Erie State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro is the first Democrat to announce a run for treasurer
Two of three row offices — the state treasurer and auditor general – flipped control in 2020, as part of down-ballot wins for Republicans.
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, of Erie, announced his run for state treasurer Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to enter the race in an effort to flip control of the office.
Pennsylvania’s treasurer is one of three row offices up for election in 2024. Two of three row offices — the state treasurer and auditor general — flipped control in 2020, marking down-ballot wins for Republicans. Stacy Garrity, a former businesswoman and retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, won the treasurer’s race in an upset over incumbent Democrat Joe Torsella.
In a three-minute ad announcing his candidacy, Bizzarro called Garrity the “highest-ranking extremist office-holder” in the state because of her anti-abortion views as well as her statements that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. He promised to “protect taxpayer assets, protect pensions, and protect you from Stacy Garrity.”
Bizzarro cast himself as an antithesis to Garrity and said he’s a fighter who grew up in Erie in a family of boxers and survived childhood leukemia. He pledged to continue that fight if elected state treasurer.
In a response, a Garrity campaign consultant listed a number of her successes as treasurer, including the return of hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property and support for her predecessor’s appointment to the state teachers’ pension board.
“I am curious to which part of this Representative Bizzarro considers extreme,” said Dennis Roddy, a Republican strategist and adviser to Garrity’s campaign. “I get the sense that he has little understanding of what the treasurer actually does.”
Bizzarro, 37, is the Democratic policy chair for House Democrats tasked with shaping the party’s top legislative priorities. He said he’s been preparing his campaign and clearing the field of other potential candidates for the last five months. It was not clear as of Tuesday whether any other Democrats plan to enter the race.
He told The Inquirer that as treasurer, he’d work with Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration to encourage development in the state. On his campaign website, he said he wants to create savings accounts for first-time homebuyers and invest in the state’s energy and technology sectors.
The treasurer, elected statewide every four years, is responsible for managing the state’s more than $150 billion in funds. The state Treasury Department receives deposits of taxes and other revenue and disburses funds to pay the state’s bills. It also manages short- and long-term investments, and oversees a number of investment programs for residents and local governments.
“It’s important, irrespective of their political party, to not use this office as a stepping stone for higher aspirations,” Bizzarro said. “This is supposed to be a non-political office that works with the legislature and the governor, irrespective of his or her party. Your job is to pay the bills, to protect assets and to ensure that you’re protecting this money.”
Garrity was rumored to be considering a run for U.S. Senate. David McCormick, who announced his Senate run last week, attended a fundraiser for Garrity’s reelection campaign for treasurer earlier this month.
Other row offices already have crowded fields for 2024. Four Democrats and one Republican has announced their campaigns for state attorney general, and approximately a handful of others are still considering it. One Democrat has announced his candidacy for auditor general to challenge incumbent Tim DeFoor, and at least one other Democrat is considering it.