Voters will elect the nominees for lieutenant governor this May.
The lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania is second in the gubernatorial line of succession and has only a few (mostly ceremonial) responsibilities.
Still, it seems the position has garnered a lot of interest as multiple candidates have already declared their intention to run.
Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that elects a lieutenant governor and governor separately. Lieutenant governor candidates from each party compete for their party’s nomination in the May primary. The governor and lieutenant governor candidates who earn their party’s nomination are then teamed together as a single ticket—just like for president and vice president—for the general election.
Once in office, the lieutenant governor’s primary responsibility is to preside over the state Senate (a largely ceremonial role) and the Board of Pardons. In the event of a tie in the Senate, the lieutenant governor does have the ability to cast a tie-breaking vote, although such occasions are rare. If a governor dies, is incapacitated, or otherwise leaves office, the lieutenant governor takes over the position.
It’s a title without a lot of prestige, though it does come with a nice salary.
The lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania earns $169,451 annually, according to the 2021 edition of The Book of the States. The only states that pay their lieutenant governors more are New York and New Jersey.
Thus it has attracted interested parties who don’t have statewide name recognition. Terry Madonna, a senior fellow for political affairs at Millersville University, said those running will need support from gubernatorial candidates and state committees.
“None of them have statewide persona,” he said. “They’re going to need organizational assistance to get the nomination.”
Here’s an introduction to the field of candidates who have declared their intention to run:
State Rep. Austin Davis (D-Allegheny), 32, is in his third term in the state House of Representatives. He is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus and, if elected, would be the state’s first Black lieutenant governor.
In the last year, Davis has introduced legislation to reinstate Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, support mental health services, and create penalties for facilities that violate pollution limits.
Davis supports raising the minimum wage and protecting reproductive rights.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Democratic candidate for governor, recently endorsed Davis.
“Throughout his career, Austin Davis has fought for the people of Western Pennsylvania and stood up for families who work hard to make ends meet and communities that have been forgotten,” Shapiro said.
Ray Sosa, 55, of Montgomery County, has been appointed to state-level committees by three US governors and has experience serving on statewide commissions. He previously ran for lieutenant governor in 2018 but lost in the primary election.
He is the first Latino candidate for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania.
As lieutenant governor, Sosa said he would focus on strengthening the state’s emergency management response and improving infrastructure to prevent flooding and other climate-change events.
Sosa supports reproductive rights and raising the minimum wage. He supports medical marijuana, but believes more studies need to be done before legalizing recreational use.
State Rep. Brian Sims, 43, of Philadelphia, is the first openly gay member of the state Legislature. Before taking office, Sims worked as a policy attorney, where he consulted with lawmakers and government agencies to draft legislation.
Sims is a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. Last year, he proposed legislation that would implement LGBTQ+ history instruction in schools.
As lieutenant governor, Sims said he would strengthen and protect public education, preserve services for seniors, make affordable health care more available, preserve the environment while investing in alternative energy, create jobs, and clean up Harrisburg.
Sims supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana.
Nicole Shultz, 51, of Red Lion, York County, is the auditor in Windsor Township and serves as treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania.
Shultz said tax reform is needed in Pennsylvania to help lower or eliminate the property tax as well as more fiscal responsibility when it comes to the spending of tax dollars.
She supports full and complete pardons for all non-violent offenders. She said she will encourage rehabilitation programs and services to address mental health issues. She also supports reproductive rights.
Jeff Coleman, 46, of Indiana County, is a former state representative. He was the first Filipino American to serve in the state Legislature. He held his seat for two terms before leaving to start a Harrisburg-based public affairs firm.
If elected, Coleman wants to expand parental choice between public and private schools. He supports rebuilding the workforce by removing barriers to job training and apprenticeships for ex-offenders.
He advocates for adoption, instead of calling himself anti-choice.
Teddy Daniels, 46, of Wayne County, is an Army combat veteran and retired police officer who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination to challenge incumbent US Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) in 2020.
An avid Trump supporter, Daniels participated in the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and still believes the 2020 election was stolen.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), a Republican candidate for governor, has endorsed Daniels for lieutenant governor.
Daniels is a far-right conservative much like Mastriano and identifies himself as an anti-establishment candidate with no interest in working with the Republican party.
If elected, Daniels said he will use his position to “help push the governor’s agenda” and “start whipping votes with the senators.”
State Rep. Russ Diamond, 58, of Lebanon County, was elected to the state House in 2014. He has been a vocal critic of Gov. Tom Wolf’s handling of the pandemic, having initiated the termination of the governor’s disaster emergency powers and standing up against the mask mandates and business shutdown orders.
In 2004, Diamond ran simultaneously for the US House and the state Legislature as a Libertarian candidate. He was defeated in both races.
He ran as an Independent for governor in 2006 and as a Republican for lieutenant governor in 2010. He lost both bids.
In 2005, after members of the state Legislature voted themselves a pay raise during a midnight session, Diamond created PACleanSweep.com, a website dedicated to ousting every incumbent legislator in the state. This later spawned an informal grassroots organization, a nonprofit corporation, and subsidiary political action committee.
Diamond supports abolishing the property tax, funding public education out of general revenues, auditing all government expenditures for efficiency and usefulness, and stimulating economic development by reducing taxes and regulations. He is also a proponent of voter ID laws and restricting reproductive rights. He is against legalizing recreational marijuana.
Chris Frye, 33, became the first Black mayor of New Castle, Lawrence County, in 2019 and the youngest mayor in the city’s history.
Frye worked for the US Federal Probation and Pretrial Services in Pittsburgh and has managed the state Department of Health’s program in 13 northwest counties.
Frye said he’s running on a servant-based leadership approach and wants to have a bottom-up approach to government.
James Jones, of Hatboro, Montgomery County, is the founder and principal at Silverback Commodities & Traders LLC.
He ran two unsuccessful bids for Congress in 2008 and 2016 on a platform of economic and job growth, restoring fiscal responsibility, and creating stronger, safer communities.
Carrie Lewis DelRosso
Carrie Lewis DelRosso, of Allegheny County, was elected to the state House in 2021, and operates her own public relations and marketing company.
DelRosso has been critical of the pandemic-related restrictions implemented by the Wolf administration and is in favor of school choice.
Rick Saccone, 63, is a former state lawmaker and two-time congressional candidate from the Pittsburgh area.
Saccone served four terms in the state House before losing a special election for a seat in Congress. He was an early supporter of Trump and had a very conservative voting record while in Harrisburg. He advocated for issues such as the Castle Doctrine, property tax reform, and veteran’s issues.
Earlier this year, Saccone made headlines when he posted a picture with Mastriano and a video of his participation in the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
If elected, Saccone said he would advocate for the elimination of property taxes, stricter voting laws, the privatization of state liquor stores, and restrictions on reproductive rights.
Clarice Schillinger, 34, of Ambler, Montgomery County, is the founder of Keeping Kids in School PAC which endorsed school board candidates across the state in 2021 and Back to School PA PAC which provided financial support to school director campaigns in the state last year.
Schillinger worked on legislation to change a provision in the school code that allows school directors to close a school for up to four years if an emergency is severe enough. The bill has stalled in the state government. She wants to go to the state capitol to see it through, and to usher in legislation on school choice, a better tax policy, and other education reforms.
Schillinger supports reducing regulations on businesses and supporting law enforcement. Another priority is public safety and community aesthetics so people will move to Pennsylvania and not move out.
Candidates Who Have Dropped Out
- Republican Jerry Carnicella
- Republican Brandon Flood
- Republican Jen Gilliland Vanasdale
- Republican Angela Grant
This story was updated on March 31, 2022 to reflect the list of candidates who have filed nominating petitions for the primary election in May.
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