Heather Heidelbaugh wants to deny Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro a second term. It’s an expensive and challenging proposition.But the little-known Pittsburgh lawyer is getting some valuable help from allies of Sen. Pat Toomey — whom political watchers in both parties see as on a likely collision course with Shapiro in the 2022 governor’s race.While the presidential election consumes voters’ attention, political insiders see the under-the-radar contest for attorney general as a potent prelude to a race that will be very much the center of attention in two years. That subplot played out Monday when a new group started airing digital ads critical of spending by the Attorney General’s Office under Shapiro. Toomey is indirectly helping the group.Toomey has committed to raising significant amounts of money for the Republican Attorneys General Association, in anticipation that it will spend big to support Heidelbaugh, according to two Republican campaign consultants familiar with Toomey’s thinking. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Toomey’s plans.
That’s right, Toomey is eyeing the 2022 Governor race:
One of the worst-kept secrets in Pennsylvania politics is that Sen. Pat Toomey is considering a run for governor in 2022.So when the Republican rolled out a plan Thursday to reopen Pennsylvania’s economy, and do it more quickly, in many cases, than Gov. Tom Wolf has planned, it renewed speculation about Toomey’s intentions. Four Pennsylvania GOP insiders who spoke to The Inquirer all saw it as an attempt from the senator to show how he would lead as an executive as he weighed in on a critical issue that has raised the profiles of governors across the country.
“It was a pretty clear smoke signal” that Toomey is thinking about a bid for the statehouse, said Charlie Gerow, a Republican strategist based in Harrisburg, though he, like everyone else interviewed, added that he didn’t believe any decision has been made.
Instead of doing his job, Toomey’s been trashing Governor Tom Wolf’s (D. PA) handling of the coronavirus panndemic:
Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Scott Perry on Wednesday took aim at the Wolf administration’s handling of the coronavirus, blaming it for what they said was a weak state economic recovery.
At a press conference in York attended by about two dozen business leaders and elected officials, the two Republican lawmakers criticized some of the restrictions and measures rolled out by Gov. Tom Wolf intended to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Toomey first outlined the federal response to the pandemic, including the release of trillions of dollars to states under the CARES Act, which he said significantly staved off what many had projected would be a catastrophic economic disaster. But he singled Pennsylvania out as an outlier, in particular its unemployment rate. The state’s unemployment rate hit 13.7% in July, well above the national rate of 10.2%.
Meanwhile, Shapiro has been doing his job and kicking ass: