Election Day is May 17. Here’s a look at who’s running for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. in Pa.

By: and - May 15, 2022 6:30 am

Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race is among the most highly-watched, costly, and crowded races in the country. 

With GOP U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey retiring from public office, Democrats see this as one of the few chances to gain a seat and build on what’s now a narrow majority in the upper chamber.

Here’s a look at who’s on the ballot in the May 17 primary election.

Democrats

John Fetterman

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (Source: Tom Wolf Flickr.)

Fetterman, 52, currently serves as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and heads the state Board of Pardons. Fetterman lives outside of Pittsburgh in Braddock, where he served as mayor from 2006 to 2019. He supports legalizing adult-use cannabis and abortion access. He also officiated same-sex marriage before it was legal in Pennsylvania.

Fetterman has faced scrutiny for a 2013 incident where he confronted an unarmed Black man with a shotgun. No one was charged with a crime related to the event, and he has refused to apologize for his actions.

If elected to the U.S. Senate, Fetterman said he would support abolishing the filibuster and would use upholding Roe v. Wade as a “litmus test” for any U.S. Supreme Court nominees. He has argued that it’s possible to address the climate crisis without banning non-renewable energy sources.

Malcolm Kenyatta

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who is running for U.S. Senate. (Photo by Maria Young Photography/The Philadelphia Gay News).

Kenyatta, 31, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2018. The Philadelphia Democrat is the first openly gay person of color in the General Assembly. Often using his own experience and being raised in a working-class home, Kenyatta has advocated for affordable housing, gun violence prevention, and addressing poverty.

If elected to the U.S. Senate, Kenyatta said he would support abolishing the filibuster and would use upholding Roe v. Wade as a “litmus test” for any U.S. Supreme Court nominees. He supports expanding the nation’s highest court and thinks that the United States can transition to a clean energy-based system.

Alex Khalil

Alex Khalil

Raised in New York and New Jersey by Palestinian immigrants, Khalil, 59, serves on the Jenkintown Borough Council in Montgomery County. She was a 2016 delegate for Bernie Sanders and has been a vocal advocate for the Affordable Care Act and a community organizer.

She supports expanding the U.S. Supreme Court and said upholding Roe v. Wade would be a “litmus test” for any U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

Conor Lamb

Conor Lamb announced his run for U.S. Senate in Pittsburgh on Fri., Aug. 6. (Pittsburgh City Paper photo by Kaycee Orwig).

Currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Lamb, 37, represents Allegheny and Beaver counties. Before being elected in 2018, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Pittsburgh. He has advocated for lowering drug prices and protecting Medicare and Social Security. Lamb, who has often portrayed himself as a moderate Democrat, became a vocal opponent of former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election and has since touted winning a special election and flipping a district Trump carried in 2016.

Lamb said upholding Roe v. Wade would be a “litmus test” for any U.S. Supreme Court nominee. He opposes expanding the court and banning natural gas extraction.

Republicans

Kathy Barnette

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette (LevittownNow.com photo)

Barnett, 50, is a pro-Trump conservative author and commentator. She was born in the South and is the product of rape, which she has used to promote restricting abortion access. Barnette currently lives in Montgomery County and has aligned herself with Trump while promoting 2020 election conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

She supports overturning Roe v. Wade and banning abortion, without exceptions. Barnette has attributed inflation and job losses to Democrats.

Jeff Bartos

Jeff Bartos (Courtesy of Facebook page)

A Pennsylvania native, Bartos, 49, is a Montgomery County businessman. He previously ran for lieutenant governor in 2018 alongside gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner. During his campaign, Bartos promoted his efforts to assist local businesses during the COVID-19 shutdown.

He supports exceptions for abortion and has said that the United States should use natural gas to generate energy and create jobs. He has said that the 2020 election led to current events, citing economic problems and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

George Bochetto

George Bochetto

The 69-year-old Philadelphia attorney defended the Christopher Columbus statue in Philadelphia. His law firm helped on a brief to defend Trump during his second impeachment.

He has promoted false claims about the 2020 election. Bochetto opposes abolishing the filibuster and supports restricting abortion access.

Sean Gale

Sean Gale Headshot

Gale, 30, is a Montgomery County attorney who has said that he would be the opposite of retiring Toomey.

He said he would have opposed certifying Pennsylvania’s Electoral College results in 2020 and has blamed Republicans in Pennsylvania for voting to approve mail-in voting legislation ahead of the election.

Mehmet Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz, known best for hosting the “Dr. Oz Show” (Photo provided)

Oz, 61, is best known as a celebrity heart surgeon and TV personality. He has faced backlash for promoting false COVID-19 treatments and scrutiny over his residency. A long-time New Jersey resident, he registered to vote in Pennsylvania in 2020 and moved into his in-laws’ home. He is endorsed by Trump in the race. Oz has Turkish citizenship but said he would renounce it if elected to the U.S. Senate.

He supports restricting abortion access — but that wasn’t always the case

Dave McCormick

Dave McCormick

McCormick, 56, resigned as the CEO of Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based hedge fund. A Pennsylvania native, he moved back to the commonwealth to run for U.S. Senate. He previously ran a Pittsburgh-based software company and served in the Bush administration.

McCormick supports voter ID requirements and supports restricting abortion access. He does support exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.

Carla Sands

Carla Sands

Sands, 61, served as an ambassador to Denmark under the Trump administration. A Pennsylvania native, she has spent most of her life out-of-state. She previously lived in California to run a real estate company founded by her late husband but moved to Cumberland County to run for U.S. Senate.

She has promoted unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and supports banning third-party donations to help fund election operations. Sands also supports restricting abortion access.

Lieutenant Governor

Pennsylvania is one of just seven states where candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run in separate primaries, but run on a joint ticket in general elections. 

The unique election process for lieutenant governor candidates can make for some odd governor-lieutenant governor pairings, such as the ill-fated match of Gov. Tom Wolf and former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack. 

In the 2022 primary, three Democrats and nine Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination. A brief description of each of the candidates, their positions, and where to find more information about them is below. 

Democrats

State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia (Courtesy of Sims’ campaign)

Brian Sims 

Sims is a state representative serving Philadelphia. A former civil rights attorney, Sims has been vocal on social justice issues, including LGBTQ rights and protections, as well as abortion rights. Sims was recently the recipient of a cease-and-desist letter from Attorney General and Democratic candidate for governor Josh Shapiro’s campaign, who said that a TV ad misled viewers into thinking Shapiro had endorsed his run for lieutenant governor. 

If elected, Sims said he would support abortion rights, LGBTQ equality and protection efforts, and raising the state’s minimum wage. 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro and state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny (Source: Shapiro campaign).

Austin Davis

Davis is a state representative who has been serving Allegheny County since 2018. He has been endorsed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and serves as chair of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation and vice chair of the House Democratic Policy Committee. 

Davis supports raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage and protecting abortion rights. 

Ray Sosa (Sosa campaign photo).

Ray Sosa

Sosa, a Montgomery-County banker and insurance agent, previously ran for lieutenant governor in 2018. Born in Puerto Rico, Sosa was the first Latino candidate to run for the position. 

If elected, Sosa said he would support “opening up” the commonwealth’s merit-based commutation process, funding for Planned Parenthood, and “common sense gun control,” including background checks.

Republicans

(Daniels Campaign Facebook photo).

Teddy Daniels

A veteran and retired police officer, Daniels was endorsed by Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Doug Mastriano in January. Daniels most recently made headlines after a Wayne County judge dismissed his wife’s request for a temporary protective order.  

If elected, Daniels said he will support congressional term limits — three, two-year terms — protect gun rights, and oppose abortion rights. 

State Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, speaks at a Capitol rally of anti-lockdown activists on June 5, 2021. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

Russell Diamond

Diamond is a four-term state representative serving Lebanon County in the General Assembly. He was a vocal critic of Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic lockdowns.

If elected, Diamond said he will support efforts to ease Pennsylvanians’ tax burdens, including through the elimination of property taxes. 

(Brown campaign photo).

John Brown

Northampton County councilman and former county executive John Brown began his career in local government more than a decade ago as mayor of Bangor, a town of more than 5,000 people. In 2016, Brown ran as the Republican candidate for state auditor general, losing to Democrat Eugene DePasquale. 

(Coleman campaign photo).

Jeff Coleman

A former state representative serving western Pennsylvania, Coleman has said that he wanted his campaign to serve as an example of “civility and decency and kindness” — qualities he believes are lacking in current political discourse. 

If elected, Coleman said he would support school choice and work to remove barriers to reentry for ex-offenders through job training and apprenticeship programs. 

(DelRosso campaign photo).

Carrie DelRosso

Delrosso is a Republican state lawmaker serving parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. 

If elected, DelRosso said she would support school choice and greater election transparency. She also said that she would help to grow private-sector businesses across the commonwealth. 

(Frye campaign photo).

Chris Frye

Frye is the mayor of New Castle, Pa. He serves on the Lawrence County YMCA Board of Directors, and is co-chair of the Pennsylvania Municipal League Executive Committee’s Legislative Committee, where he also serves as its Northwest District officer. Before becoming New Castle’s first Black mayor, Frye worked as a social worker. 

According to his campaign website, Frye supports school choice, is pro-second amendment, and opposes abortion rights. 

(Jones campaign photo).

James Jones

A retired navy veteran and owner of Silverback Commodities & Traders, LLC, a global petroleum and crude oil consulting company, Jones made two unsuccessful runs for congress in 2008 and 2016. 

A self-described “pro-life Christian” and “constitutionalist,” Jones supports the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and school choice.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin (R) and former state Rep. Rick Saccone at the U.S. Capitol on 1/6/21 (Facebook photo)

Rick Saccone

A former state representative, and failed 2018 congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 17th District, Saccone was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, snapping a photo with Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate and Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano. 

A member of the National Rifle Association, Saccone has said that he supports the castle doctrine, the elimination of school property taxes, and welfare reform. 

(Schillinger campaign photo).

Clarice Schillinger

A former legislative aid to state Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, Schillinger founded the Keeping Kids in School Political Action Committee and the Back To School PA PAC in an effort to elect candidates “who would keep our schools open and include parents and taxpayers in their decision making,” according to her campaign website. 

Schillinger has previously said that she supports school choice and efforts to make school curricula more transparent.  

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Marley Parish
Marley Parish

A Pennsylvania native, Marley Parish covers the Senate for the Capital-Star. She previously reported on government, education and community issues for the Centre Daily Times and has a background in writing, editing and design. A graduate of Allegheny College, Marley served as editor of the campus newspaper, where she also covered everything from student government to college sports.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.

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