Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pa. House Speaker Turzai Confirms Run for Governor

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pa. House Speaker Turzai Confirms Run for Governor

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG - House Speaker Mike Turzai, known for his conservative views and zest for battle with the Democratic administration, has joined the race for governor.

The Republican from Allegheny County announced his plans to seek the GOP nomination Tuesday evening in a video posted to his campaign's social-media accounts.

Mr. Turzai championed his opposition to various taxes - a sticking point in the state's four-month budget impasse, and on which his party's House caucus was often a holdout on proposed compromises that would have increased broad-based taxes.

He referred to the Republican-controlled House as "the last line of defense against every imaginable scheme to take away your hard-earned dollars and freedom."

And the state Democratic Party was quick to criticize, accusing Mr. Turzai of paralyzing state government and causing a credit downgrade "so he could advance his own political ambitions and protect his donors in the oil and gas industry."

To many in the Capitol, a fiery showdown between the speaker and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf had seemed inevitable during the budget impasse.

But if Mr. Turzai wants to face Mr. Wolf in the run for governor, he must first make it out of a crowded field of candidates running for the GOP ticket.

Also seeking the nomination are state Sen. Scott Wagner, a York County Republican who has been compared to President Donald Trump, health care consultant Paul Mango and attorney Laura Ellsworth. Mr. Mango and Ms. Ellsworth are from Allegheny County, he from Pine and she from Moon, like Mr. Turzai, who lives in Marshall.

Some analysts wonder whether the Allegheny County candidates would split the Western Pennsylvania vote, easing Mr. Wagner's path to the nomination.

Mr. Turzai, a 58-year-old lawyer, joined the House in 2001, rose to majority leader in 2011 - aided by an influx of more conservative representatives - and became speaker in 2015.

As a leader, he has been praised for his work ethic, command of details and his ability to manage the caucus' right wing. …

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