The Republican picture in the 2012 race for nomination to oppose Sen. Bob Casey (D.-Pa.) will change dramatically next week, HUMAN EVENTS has learned, because former State Rep. and former gubernatorial candidate Sam Rohrer will enter the race on Monday.
Rohrer, who was the runner-up in the GOP primary last year to current Gov. Tom Corbett, recently sent out an e-mail to supporters indicating he will join seven other Republicans vying for the Senate nomination in the primary next April. Earlier this month, the former nine-term lawmaker and current state director of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) talked to HUMAN EVENTS about the Senate bid he will shortly make official.
“I’m driven by a sense of duty,” Rohrer told us. “So many of the issues I championed in Harrisburg are now at the cutting edge of American politics.” He specifically pointed to his record of fighting for smaller state budgets and for “taking the no-tax pledge, standing firm on this against [Governors] Tom Ridge [Republican] and Ed Rendell [Democrat], and never violating it.”
A member of the state House Appropriations Committee, Rohrer carved a niche for himself as a tight-fisted conservative and became a hero among fellow conservative activists throughout the Keystone State. When Rohrer sought the gubernatorial nod last year, however, many conservatives opted for Corbett because they felt he was better-known and had already been tested statewide by winning the office of state attorney general.
From his race for governor and his subsequent appearances before the 200-plus Tea Party organizations throughout Pennsylvania, Rohrer already has statewide recognition and a following. Moreover, the AFP group he heads has more than 110,000 names on its mailing lists.
The race for the Republican nomination has a variety of candidates, ranging from two millionaire businessmen—Steve Welch and Tom Smith—to attorney and one-time U.S. Senate staffer Marc Scavingi to a decorated Iraq veteran, retired U.S. Army Col. John Vernon. Along with western Pennsylvania businessman Tim Burns (who lost two bids for Congress), Rohrer is the lone contender who has sought office before.