Rohrer Looking to Get in vs. Casey

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Rohrer speaks at the PA Leadership Conference in April

Sam Rohrer is looking to get in the race against U.S. Senator Bob Casey, the former State Rep. and gubernatorial candidate told PoliticsPA Friday afternoon.

“My effort to get the pieces I need to have in order to do this, I am pursuing 100 percent,” he confirmed.

He stopped short of saying his candidacy was a certainty, citing a few outstanding issues.

“There are a couple of factors that must come together for me to make the final decision to enter, and those are in process.”

Chief among them, he said, is the fundraising outlook – a key question in a Senate campaign that many analysts expect will require upwards of $20 million.

“Family circumstances have already been taken care of. Much of the consideration of support on the ground has been evident. Some of the questions remaining would be certain funding considerations. That would include a major portion of it. Not 100 percent, but a large portion. You can’t run this race without a good commitment. It’s going to take alot, there’s no question about it.”

This spring Rohrer had hinted at the possibility of a Senate campaign, and his comments today follow heated recent speculation that Rohrer was on the verge of launching a bid.

Randy Toman, a candidate for the Bethlehem Area School Board and the man behind the Lehigh Valley Conservative blog, told supporters that Rohrer had agreed to attend a fundraiser on September 23rd and that the event might also serve as the former lawmaker’s Lehigh Valley campaign kickoff.

“This is hot off the press——Sam tells me he is seriously considering running for US Senate and has been approached by some people and should know something one way or the other by the week of September 19th—he made it clear to me–certain things must be in place if in fact he is to run,” Toman wrote in an email obtained by PoliticsPA.

Rohrer did not give a specific time frame for his decision, but said that expecting an answer within the month was, “very reasonable.”

He was general in his criticism of Casey.

“I look at the challenges that are facing this nation and this Commonwealth, and I know our current Senator doesn’t represent the spirit and the soul of Pennsylvanians. He’s not the one to represent us in Washington. We need a change.”

Rohrer rose to prominence during his insurgent campaign for Governor last year after serving for 18 years in the state legislature. Although he lost to then-Attorney General Tom Corbett by more than 37 points, Rohrer built a strong following of conservative grassroots activists and has kept in touch.

In February, Rohrer became the State Director of Pennsylvania’s chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(4) affiliated with the Tea Party. The national AFP organization claims to have spent $40 million boosting conservative candidates in the 2010 cycle.

However, there is also an undercurrent of criticism among some Pennsylvania conservatives who disapprove of Rohrer’s 2005 pay raise vote, as well as his acceptance of a $31,000+ state-funded pension.

To start, Rohrer will almost certainly have the best name ID of any candidate among the GOP primary electorate.

He did not directly criticize any of his potential rivals, but suggested that the stakes were too high for a first-time candidate.

“After being in the House for 18 years and already making one statewide run, I’m telling you, for someone to try and cut their political teeth on a U.S. Senate position is extraordinarily difficult. There’s just so much to learn about the process.”

If he pulls the trigger, Rohrer would join Harrisburg-area attorney Marc Scaringi and U.S. Army veteran John Vernon in the Republican primary. Businessman and Tea Party leader Tom Smith will announce soon. Businessman and former congressional candidate Steve Welch, Scranton Tea Party founder Laureen Cummings and veterans’ advocate David Christian are also likely to run.

“I sure wouldn’t want to speak for Sam, but will say that I’m hearing a lot of excitement about the prospect as well,” said Vonne Andring, a 2010 Rohrer campaign worker and current Director of Strategy and Public Relations for AFP-PA.

“I’m hearing a lot of excited chatter on the ground about the concept of a dual conservative champion team in Toomey and Rohrer if Sam were to run and win.”

8 Responses

  1. One only has to listen to Sam speak for 1/2 hour to quickly realize this man is as intelligent as he is principled. I do not consider Sam Rohrer a career politician (ala Ed Rendell); rather, he is of the rare breed we once referred to as a “Statesman.”

    Now, more than ever, it is imperative we replace the majority of career and corrupted local, state, and federal representatives with statesmen willing to work as public servants Vs those who are now bought and paid for and work solely on behalf of special interests.

  2. Can’t be worse then the current figure head who consistently puts ‘party loyalty’ above desires of those he represents.

  3. the field of candidates keeps growing if Sam decides to enter. I also heard a rumor that there are some in SE PA who are trying to get Arlin’s son to run. Could I even hope that the powers at the top, Senator Cornyn, Preibus, and Gleason would keep out of this race, not endorse and let the people of Pennsylvania have a real primary election and actually pick their candidate and may the best man win.

  4. To Tom Porter
    Oh really about Tom Smith. I have called him and emailed him and he doesn’t repsond. As a member of State Committee with two seats I am vetting all these candidates. Scarengi, Vernon, Welch, Cummings, and Christian have all responded to me. Right now Smith needs to get up to speed really fast or he will be left behind. Being a millionare doesn’t always guarantee a win. Tim Burns lost to Critz. Because I am on State Committee I received a letter from Smith with his bio. As a member of the Tea Party I was very disappointed that he never mentioned his association with the Tea Party. Wasn’t impressed with his big donations to the party because he also donated to Altmire.

  5. Sam is an OK guy. But he is a career politician. Even his role as director of the PA Chapter of Americans for Prosperity is quasi-political position. Our nation is in deep financial trouble. I want to see a businessman replace the doleful Mr. Casey…Someone like Tom Smith, who started from scratch in the Western Pennsylvania coal fields and built a financial empire over 30 years. Tom Smith is an announced candidate for Senate, director of the Indiana/Armstrong County Patriots, and has committed a ton of his own money to the campaign. He lives in Armstrong County. We need representation for the forgotten folks in Western Pennsylvania. Tom Smith is our man.

  6. Looking for a retirement plan, how wrong you are. There are many oppurtunities in the nongovernmnt sector, even yet.
    Sam’s ONLY concern is the sad crumbling of our governments( local,state,federal). God has been removed from all public discourse,and government especially Federal laws and regulations are being forced upon, we the people, at an extremely fast pace.
    Our Freedom’s of any choices are being stolen, hundreds by the week.
    Running for any public position requires much endurance,loss of privacy, loss of important family time( which matters greatly to Sam)and to just be able to do what you want,when you want to.
    Sam always gives 100% in all he has ever done. Having Sam Rohrer in the Federal Senate, means Pa will be blessed with a man that CARES ABOUT YOUR FREEDOMS.

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