Another step closer for this Philadelphia Democrat to formally joining the 2022 race.
State Sen. Sharif Street has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission for U.S. Senate.
Street hasn’t formally announced a bid for the seat, but made his plans known months ago that he is forming an exploratory committee for the office. He told PoliticsPA in an interview on Thursday that he will launch the exploratory committee on April 9, which will include over 100 Pennsylvania leaders.
Street specifically mentioned Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) and state Sen. Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) along with other leaders from across the commonwealth that will serve on the exploratory committee.
“I have over 100 Pennsylvania leaders involved in that and we’re going to start engaging in a discussion with Pennsylvanians about some of my ideas about what I think should happen in our commonwealth and in this country and see what they think,” Street said to PoliticsPA.
“And as we engage in that discussion, I think we’ll build out an agenda, a grassroots agenda with people feel like they can own, because they help shape it,” Street continued.
“Give people an opportunity to participate, engage with us, and ultimately build a platform that will elect the next U.S. Senator who will be a Democrat,” Street said. “And I’m pretty, I’m cautiously optimistic that that person will be me.”
Street added that although he hasn’t formally launched a candidacy, he believes that Costa and Evans would back him and said that people will “be surprised” with some of the people who will be on the exploratory committee.
Street, son of former Philadelphia Mayor John Street, is currently serving in his second term in the state Senate and also serves as Vice Chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
Through his role in elected office and with the state party, Street said that he’s been able to talk to people throughout the commonwealth about their concerns.
“I’ve driven over 150,000 miles across Pennsylvania for the last 3 years talking to voters about their issues, both as a Senator and as a party leader trying to build out both a political and governmental message,” Street said. “We’re going to engage in a discussion about how our federal government can enhance the lives of ordinary Pennsylvanians in their neighborhoods, in their communities, and from that discussion, hopefully we’ll build a platform, an actual candidacy that will win and set up to govern effectively because the idea is not just to get to media hits or not just to sort of govern by tweet.”
Street went on to describe himself as someone who is more “old school” and prefers to govern by traveling through the state, as opposed to doing “public policy by tweet.”
The specific issues that Street mentioned as important matters he will talk to the voters about were health care, cosponsoring the first bipartisan cannabis legalization bill in the state, clean energy, gun violence, and more.
Three Democrats thus far have formally announced a bid for the open seat. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia), and former Norristown Borough Council President John McGuigan have all launched their campaigns for Senate.
However the Democratic field is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months.
According to Politico, others potential Democratic candidates include Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester), Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny), Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, and Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym.
My replay is we don’t need another conservative Democrat as US Senator. Casey is enought – Conor Lamb, please run for Attorney General and leave the field open for Senator Street. Anyone who knows the Senator knows he cares about people- he would work hard for the rural people of PA. When was the last time Casey visited a Rural County?
I’ve heard that Congressman Evans and State Sen. Costa lent their names only to the exploratory committee. That endorsement isn’t a given for either of them at this point.
This is going to be a tricky Senate primary for Street and other potential Southeastern PA candidates.
John Fetterman and Conor Lamb are from Allegheny. The rest of the candidates (announced and prospective) are all from SEPA. The SEPA candidates are going to split the regional vote amongst themselves. The best chance of having a SEPA candidate become the nominee is to have only ONE candidate from this area.
Fetterman is the “big dog” in the race, because he has the highest national profile (and a good head-start on fundraising). PA still votes regionally, so having multiple candidates in SEPA dilutes their vote, while Fetterman can consolidate western PA.
The biggest danger to Fetterman would be some major Pittsburg political figure(s) jumping into the race and diluting his regional vote. (I’m not aware of any such western candidate, and just making a general observation.)
The elephant in the room is “how liberal a candidate can win US Senate in PA?” Recent history has Spector (who owned the center) and Casey (who has enough pro-life/anti-abortion leanings/legacy to partially cancel the issue).
Lamb and Houlahan are probably the closest to the center of the field.
I don’t know if Fetterman (or the other liberal Dem candidates) can capture enough of the center to win. A lot of this depends on whether some crazy Trump/QAnon candidate wins the GOP nomination, or a right-wing snake that can “appear” to be closer to the center.