Valerie Arkoosh, the chairwoman of Montgomery County’s Board of Commissioners, says she’ll seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022, entering an already crowded primary field that’s top heavy with candidates from southeastern Pennsylvania.
Arkoosh, a physician, made her announcement in a YouTube video released Monday morning, where she touted what she said were her bona fides in the fight for healthcare reform, and promised to “cut through all the noise and get things done.”
“We’re at a critical moment. I’m fiercely determined to do what’s right — to stand up to Trump Republicans and push back on their harmful agenda. Instead, we’ll build a future that lifts people up, rebuild our infrastructure with good paying union jobs, protect our planet by addressing the climate crisis, and finish the job we started to lower the cost of health care,” Arkoosh said in a statement provided to the Capital-Star. “That’s why I’m running for United States Senate. Pennsylvanians deserve to have a voice — one that will cut through all the noise and get things done. I’m determined to be that voice for you.”
With her entrance, Arkoosh joins a Democratic primary field that includes Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, of Allegheny County, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia. Last week, state Sen. Sharif Street, also a Philadelphia Democrat, said he was exploring a 2022 bid. Former Norristown City Councilor John McGuigan also is seeking the Democratic nomination.
On the Republican side of the ledger, Arkoosh’s Montgomery County neighbor, Jeff Bartos, a businessman and 2018 candidate for lieutenant governor, is seeking the Republican nomination, as is Montgomery County attorney Sean Gale, and former whistleblower Everett Stern.
First appointed to her commissioners’ post in January of 2015, Arkoosh won election to a full four-year term in November 2015, and won re-election in November 2019.
Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat opened up when Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, of Lehigh County, announced that he would not seek re-election. It is considered one of the most competitive races in the country, and critical to both parties’ fight for control of the chamber.