Mon Valley state rep announcing U.S. Senate run for Casey’s seat

Surrounded by supporters, state Rep. Rick Saccone announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate during an event in the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

State Rep. Rick Saccone, a Republican who represents Mon Valley communities in Washington and Allegheny counties, announced at a rally in the state Capitol rotunda a run next year for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

“Our country is in peril because of poor leadership,” Saccone said Monday, according to a news release.

“We elected our new president to place us on the right track, but the work is not done. Our political culture is upside-down,” Saccone added. “I went to Harrisburg and worked with other legislators to help clean up that mess with no retreat, no pulling back, no compromising our values because we had the people of Pennsylvania on our side.

“And now there is Washington, D.C., (and) eight years of an extreme progressive agenda running rampant, destroying our country: Obamacare, (Veterans Administration) scandals, the rise of ISIS. It has been a mess for so long people have almost given up.

“We will set the country back on the right course, and then I will come home.”

A campaign official did not reply to an emailed inquiry about whether Saccone intends to file solely as a candidate for U.S. Senate next year, or if he would continue to pursue re-election to the General Assembly.

This will be the first statewide political campaign for Saccone, 58, of Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County.

Sam Rohrer, president of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and former state represenative, opened the campaign event with a prayer. David Barton, author and founder and president of the organization “WallBuilders,” which airs programming on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Cornerstone Television, introduced the candidate.

Last month, Saccone was the first Republican to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission for a U.S. Senate run, forming his committee.

While in the U.S. Air Force, he served in South Korea, where he was chief of counterintelligence in Seoul, and he was part of a counterterrorism team that helped protect American athletes attending the 1988 Olympics. After his retirement from the Air Force, he was a news anchor on a South Korean English-language TV channel and was a civilian contractor during the Iraq War.

Saccone holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and is listed among adjunct faculty and visiting professors at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government. He was elected to the Legislature in 2010.

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