: Notre Dame University (B.S.)
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising total: $395.55
Cash on hand: $395.55

Jeff Coleman

Courtesy The Coleman Campaign

Jeff Coleman

Coleman previously served nearly two terms as a state rep out of Western Pennsylvania, after ousting a 12-year incumbent to win office at age 25 in 2000 and then leaving office early to host a political radio show. The political consultant says he’s running to help restore civility and substantive (vs. performative) debate on the Senate floor. Of the Republican candidates, he’s reported the most campaign cash on hand as of this writing.

Party: Republican 
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 60th District (2001 – 2004)
Education: Liberty University (B.S.)
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Former Board of Pardons Secretary and former opponent/candidate Brandon Flood
Fundraising total: $139,642
Cash on hand: $21,865

Teddy Daniels

Daniels cut his political teeth supporting former President Donald Trump, including organizing during Trump’s re-election campaign and the insurrection on Jan. 6. Daniels, who recently filed an unsuccessful redistricting lawsuit, hasn’t submitted campaign finance disclosures for this race yet. But he’d raised more than half a million dollars for his Congressional run in 2020 and another he’d started before deciding to seek state office instead. The 47-year-old U.S. Army veteran had a controversial law enforcement career and more recently started his own security consultancy targeting the cannabis industry. Daniels, who played football at West Virginia University, is from Montgomery County and lives in Wayne County.

Party: Republican 
Education: Valley Forge Military Academy
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Gab
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: State Sen. Doug Mastriano
Fundraising total: $139,962
Cash on hand: $92,606
Worth reading: “Domestic-abuse allegation haunts law-and-order MAGA candidate” (Hunter Walker, Rolling Stone)
Pennsylvania GOP lieutenant governor candidate calls out opponent over Facebook post” (Mark Scolforo, AP)

Carrie Lewis DelRosso

Courtesy The DelRosso Campaign

Carrie DelRosso

DelRosso is still in her first term in Harrisburg representing Pittsburgh’s northeast suburbs after defeating longtime incumbent House Minority Leader Frank Dermody. (DelRosso, a Republican, was drawn out of that district by a new map of House political boundaries.) She was likewise in her first term on Oakmont Borough Council when she launched her statehouse bid. The 46-year-old Scranton native previously ran her own public relations firm, counting Pittsburgh-area school districts, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses among her clients. DelRosso, who has two children, has said motherhood has prepared her for keeping the peace during state Senate sessions.

Party: Republican 
Experience: 
Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 33rd District (2021 – present)
Education: University of Pittsburgh
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsementsCommonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs; full list here.
Fundraising total: $141,150
Cash on hand: $115,684
Worth reading: “First-term state Rep. Delrosso jumps into GOP race for Pa. lieutenant governor” (Julian Routh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Russ Diamond

Sam Dunklau / WITF

State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) speaks at a meeting of the House State Government committee on Jan. 10, 2022.

Diamond’s political career went mainstream in 2014, when he weathered domestic violence accusations and the local GOP’s demand to quit to win a statehouse seat on the Republican ticket after losing as a Libertarian for nearly a decade. Spurred by the state’s midnight pay-raise scandal of 2005, Diamond got into politics after years of running his Raintree Multimedia in Annville, Lebanon County. In recent years, Diamond staunchly opposed mask mandates during the pandemic, and professed ignorance about the insurrection when questioned days later regarding election disinformation he and other Pennsylvania Republicans had amplified.

Party: Republican
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives (2015 – present)
Education: Northern Lebanon High School; Lebanon County VoTech
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: None currently available
Fundraising total: $24,930
Cash on hand: $16,343
Worth reading: “COVID-19 vaccine mandates give rise to call for protecting medical freedom in Pa. constitution” (Jan Murphy, PennLive)
Pennsylvania GOP lieutenant governor candidate calls out opponent over Facebook post” (Mark Scolforo, AP)

Chris Frye

Courtesy The Frye Campaign

Chris Frye

Frye is the first Black mayor of New Castle, Lawrence County (pop. 22,000). Before winning election in 2020, the career social worker was overseeing multiple grants and collaborations for the county’s Community Action Partnership. Frye also did a post-grad school stint with U.S. Pretrial and Probation Services as a workforce development specialist, which he’s said suits him particularly well to lead the Board of Pardons. The lifelong Republican, 33, also pointed to his experience in local government as a strong qualification. If elected, Frye would be the state’s first Black lieutenant governor.

Party: Republican 
Experience: Mayor of New Castle (2020 – present)
Education: Gannon University (B.A.), University of Pittsburgh (MSW)
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Instagram
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Butler County Republican Committee, Frederick Douglass Foundation
Fundraising total: $19,988
Cash on hand: $6,006

James Jones

Courtesy The James Campaign

James Jones

Jones has run twice for Congress — in 2010 and 2016 — in Pennsylvania, where he’s lived for more than two decades. His oil and petroleum products trading business, Silverback Commodities, is headquartered in Philadelphia; Jones lives in Montgomery County. He grew up in Arkansas, joined the U.S. Navy and served for nearly 20 years. Like Democrat Austin Davis and fellow Republican Chris Frye, Jones would be the state’s first Black lieutenant governor if elected.

Party: Republican 
Experience: CEO, Silverback Commodities (2003 – present)
Education: Southern Illinois University (B.S.)
LinksWebsite | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: BlakPAC, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia
Fundraising total: Not yet announced
Cash on hand: Not yet announced

Rick Saccone

Republican Rick Saccone, talks with supporters at a campaign rally on Monday, March 5, 2018 in Waynesburg, Pa. Saccone is running against Democrat Conor Lamb in a special election being held on March 13 for the PA 18th Congressional District vacated by Republican Tim Murphy. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Following careers in broadcasting and the military as an officer and civilian/consultant, Saccone represented southwestern Pennsylvania for eight years in the state House of Representatives. Saccone lost two bids for Congress in 2018, an opportunity created by a lawsuit-prompted, off-schedule redistricting in Pennsylvania. He re-emerged in the public square on Jan. 6, 2021, when he posted Facebook videos of himself at the insurrection. While it was determined he hadn’t actually entered the U.S. Capitol building, Saccone resigned his professorship at Saint Vincent College after the school opened an investigation into the incident.

Party: Republican
Experience: Pennsylvania House of Representatives – 39th district (2011 – 2018)
Education: Weber State College (B.S.); University of Oklahoma (M.P.A.); Naval Postgraduate School (M.A.); University of Pittsburgh (Ph.D.)
LinksWebsite | Facebook
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Gun Owners of America Pennsylvania
Fundraising total: $40,440
Cash on hand: $12,149
Worth reading: “Former Pittsburgh-area lawmaker to run for Lieutenant Governor” (Marc Levy, Associated Press)

Clarice Schillinger

Courtesy The Schillinger Campaign

Clarice Schillinger

Schillinger left her job as a state legislative aide in August 2020 to enter the political fray in her own right, advocating for reopening schools during the COVID-19 pandemic through fundraisinglitigation, and supporting school board candidates. Backed by venture capital and buoyed by national media coverage, most of those candidates won their races. Education remains a priority for Schillinger, along with the economy — both of which are tangential to the lieutenant governor’s official role. But based on her statements so far, voters should expect her to be a tough sell on approving applications considered by the state Board of Pardons.

Party: Republican
Experience: Founder, Keeping Kids in School Political Action Committee/Executive Director, Back to School PA (2020 – 2021)
Executive Assistant to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (2017 – 2020)
Education: Penn State University (B.A.)
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram YouTube
Candidate surveysLeague of Women Voters
Major endorsements: Pennsylvania Leadership Conference
Fundraising Total: $489,586
Cash on hand: $276,484
Worth reading: “How political organizers are channeling parents’ education frustrations” (Gabe Cohen, CNN)

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Pennsylvania Governor: A guide to the 2022 primary and candidates