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Toomey to serve out term, return to private sector

Crowded ’22 primaries could include current House members

Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey confirmed Monday that he does not plan to run for reelection or for governor in 2022, but he will serve out the rest of his Senate term and then return to the private sector.

“The reasons I have reached this decision are not political. They’re personal,” the second-term Republican said at a news conference. Toomey noted that his service in Washington has meant time away from his family and that he has long supported term limits.

The announcement came shortly after President Donald Trump disclosed a positive test for COVID-19, but Toomey said he had made his decision earlier and that Trump’s diagnosis played “no role whatsoever.”

Toomey decided to announce his decision Monday because he had already been fielding daily calls from supporters offering to help with a run for Senate or governor, he said. He also said his early announcement will give other Republicans with statewide ambitions time to organize their campaigns.

The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported Toomey’s decision on Sunday. Keystone State Republicans have struggled to win statewide in recent years, leaving Toomey the only Republican elected to statewide office in Pennsylvania who is not a judge.

Toomey’s move is likely to spark crowded Republican primaries for both governor and Senate. GOP sources named several members of the state’s congressional delegation, past and present, as potential Senate candidates, including Reps. Dan Meuser, Mike Kelly, Glenn “GT” Thompson and Scott Perry, and former Reps. Jim Gerlach and Lou Barletta. Barletta ran unsuccessfully against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in 2018.

Potential candidates also include several members of the state legislature, including state Rep. Greg Rothman, who chairs the state House GOP campaign arm, and state Sen. Pat Stefano, who has opposed Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions, as well as a handful of businessmen.

“It’ll be a set of musical chairs,” Pennsylvania Republican consultant Vince Galko said Sunday.

A crowded field of Democrats is also expected to compete for governor and for Senate. Current members of Congress could eye a run for Senate, including Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, one Democratic source said. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Treasurer Joe Torsella have also been mentioned as potential candidates.

Fetterman lost a bid to challenge Toomey in 2016, losing the Democratic primary to Katie McGinty, who was backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Toomey went on to beat McGinty in a hotly contested race for his second term.

Toomey, who had $3 million in his campaign account on June 30, said Monday he believes he would have won a third term had he decided to run.

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