Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Potential Challenger Emerges for Lt. Gov. Stack

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Potential Challenger Emerges for Lt. Gov. Stack

Article excerpt

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, under scrutiny for his treatment of state troopers and workers at his taxpayer-paid mansion and at odds with his partner at the top of the ticket, may be about to get his first challenger in next year's Democratic primary.

Aryanna Berringer, a party activist and former congressional candidate from Westmoreland County, is considering a run against Mr. Stack, she confirmed this week.

Ms. Berringer and her husband, political consultant Daren Berringer, have talked with 15 to 20 state Democratic operatives and leaders in the past several weeks about a run against Mr. Stack, according to party sources, who said they were not authorized to publicly discuss the conversations.

In an interview Wednesday, Ms. Berringer said her interest in the race was partly motivated by allegations that Mr. Stack and his wife have repeatedly mistreated the troopers assigned to protect them and the state workers who maintain their taxpayer-funded residence.

"I would never treat anyone that way," said Ms. Berringer, a 34-year-old Murrysville resident. "As a Democrat, it's upsetting to see someone like Mr. Stack and his family act that way. ... It's not who I am and not how I'm raising my kids to behave. It's time to have someone step up."

Mr. Stack, a longtime state senator from Northeast Philadelphia, and his wife, Tonya, are under investigation by the state Inspector General's office for their treatment of the state employees. The inquiry was ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf, who in April took the extraordinary step of stripping the Stacks of their state police detail and yanked all but one staffer from the couple's home at Fort Indiantown Gap. At the time, Mr. Wolf said he did so because he was concerned for the safety of state workers.

Mr. Stack has publicly apologized, saying he sometimes gets angry and frustrated, and has what he called "a Stack moment." But he did not say what he was apologizing for, and few details are known about his and wife's behavior toward employees.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Stack's onetime campaign manager, Marty Marks, said the lieutenant governor intends to run for a second term in 2018 - and win. …

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