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Congressman Lou Barletta is also seeking the former president’s endorsement, and state Sen. Doug Mastriano has said Trump asked him to run.

HARRISBURG — The top federal prosecutor in Philadelphia appointed by Donald Trump has written to the former president to seek his endorsement in a crowded Republican primary race to run for governor in next year’s election.

William McSwain’s letter, dated Friday, was released Monday night by Trump even before McSwain has publicly declared his candidacy.

McSwain has told Republicans in Pennsylvania that he is serious about running, and makes his intentions plain in the letter. He also makes the claim that he is uniquely positioned to beat Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state’s two-term attorney general who has said he plans to run for governor.

“I will be the Republican candidate for Governor with the best chance to win the general election in November 2022,” McSwain wrote. He goes on to say that “I would be honored to have your support” and “I hope to see you soon.”

McSwain’s campaign confirmed the authenticity of the letter. McSwain started a fundraising committee after returning to private practice in January.

Among those who have declared their candidacy is Lou Barletta, the former four-term congressman who was the party’s nominee for US Senate in 2018 before he lost to Democrat Bob Casey, and Charlie Gerow, who runs a communications and marketing firm in Harrisburg and is vice chairman of the American Conservative Union.

McSwain’s entry into the race already started a He Said, He Said argument between two former Trump administration officials.

McSwain and former Attorney General Bill Barr are now sparring over the handling of Trump’s lies about last November’s election.

McSwain is peddling some of Trump’s rhetoric about the election, but The Washington Post reports Barr disputes McSwain’s story that McSwain was told to not investigate fraud.

“Any suggestion that McSwain was told to stand down from investigating allegations of election fraud is false. It’s just false,” Barr said, according to the Post. It added Barr said McSwain “appeared to have been made to mollify President Trump to gain his support for McSwain’s planned run for governor.”

According to the paper, Barr claims McSwain said, “I can’t have Trump attacking me.”

McSwain disputes that, too.

Associate Editor Patrick Abdalla contributed to this report