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The 2022 race for Pa. governor is getting more crowded. A Delco Republican is jumping in.

It's a sign that Pennsylvania's 2022 Republican gubernatorial primary election is far from settled despite months of campaigning by a half dozen candidates.

Delaware County businessman Dave White (left), State Sen. Doug Mastriano (center), and State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman.
Delaware County businessman Dave White (left), State Sen. Doug Mastriano (center), and State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman.Read moreStaff, Spotlight PA, Commonwealth Media Services / Staff, Amanda Berg / For Spotlight PA, Commonwealth Media Services,

A prominent pro-Trump Pennsylvania lawmaker is taking steps toward a run for governor. A Delaware County businessman is launching his campaign. And the highest-ranking state senator is expected to soon jump in.

The field of Republicans running in next year’s election for Pennsylvania governor is growing, in a sign that the primary campaign is far from settled, despite months of campaigning by a half dozen candidates.

The new jockeying comes amid signs of GOP strength across the country in this week’s elections, as the party took the governor’s mansion in blue-leaning Virginia, almost knocked off New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and won at least three out of four statewide judicial races in Pennsylvania. (One race remains too close to call.)

Yet a crowded and costly primary in the Keystone State could slow Republicans’ momentum heading into the midterm elections and strengthen the hand of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

The declared GOP candidates include former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, former Chester County Chamber of Commerce CEO Guy Ciarrocchi, attorney Jason Richey, political consultant Charlie Gerow, and Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale.

After publicly mulling a run for months, State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin) on Friday said he’s forming an exploratory committee to gauge support for a prospective gubernatorial bid. Mastriano’s wife has previously said the couple was awaiting the results of “a monetary fleece” before making a decision, meaning a prayer “that only God” can answer.

Mastriano, a retired Army colonel who was first elected to the Senate in 2019, built a following last year while holding rallies protesting Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions. Then the senator emerged as a leading proponent of the “stop the steal” movement aimed at reversing former President Donald Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden.

“There are a lot of people already in this race for governor,” Mastriano said in a statement Friday. “What is disconcerting is that of the assortment of candidates, few did anything when we faced the darkness and uncertainty of Wolf’s edicts and COVID shutdowns. This is no time to settle for yet another politician when our freedoms and liberties are being stripped away. It is time for proven leadership.”

On Saturday, Dave White, a former member of Delaware County Council, is scheduled to launch his campaign with a speech in his hometown of Ridley Township. A former union steamfitter, White’s close ties to building trades unions would be somewhat unorthodox for a Republican statewide candidate. He owns an HVAC company.

A self-described supporter of Trump’s “America First” agenda, White said Pennsylvania needs a governor with “a more businesslike attitude of somebody that’s not afraid to make changes — someone that won’t just come and nibble at the edges, but make some changes in Pennsylvania.”

“We cannot keep repeating the same problems by electing officials that have depended on the system, have been paid by the system, have been part of the system,” White said in an interview. “If they could have fixed the system, they would have. They can’t. So we need an outsider.”

White said he’s already put $2 million of his own money into his campaign.

Then there’s Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre). The Associated Press reported Friday that Corman has invited donors and others to attend a “special announcement” next Thursday. A person familiar with the senator’s plans confirmed he’s expected to launch his campaign for governor next week.

Corman’s political future has been the subject of speculation for months among Harrisburg insiders, especially since he ousted Mastriano as the chairman of a committee investigating the 2020 election.

Corman, first elected in 1998 and the son of a state senator, has long been seen as a part of the Senate GOP establishment. So he surprised some who know him when he came out in favor of an election review of the sort Trump had been demanding.

Two other state senators — Dan Laughlin of Erie County and Scott Martin of Lancaster County — have announced committees to explore a run.

With $10 million on hand and no declared or even rumored opposition, Shapiro is expected to coast to the Democratic nomination.