State House Speaker Mike Turzai is laying the groundwork for a possible bid for Governor in 2018. He will speak tonight at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference (PLC) Dinner and give his vision for Pennsylvania.
Turzai will tout his conservative accomplishments while in the House and what he feels Pennsylvania needs to accomplish next.
“There can be no doubt that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would benefit from his leadership. He’s exploring what is the best way he can serve moving forward,” Mark Harris, a strategist for Turzai, told PoliticsPA
This is all in an effort to begin the process of exploring a bid for Governor. Turzai will likely wait until after the budget is passed to make an announcement.
“Right now, he is focused on the budget and his constitutional duties as Speaker of the House,” Harris said.
The timing makes sense as Turzai is one of the main GOP negotiators. But he has a clear reason to float his name now, before making a formal decision. The early candidacy of state Senator Scott Wagner is pushing Turzai and other prospective candidates to put their names out, lest Wagner consolidate support among the conservative grassroots activists who attend PLC.
Turzai plans to launch a website and revamp his social media profile to reflect his exploration for Governor.
He has served in the State House since winning a special election 2001. He was elected speaker in 2015. He has focused on reducing government spending and taxes, and has made privatizing the state’s liquor system a top priority. He has also earned a reputation as a combative legislator who does not shy away from partisan conflict.
Turzai has floated his name for higher before, including considering a run for Congress in 2012 before deciding not to pursue the nomination.
Western Pennsylvania businessman Paul Mango announced earlier this week that he will be running for Governor, along with Scott Wagner. Former Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Butler), and state House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) are also rumored to be weighing a bid.