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Laughlin Considers Gubernatorial Run

A GOP state Senator from a key swing county is weighing a run for Governor, a source tells PoliticsPA. 

State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) is the latest Republican that is reportedly considering a run for the office in 2022. 

“Dan is taking a serious look at a run for governor,” said Dennis Roddy, a senior advisor at ColdSpark, a political consulting firm that has handled Laughlin’s prior campaigns. 

“As a center – right Republican, his focus has always been on practical solutions for citizens. That is how he was able to secure funding to save the Erie City Schools, to pass legislation to allow Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, and to champion state-level Paid Family Leave legislation,” Roddy said.

“We think Pennsylvania is ready for a commonsense leader who is guided not by partisan politics, but by what works best for people,” he continued. 

Laughlin is currently serving his second term in the state legislature. 

He was elected in 2016 to represent the 49th state Senate District by defeating incumbent Democratic state Sen. Sean Wiley by just under 7 points. In 2020, Laughlin was one of the Democrats’ top targets, but secured a second term by besting Democratic challenger Julie Slomski by nearly 20 points. While Joe Biden won Erie County by 1 point, Laughlin won by 20 points. 

In recent months, Laughlin has made headlines for advocating for raising the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour and becoming the first Republican to sponsor a bill to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania. 

While Attorney General Josh Shapiro has been viewed as the Democratic frontrunner for Governor, the GOP race appears to be much more wide open

Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale formally announced a bid for the office in February. Last week, state Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington) said that he was considering entering the race. 

The Cook Political Report mentions U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly and Dan Meuser, state Sens. Camera Bartolotta and Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, former Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, former state Senator and 2018 Governor candidate Scott Wagner, former Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, former Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dave Reed, and former Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings as potential candidates.

19 Responses

  1. Having Cold Spark Media as his vulture consultant tells me he is destined to lose in the primary

  2. Bigo and I will support Laughlin if he can get both of us out of the joint. Bigo wants the desk back he lent to Pelosi and I need some organic McNuggets.

  3. Dan Loughlin is exactly the kind of Republican that can win statewide in Pennsylvania – center-right, tuned into local issues, and from a swing area of the state (although Erie seems to be turning a little more red these days).

    If he gets the nomination, he (or another Republican in his mold) could win the gubernatorial race.

    Getting the nomination is another story.

      1. He has no fundraising base or name recognition. He has no network statewide. He has no platform or experience on issues that resonate.

        In the absence of that, he can easily be defined as Lil Donny Trump and dems will have him on the defense the whole time.

        Who would take him over Shapiro?

        1. I’d take all of those mentioned over Shapiro, he’s so progressive he makes Wolf look like a moderate!

        2. Something tells me that a reanimated Nelson Rockefeller would be defined as “Lil Donnie Trump” by Democrats next year, so not sure that is the best barometer to use.

          1. That was a bit of my point. He has no identity statewide and that ID will stick. instead of dems having trouble defining him, he will be little Don before anyone knows anything else.

            Shapiro wins with ten bucks in Neg mailers while he focuses on selling his anti pedophile, anti opiate proliferation accomplishments.

        3. I agree that Shapiro is formidable, but is far from a slam-dunk for Dems. Midterm election environment and PA is becoming much more competitive statewide. Who would be the most competitive GOP candidate against Shapiro, in your mind?

          1. I agree. Not a slam dunk. The problem for Rs is a weak bench.

            I dont know that there is one known. If only there was a Martina White who was motivated with some more experience, then I would say that’s it.

            Cawley has the skills, network, background and history, but he seems to have crawled into Temples basement to hide.
            Meuser is great, but the baggage…
            Mcswain has the same Trump affiliation problem and no network statewide.
            Barletta burned out a few years ago and has the Trump effect.

    1. What about an all-female east-west ticket? Maybe Bartolotta and Kichline? Rs are going to have to hold their new base in SWPA (the T is a foregone conclusion at this point) while cutting into blue SEPA. An all-female ticket covering both sides of the state might accomplish that.

      With Wolf’s struggles and what could be a good GOP year, Republicans have a golden opportunity to win back the governor’s mansion. Although they might have to think outside the box a little to get the job done, especially against a formidable and well-funded Josh Shapiro.

      1. I think Bartolotta would be great for LG. But The association of her convicted significant other is a burden.
        Kichline is a no go. You have to help people to be a Gov or Lt. Gov. She doesn’t care about anything but herself.

        They need a strong SE candidate to fundraise. Despite what western PA thinks, they don’t have the financial relevancy.
        And more unfortunate is SE PA is losing it as the Rs disappear.

        1. Agree on the SE and fundraising, particularly with Shapiro being the Dem favorite. What GOP fundraising heavyweights from the SE are viable, though? If Bartos proves viable in the Senate race, would that suck some of the oxygen from the SE in terms of cash on the Republican side for the governor’s race?

          You need two quality people from opposite ends of the state, but I guess we have no idea who those two people are yet.

  4. He is SO GOOD. He’s effective and hardworking, and a total STUD!!!!! SO HOT!!!


  6. Laureen Cummings as a potential candidate for Governor. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha no no stop, it hurts, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

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