It’s official: State Rep. Austin Davis enters LG race with Josh Shapiro’s backing

Voters from both major political parties will choose their picks for lieutenant governor during the state’s primary election on May 17. 

By: - January 5, 2022 9:57 am

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

By Justin Sweitzer

Democratic state Rep. Austin Davis is entering this year’s race to choose the state’s lieutenant governor, and he’s doing so with unprecedented support from the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania.

Davis, of Allegheny County, formally announced his candidacy on Tuesday after months of speculation about his entrance into the race. His formal announcement came with a simultaneous endorsement from Attorney General Josh Shapiro, setting up a de facto ticket months before the Democratic primary elections for both governor and lieutenant governor are set to take place.

Shapiro praised Davis for his work as a public official and said Davis would strengthen a prospective Shapiro administration, if Shapiro is ultimately elected governor.

Davis also picked up a wave of endorsements from Democratic officials across the state, including Gov. Tom Wolf, former Gov. Ed Rendell, 15 state senators and 48 state representatives. All together, Davis was endorsed by 86 public officials and political leaders on Tuesday.

“Throughout his career, Austin Davis has fought for the people of Western Pennsylvania and stood up for families who work hard to make ends meet and communities that have been forgotten,” Shapiro said in a statement announcing his endorsement. “When leading Montgomery County or now as Attorney General, I’ve always surrounded myself with people who bring different life experiences to my team – and I’m proud to endorse Austin Davis because I know he will make my administration stronger as our next lieutenant governor.”

W.Pa. Rep. Austin Davis to enter Pa. Lt. Gov race with Dem Josh Shapiro’s backing

Shapiro’s decision to endorse a candidate is a bit unorthodox, as lieutenant governor candidates are chosen in separate elections than gubernatorial nominees. That process could change in the near future, however, as state lawmakers have been considering an amendment to the state constitution that would allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mates, eliminating lieutenant governor races entirely.

Still, Davis is not guaranteed a spot on the Democratic gubernatorial ticket. State Rep. Brian Sims, a Democratic colleague of Davis’, is also running for lieutenant governor, and has endorsed Shapiro for governor.

In a statement, Sims said he “believe[s] Pennsylvania Democrats are lucky to have a historically diverse field of candidates to choose from in this race.

The Democratic establishment is behind Josh Shapiro for governor. Will Pa. follow?

“I’ve met with Democrats in 37 counties so far during my campaign, and what I’m hearing is voters want experienced leadership that shows up to every corner of the Commonwealth to fight for everything from voting rights and reproductive freedom, to better wages and better schools,” Sims continued. “My pledge to our voters is that I’ll continue to show up, support local Democrats, and always be their partner in the fight for a better Pennsylvania.”

Voters from both major political parties will choose their picks for lieutenant governor during the state’s primary election on May 17.

Davis said the state needs leaders who “work hard and fight for working people” and promised to stand up for residents across the state if he’s ultimately selected as Shapiro’s running mate.

“Pennsylvanians, regardless of color, class, or creed, need someone in their corner and I’m looking forward to taking on the big fights and getting things done as lieutenant governor alongside our next governor, Josh Shapiro,” Davis said.

Justin Sweitzer is a reporter for City & State Pa., where this story first appeared. Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek contributed additional reporting.

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