Exclusive: Welch to Enter Senate Race

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Chester County businessman and former congressional candidate Steven Welch will enter the race for U.S. Senate.

Consultant John Brabender, who is advising Welch, confirmed his candidacy this afternoon.

“Steve has made the decision to move forward with a race for the United States Senate, and he is aggressively working the critical steps to put a first-rate campaign team together,” he said.

Welch declined to comment, but confirmed Brabender’s statement.

Welch, 35, has spent his career to date in business development. He sold his start-up company Mitos Group to Parker Hannifin in 2007. Shortly after, he co-founded DreamIt Ventures, a company that assists developing businesses.

He fits the bill of a non-traditional candidate than many Republican insiders were seeking against Senator Bob Casey, who has spent the large majority of his career in elected office.

“There was a poll conducted independently of Steve that showed the best matchup against Bob Casey is somebody who comes from the business sector, has shown the ability to create jobs, and is not a public figure or a political figure,” Brabender said.

He’s also personally wealthy, and sources indicate he has committed significant financial support to his campaign.

Brabender said he would lead the Welch campaign along with Brian Nutt, who managed Governor Tom Corbett’s campaigns for Governor and Attorney General and joined the BrabenderCox firm earlier this year. Also joining the team is Peter Towey, the former Political Director for Senator Pat Toomey who recently worked for former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s campaign in New Hampshire.

Nutt suggested that Welch would push for a state committee endorsement, and that Governor Corbett would likely support the endorsed candidate.

“The Governor is a product of the state party endorsement, and I think that the team that Steve is putting together… has a lot of experience [with that process],” he said. “He is going to let it go through its natural course, one that he’s done before.”

Welch had announced a run for congress in the Delware County-based 7th district, but bowed out when Pat Meehan announced his intent to run. He switched to the 6th district race, but stepped aside when incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach decided to seek re-election rather than take on front runner Tom Corbett in the gubernatorial primary.

Brabender, who advised him at the time, said it showed Welch is a team player.

“Steve did the honorable thing, and did what was in the best interest of the party and the state.”

Yet even with yet-to-be-determined establishment support, Welch will not have an easy walk to the nomination. He faces flak from conservatives for his 2008 decision to switch his party registration and vote for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary. In 2006, he contributed to Democrat Joe Sestak twice.

He voted for John McCain in the general election.

Welch enters a primary field of candidates with almost universally low name ID.

Coal industry veteran and Tea Party leader Tom Smith has also begun to assemble a campaign team. Former State Rep. Sam Rohrer, who has a strong following among many of the state’s grassroots conservative activists, is considering a run.

Harrisburg-area attorney Marc Scaringi, Bucks County veterans’ advocate David Christian, Mansfield veteran John Vernon, and Scranton Tea Party founder Laureen Cummings will also seek the nomination.

Sources close to Reps. Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach and Pat Meehan have all dismissed rumors that a member of the state’s congressional delegation is considering a run.

He and his wife are expecting their third child within the month, so Welch’s plans to attend this weekend’s Republican State Committee meeting in Harrisburg are tentative.

13 thoughts on “Exclusive: Welch to Enter Senate Race

  1. For all of the repetitive criticism of Welch’s support of Sestak in 2006. He made a small contribution and soon realized Sestak to be the fraud that he is and entered the 2010 Congressional race to run against Sestak. Meehan did not enter the race until after Sestak announced his intentions to run for the Senate.

  2. First, as a Tea Party Patriot and lifelong registered Republican (with 25+ years of faithful support and service to the GOP) I’ll EMBRACE the moniker of RINO if it means I no longer accept Republicans who won’t stand for the values that the party is SUPPOSED to champion–fiscal responsibility, limited government and respect for the United States Constitution. Like the words RACIST, TERRORIST, HOBBIT and more recently “SON OF A BITCH”, I’ll slap RINO across my forehead and go on about the business of saving this country from those who don’t stand for anything remotely American anymore.

    People like Steve Welch, for instance. A “Republican” who supported Barack Obama in ANY WAY is not a Republican. A “Republican” who could even utter the name Joe Sestak–an uber-Leftist Democrat of the worst kind–let alone raise funds for him…well, if that’s what the Republican party has devolved into and is willing to support then yeah, I’m a RINO and proud of it!

    And for those in the Republican establishment who oppose the efforts of the Tea Party, let me say THANK YOU for showing your true stripes. You are the (R)-wearing flip-sides of the Obama coin. You are PART OF THE PROBLEM. So take your mock disdain (it’s called “fear of exposure”, in truth) and stuff it. America needs people who will stand for the American way; people who will demand action back toward the Constitution and the values that founded this country and made it great. We need true Republicans–true Conservatives–not poseurs like Steve Welch and the pseudo-Republicans like him.

    There are better candidates out there already, and more coming. If you believe in America and want to save it–if you believe in turning Pennsylvania around, recapturing it from the likes of Bob Casey and the union bosses who control him–then Steve Welch is not the guy to support with your money or your vote.

    If you’re one of those pseudo-Republicans, though, then by all means jump on that bandwagon. That way we’ll be able to see who the real enemies are, no matter what clothing they don to hide their true stripes.

  3. To dan,

    Respectfully acknowledge your position on Mr. Welch and vigorously apologize for assuming that you are a Tea Party member.

    My position on the Tea Party as a group, however, stands.

  4. To dan,

    The only RINO’s I know are Tea Party people. You politically attack your friends and neighbors, then burn their houses down, simply because they don’t agree with your dogmatic/precise interpretations. Primary is a verb in your world. No real Republican does that. So you want cased closed??

    Tea Partiers are RINOs. Pa GOP, be done with this scourge….

  5. Welch was an Obama and Sestak supporter who switched parties just to vote for Barack Obama

    he is a RINO

  6. c/o guzzardi:

    Does Pennsylvania need another SpecterRepublican?

    Steve Welch Unacceptable Unelectable: the Establishment’s Choice, a Top Down Candidate who hires uberinsider Rob Bickart affiliated with Republican National Committee and Rick Santorum and other assorted professional phonies. Rob Bickart was Rick Santorum’s fundraiser for the 2006 union financed failed campaign and that should tell you all you need to know about Rob Bickart and Steve Welch but, in case it doesn’t, read here [http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-now/2010/05/rnc_fires_finance_director.html] and Huffington Post gives you the dirt here [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/07/rob-bickhart-fired-rnc-fi_n_568474.html] and more here [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/31/michael-steele-bondage-ga_n_520185.html#s77609&title=Palin_Wants_Off] and Liberal JournoList Ben Smith gives us some more dirt [http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33995.html].

    In 2010, Steve Welch hired Rick Santorum’s BrabenderCox, a very expensive Establishment consultant. [http://www.pa2012.com/2009/08/exclusive-welch-staffs-up-in-pa-7/]

    Steve Welch is an elitist, “rich guy” who thinks he is suited for government office. Professional consultants love clueless clients who wannabee candidates for high political office, deluding themselves into thinking they have the personal skills and technical mastery to run and hold public office. It is a complex and difficult role. And for all our apparent disdain we have for them, it is we who elect them and it is we who owe them for subjecting themselves to the grueling process. Steve Welch is not “The Guy” who feels it.
    The client wins, consultant takes all the credit; consultant gets paid. The client loses, consultant blames client; consultant gets paid. A Win Win… for the consultant. Good for them; not for the client. And, most definitely, not good for us.
    For more see:
    GOPer mulling Senate run in Pennsylvania once voted for Obama Daily Caller September 13, 2011 Alex Pappas [http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/09/goper-mulling-senate-run-in-pennsylvania-once-voted-for-obama/]

    In PA-6, Is Steve Welch a RINO Trying to Buy His Way into Congress? RedState Jan 2010 SusanAnne Hillerm [http://www.redstate.com/susananne/2010/01/08/in-pa-6-is-steve-welch-a-rino-trying-to-buy-his-way-into-congress/]

  7. I remember this guy from 2010. He tried to run in the 7th Congressional District until the party rejected him for Pat Meehan. Then he tried to run in the 6th District until the party rejected him for Jim Gerlach. Why does anyone think that we can beat Casey with a guy who just exudes an upper-class accent? Casey is viewed as a blue-collar, middle class guy (even if he’s really not). Running a member of aristocratic elite against him makes no sense. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Colonel Vernon who Judy Brown mentioned earlier. His profile seems like it could make Casey squirm!

    Even worse, Welch was an Obama and Sestak donor who switched parties just to vote for Barack Obama. Is this the best the GOP can do?

  8. Welch, another democrat turned republican. Do we have another Specter? There are other candidates that you need to watch. John Vernon is the only one without any baggage. He has been running for 4 months and is formally announcing this week. A 32 yr retired Army Col. he will get the military vote. Check out his website http://www.johnvernon2012.com/

  9. Good. A candidate we can sink our teeth into and support against Casey. Now if we can get a candidate for Auditor General and make 2012 real interesting and competitive.

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