In a December 1st text message conversation obtained by PoliticsPA, before he entered the race for Lieutenant Governor Otto Voit told Lieutenant Governor candidate Jeff Bartos he was “fully on board” with Bartos’ run.
Bartos, who dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate to run for Lieutenant Governor in a “ticket” with state Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) who is running for Governor, was the only candidate for Lieutenant Governor at the time of the message between him and Voit. In Pennsylvania, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected separately in the primary to create a ticket for each party in the general election.
“Jeff, I am fully on board with your campaign for LtGov and Scott’s campaign for Governor!! Otto,” the text message read.
“After being approached by numerous party leaders and supporters, Otto decided to re-evaluate and run for Lt. Governor,” Voit’s campaign manager Jack Gombach said.
Voit announced his bid for Lieutenant Governor on December 28th, less than a month after his text with Bartos.
“Otto called Jeff to tell him he will be withdrawing his support for the Wagner/Bartos ticket and will be running an independent campaign for Lt. Governor.”
Wagner/Bartos campaign spokesman Andrew Romeoresponded to Voit’s campaign saying that he was an “early adopter of the Bartos-Wagner team, and for good reason – they are conservative outsiders running to change the way Harrisburg does business.”
The leaked message is likely timed to become part of the conversation of state party members ahead of the caucus meetings and the Winter Meeting where the party will endorse a candidate for both Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
“The impact [on state party members] will depend on how Voit explains his change of heart. If it is a valid reason, state party members will understand, but if it isn’t it will effect them” GOP consultant and state party member Charlie Gerow said.
“Every candidate needs to be definitive about why they are running. This gives them both a chance to do that.”
Former State Rep. Gordon Denlinger is also running for Lieutenant Governor.