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Barletta Announces His Candidacy for Senate

Was a vocal supporter of Trump, who encouraged him to run

In a video announcing his Senate campaign, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barleta echoes some of President Donald Trump’s themes. (
In a video announcing his Senate campaign, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barleta echoes some of President Donald Trump’s themes. (

Republican Rep. Lou Barletta announced Tuesday he will challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey for Pennsylvania’s Senate race next year.


Barletta made the announcement in a video on his website after months of speculation that he would challenge the two-term incumbent.

Barletta had been encouraged to run for the Senate by President Donald Trump, whom Barletta vocally supported. Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania since George H.W. in 1988.

Barletta could appeal to the type of “Reagan Democrat” Pennsylvanians who voted for Trump.

Barletta’s father was the chairman of the Hazelton Democratic Party and has said he was a Democrat until President Ronald Reagan made him into “a believer.”

Barletta repeated many of Trump’s themes in his announcement video released on Tuesday when asking people to visit his website.

“You’ll be sending a loud and clear message that you joining the effort to make Pennsylvania and America great again,” Barletta says.

Barletta contrasted his background with that of Casey, who is the son of former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr.

“I wasn’t born with a famous last name,” Barletta says in the video, highlighting how his father had only an 8th-grade education and how the congressman and his wife started a business. 

Barletta’s own political career in many ways has many of the same themes as Trump’s presidential campaign.

In 2015, Barletta supported legislation colloquially known as “Kate’s Law,” which would imprison undocumented immigrants who had returned to the country illegally after being deported.

Similarly, Barletta’s first piece of legislation after he was elected in 2010 would have restricted federal money to cities that refused to share information with federal authorities on immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

But Casey in the past has shown appeal with the type of Pennsylvania voters who national Democrats have lost.

In his 2012 re-election campaign, Casey won Chester and Berks County, in the southeastern part of the state, and Beaver County, which President Barack Obama lost in his re-election campaign.

In its response, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party chose to hit Barletta for his vote for the Republican repeal of the 2010 health care law in the House.

“If Congressman Lou Barletta thinks voting to raise health care costs for seniors, gut protections for those with preexisting conditions, and send premiums skyrocketing will earn him a promotion, he’s in for a rude awakening,” a statement from the party said. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Pennsylvania Senate race Lean Democratic.


Correction 11:10 a.m. | An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the immigration legislation known as “Kate’s Law.”


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