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Gerlach Out of Gubernatorial Race, May Seek Re-Election

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) announced Thursday that he is dropping out of the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race and, through a spokesman, left the door open to running for re-election to the House.Gerlach said in a statement that he is dropping out of the statewide race because he could not raise enough money to fund his bid. But when pressed for an answer about whether the Congressman might run for his seat again, Gerlach spokesman Kori Walter said the four-term House Member was not ruling anything out.“Jim has not ruled anything in or out at this point,— Walter said. “We’re not announcing any plans at this point, other than the plan that he will not be seeking the nomination for governor.—House Republicans went to great lengths to find a top-tier candidate to run for Gerlach’s seat in southeastern Pennsylvania, luring wealthy businessman Steve Welch (R) from the neighboring 7th district race to run in Gerlach’s stead. It is not clear yet whether national Republicans would support Gerlach if he runs for re-election to his current seat or if they would continue to back Welch. Democrats have several competitive candidates in the open race, and strategists view the contest as one of their prime pickup opportunities this year. According to the Pennsylvania secretary of state’s Web site, Gerlach would have to circulate petitions and file his candidacy by March 9 in order to be eligible for the May 18 primary.In a statement provided by this campaign, Gerlach cited fundraising problems — specifically that he could not in good conscious raise four times the $1 million he has already brought in for the statewide race. Gerlach’s departure clears the field for state Attorney General Tom Corbett, who has been the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for months, according to most public polls.“That left me with two choices: either spend all of my time raising money with little time left for meeting with voters; or withdrawing my candidacy and working even harder to serve the public,— Gerlach said in the statement. “I am choosing to serve the public — many of whom have graciously rewarded me with their support for nearly two decades.—“I want to be clear about one thing: this campaign for governor has stoked my passion for honest, effective, and efficient government, and I intend to continue to raise my voice, and work hard in the months and years ahead,— Gerlach added.

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