Rick Saccone

Rick Saccone

After revealing in July that he was thinking about seeking the Republican nomination to be Pennsylvania’s next lieutenant governor, former state Rep. Rick Saccone is set to formally announce his candidacy Friday.

Saccone was scheduled to make the announcement at the Youghiogheny Country Club in McKeesport. In a news release, the 63-year-old said, “I offer myself once again to serve my state and my country. I believe we are in desperate need of strong leadership at this time in our history. I believe I am uniquely qualified to lead on the issues most important to Pennsylvanians.”

With his formal entry to the race, Saccone is joining a field that includes Philadelphia-area businessman James Jones and Cambria County resident Jerry Carnicella, who has previously run unsuccessfully for other offices. If Saccone wins the GOP nomination to be Pennsylvania’s second-in-command, he could end up running with former Republican congressman and Senate nominee Lou Barletta, who has already announced his gubernatorial bid, or a Republican who is flirting with a bid, such as state Sen. Doug Mastriano or William McSwain, the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Saccone, who hails from the Elizabeth area, represented the 39th Legislative District from 2011 to 2019. He was defeated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb by less than a percentage point in a 2018 special election to fill a seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy. Before then, Saccone briefly sought the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in the 2018 cycle.

More recently, Saccone ended up back in the news after being outside the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 when a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump attempted to stop the certification of the electoral vote that gave the presidency to Joe Biden. Saccone lost a job teaching international relations and global terrorism at St. Vincent College in Latrobe as a result of social media posts he made during that day, which he later said were “hyperbolic.” Saccone has also said he did not know what was going on inside the building and did nothing wrong.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

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