PENNSYLVANIA | PA-gov

Turzai Announces Bid

He intends to remain state House speaker during the campaign.

Nov. 15, 2017, 11:05 a.m.

State House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) “announced Tuesday that he will run for governor, touting the chamber as ‘the last line of defense’ against ‘liberal special-interest groups.’” (National Journal)

“In an interview in a Wexford diner, Turzai called himself a ‘reformer with results.’”

“Turzai is the most prominent budget hawk in Republican leadership, and has been a constant adversary of” Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D). “He even has been a bane to some Republicans, driving a harder bargain when moderates or other conservatives were ready to compromise on a bigger tax increase to prop up the state’s deficit-riddled finances. … In particular, Turzai has played a leading role in blocking nearly all of the tax increases Wolf has sought, including a tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production, and holds himself out as a pro-business champion.”

“In leadership, Turzai has propelled several pet issues: privatizing the state-controlled wine and liquor store system and directing more taxpayer dollars to private school scholarships and non-profit education groups. Turzai also has sought to slash the state’s borrowing limit for development projects. … In 2013, he voted for a $2.3 billion transportation funding bill, labeled by conservative opponents as the state’s biggest tax increase in state history, although it was supported by business groups. He also voted last year to raise taxes on cigarettes.”

“Turzai, a lawyer and former county prosecutor, has the most political experience of the [Republican] candidates, having been in office since 2001. He is an experienced fundraiser, helping spearhead fundraising efforts for the House GOP, the chamber’s majority party since early 2011. That was the year he became majority leader, before taking the speaker’s office in 2015.”

“He made headlines in 2012 for saying the voter ID law would allow Republican Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania in that year’s presidential election.”

“Turzai will not run for his House seat if he wins the primary, and intends to remain speaker during the campaign.” (AP)

“Privately, some have questioned whether the Allegheny County candidates [Health care consultant Paul Mango (R) and businesswoman Laura Ellsworth (R)] would split the Western Pennsylvania vote, easing” state Sen. Scott Wagner’s (R) “path to the nomination.”

“As a leader, he has been praised for his work ethic, command of details and his ability to manage the caucus’ right wing. Others have described him as mercurial and sometimes erratic behind the scenes. They point to one time when he was spotted banging on the door of the governor’s office amid the budget impasse or to a weekend this summer when he floated an alternative revenue plan that quickly floundered, a move that some felt delayed progress on the budget.” (Philly.com)

“A formal rally is scheduled for a fire hall in Bradford Woods, Turzai’s hometown, on Thursday evening.” (PennLive)

MEANWHILE. Mango increased his ongoing ad buy to $278,000. It current runs on cable through Dec. 28. (Advertising Analytics)

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