Sixteen years after she last held office, former Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa., signaled to Newsmax this weekend she would seek the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania in 2022.
Hart's decision brings to 14 the number of Republicans actively seeking nomination to succeed termed-out Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf.
Many pundits and political operatives in the Keystone State pointed out the former congresswoman, who served from 2000-'06 and previously spent a decade in the Pennsylvania Senate, is the lone woman in either party vying for nomination as governor.
A stalwart pro-life Republican and staunch conservative, Hart, 59, is expected to campaign as a candidate of opportunity in the mold of the late Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y.
Her problem, several admirers agree, is whether she can raise the money to be competitive in the field after being out of office for so long.
"Melissa is not just the only woman in the race but comes from Western Pennsylvania, which is a good place to come from in a Republican primary," said one veteran GOP consultant who requested anonymity. "If someone would give her $2 million, she would become competitive immediately."
(Under Pennsylvania election law, a candidate for state office can accept donations of any amount so long as they are reported).
The standing-room-only gubernatorial primary was a major topic of discussion as Pennsylvania business and political leaders gathered in New York this weekend for the century-old Pennsylvania State Society gala.
At this point, the early front-runners in the May primary are former Rep. Lou Barletta, a 2018 U.S. Senate candidate, State Senate President Jake Corman, and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain.
The certain Democrat nominee is State Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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