- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican and reliable ally of President Trump, on Tuesday announced he will challenge Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in the state’s U.S. Senate race in 2018.

In an announcement video, Mr. Barletta said people “deserve a leader who actually listens to them and fights for them in Washington.”

He encouraged people to sign up to support him on his campaign website.

“You’ll be sending a loud and clear message that you have joined the effort to make Pennsylvania, and America, great again,” he said, playing off Mr. Trump’s campaign slogan.

Bob Casey is building up a war chest bankrolled by the most extreme liberal special interest groups in the country,” Mr. Barletta says. “Pennsylvania deserves better than an obstructionist senator.”

A number of other Republicans have already announced bids in the race, including state Reps. Rick Saccone and Jim Christiana.

But Mr. Barletta’s entry could attract the attention and campaign apparatus of Mr. Trump, who carried the state last year as GOP Sen. Pat Toomey won a tough re-election fight.

The state Democratic party responded to the announcement by saying that it’s Mr. Barletta who’s out of step with Pennsylvania values and in the pocket of wealthy special interests.

“If Congressman Lou Barletta thinks voting to raise health care costs for seniors, gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and send premiums skyrocketing will earn him a promotion, he’s in for a rude awakening,” said Max Steele, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Mr. Casey is one of 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 in states carried by Mr. Trump.

Democrats, meanwhile, have fewer pick-up opportunities, with the party eyeing the seats of GOP Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona as among the likeliest opportunities to knock off incumbent Republicans.

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