HARRISBURG — U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, an early supporter of President Trump, has announced his candidacy to unseat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
The Republican congressman released a campaign video on Tuesday announcing his run for the seat held by Casey, a two-term Democrat.
Barletta's entry into the race was widely expected after the AP reported last month that he had relayed his plans to GOP officials and activists.
Barletta, the former mayor of the small Pennsylvania city of Hazleton, rose to political prominence as a foe of illegal immigration. Trump had urged him to run for the Senate.
"Bob Casey is building up a war chest bankrolled by the most extreme liberal special interest groups in the country. Pennsylvania deserves better than an obstructionist senator," Barletta says in the video. "But I want to offer Pennsylvania more than just being a better option than Bob Casey. I want to be the type of senator that you can be proud of, confident that I will always put Pennsylvania's interests first, and assured that I will work relentlessly to give Pennsylvania a strong voice in Washington."
In a statement, Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele highlighted Barletta's support of efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
"If Congressman Lou Barletta thinks voting to raise health care costs for seniors, gut protections for those with preexisting conditions, and send premiums skyrocketing will earn him a promotion, he's in for a rude awakening," Steele said. "Congressman Barletta is out of step with Pennsylvania values and in the pocket of D.C. Republicans and wealthy special interests. That's why he's supported privatizing Social Security, voucherizing Medicare and a health care age tax for older Pennsylvanians."