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Mike Turzai is thinking about running for Pennsylvania governor — again

Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, an Allegheny County Republican, is again flirting with a run for governor after a short-lived campaign in 2017 and 2018.

Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.Read moreMatt Rourke / AP

NEW YORK — Stop Clout if you’ve heard this one before: Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai has an interest in seeking higher office.

“I’m very positive on the idea of running for governor,” Turzai said Friday at the state Republican Party’s annual lunch during the Pennsylvania Society gathering in Manhattan. “We take one step at a time.”

The weekend political retreat was bustling with potential Democratic 2022 candidates for governor. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is expected to run. State Treasurer Joe Torsella could be a contender in that primary, or may run for the U.S. Senate. Turzai, who has represented part of Allegheny County since 2001, said he thinks Lt. Gov. John Fetterman might also run.

“But I feel very positive about an opportunity for the Republican Party to win the governorship in 2022,” said Turzai, who was a candidate for governor for just under three months in 2017 and 2018. He dropped out of that race when the Republican Party endorsed former State Sen. Scott Wagner for governor. Gov. Tom Wolf, who defeated Wagner in 2018, is term-limited, so the governor’s seat will be up for grabs by both parties in 2022.

Some of Turzai’s fellow Republicans, also in Manhattan this weekend, seemed skeptical that he would really commit to the 2022 race.

Turzai, who became majority leader of the House in 2011 and has been speaker since 2015, was the subject of speculation for months in 2017 in a will-he-or-won’t-he-run waiting game. The campaign that followed lived a short life and didn’t really gain traction.

Turzai has previously flirted with runs for lieutenant governor and Congress.

Follow all The Inquirer’s coverage of Pennsylvania Society weekend on Clout.