Oct 13 (Reuters) – Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general and a high-profile critic of former President Donald Trump, on Wednesday entered the 2022 race for governor, vowing to make use of veto energy as a test on any efforts by Republicans to curtail abortion or voting rights within the battleground state.
Shapiro, seen as a rising star within the Democratic Celebration, delivered a speech with each reasonable and progressive messages. He promised to scale back taxes to entice enterprise funding whereas additionally boosting wages, increasing broadband web entry and reducing the price of healthcare.
“I think we all know that Pennsylvanians need a governor who will take on the powerful and be on their side,” Shapiro instructed supporters in Pittsburgh at an occasion launching his marketing campaign.
The announcement makes Shapiro, 48, the early front-runner to turn into the Democratic Celebration nominee. No different Democrat has launched a marketing campaign to succeed Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, who’s constitutionally barred from working for a 3rd four-year time period.
The Republican area for the 2022 race at the moment numbers a half-dozen and is predicted to develop, with most candidates jostling to safe an endorsement from Trump, the Republican Celebration’s de facto chief. Lou Barletta, 65, a former U.S. congressman, and former U.S. Attorney Invoice McSwain, 52, are amongst those that have already introduced campaigns.
Pennsylvania is a battleground state, the place presidential elections can go both approach, and instructions a lot of the electoral votes wanted to win the White Home. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, received the state by greater than 80,000 ballots.
Shapiro, a former state consultant and commissioner in Montgomery County simply exterior Philadelphia, has in current months constructed up his nationwide profile via frequent appearances on cable TV reveals to criticize Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud within the 2020 presidential election.
Final month, Shapiro filed a lawsuit in state court docket towards Republican state lawmakers in a bid to cease their effort to subpoena detailed private info on voters, together with partial Social Safety numbers, as a part of their partisan assessment of the 2020 election. That authorized dispute is continuous.
With out naming them, Shapiro stated his Republican challengers have been extra targeted on selling lies in regards to the 2020 election than in fixing on a regular basis issues. He famous that the continuing election assessment was being funded by taxpayers.
“There’s a cost to their lies. Not only are they doing real damage to our democracy, but they are holding us back from meeting this moment,” Shapiro stated, including that, if elected, he would veto any legislation that infringed on voting or abortion rights.
“I won’t hesitate to use that veto pen to protect you.”
In an earlier on-line video saying his candidacy, Shapiro additionally highlighted his work overseeing a grand jury investigation that in 2018 led to sexual abuse allegations towards 300 Roman Catholic clergymen in six Pennsylvania dioceses.
Barletta sought to tie Shapiro to the far left of the Democratic Celebration and the insurance policies of Wolf, who has come below Republican fireplace for enterprise restrictions aimed toward curbing COVID-19’s unfold.
“His policies are dictated to him by leftist activists,” Barletta stated in an announcement.
Terry Madonna, a Pennsylvania political analyst, stated he anticipated progressives, who’ve been at odds with Shapiro over situations when he supported police and for his comparatively tough-on-crime stance, to ultimately come round to again him.
Madonna stated Shapiro had maybe the best profile of any attorney general in fashionable Pennsylvania historical past. He stated that ought to assist Shapiro as he took on the Republican nominee.
“I don’t know anyone who has been more out and about,” Madonna stated. “He’s all over the state.”
Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; enhancing by Jonathan Oatis