According to Laura Olsen, Emily Opilo, and Matt Assad of the Morning Call, Ed Pawlowski is suspending his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
He said this move is an effort to focus on the FBI investigation of “contracting practices both prior to his being elected and since.”
“My desire to help change Washington is taking a back seat to doing the job I was elected to do,” Pawlowski said in a statement. “We will reevaluate the race for United States Senate once we have a more clear picture of any potential concerns with Allentown’s government. Until then I will solely focus on doing my job as mayor and will not entertain political campaign questions.”
Pawlowski announced his run for the Democratic nomination last April. He would’ve competed against former Congressman Joe Sestak in the primary to take on Republican incumbent Senator Pat Toomey next year.
While his campaign is technically being “suspended” rather than ended, this is usually a matter of semantics. Campaigns rarely become unsuspended.
On Thursday, the FBI raided the offices of the Mayor and his chief political consultant Mike Fleck.
It has since been revealed that Fleck’s consulting group has folded.
At this point, it’s unclear to what degree Pawlowski himself is in jeopardy.
This news also has national political ramifications. National Democrats have never been pleased with Sestak and Pawlowski was their only alternative. Democrats have a favorable map in 2016 and hope to take back the Senate majority (they’ll need four seats if they win the presidency, five if they don’t). Victory in a blue state like Pennsylvania could prove essential.
Therefore, this news could force D.C. to finally fall behind Sestak or another candidate could make the leap and potentially shift the dynamic of the race.
UPDATE: Jonathan Tamari and Jeremy Roebuck of the Inquirer are reporting that Gov. Wolf’s Chief of Staff Katie McGinty has had conversations about a possible candidacy. The former DEP Secretary and 2014 gubernatorial candidate would likely have to step down soon, though, while the budget crisis has yet to be solved. Additionally, a Draft McGinty movement has sprung up online over the last few weeks.