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Jake Corman drops out of Pa. governor’s race, endorses Lou Barletta

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2021 file photo, state senator Jake Corman, R-Centre, speaks during a Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee hearing at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Corman, the ranking Republican in Pennsylvania's state Senate who is widely expected to run for governor, has begun inviting donors and others to an announcement next Thursday night, Nov. 11, 2021. The event is billed as a "special announcement" in Corman's hometown of Bellefonte, Pa.
Matt Rourke
Corman's endorsement comes as GOP leaders warn that leading Republican primary candidate Doug Mastriano is too far right to win in a general election.

Following a campaign that struggled to gain favor with Republican primary voters, state Senate President Jake Corman on Thursday ended his bid for the his party’s nomination for governor.

He is now backing former Republican Congressman Lou Barletta, just days before Tuesday’s primary. Voters have been able cast mail ballots for weeks, but the last day to apply for one was May 10th.

“I’m not advising other people in their candidacy,” Corman said at an event near the state Capitol in Harrisburg. “But what is important is the party itself and our ability to be able to put a candidate forward that can win in the fall.”

Corman filed court papers weeks ago indicating he would drop out of the crowded GOP primary, but changed his mind after a conversation with former President Donald Trump. The veteran senator said he had not been contacted by Trump this time around, nor had he consulted with him before dropping out.

“I think he’s very fond of Lou, but the [former] President has decided not to endorse in this race and I respect that,” Corman added.

Corman pointed to Barletta’s experience in Congress and his penchant for running issues-focused ads and messaging as reasons for offering his endorsement of the former mayor of Hazelton.

Both repeatedly denied suggestions the decision was influenced by a desire to limit state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s (R-Franklin) lead in the polls, but hinted they were not confident in Mastriano’s ability to successfully campaign against the sole Democratic candidate, Josh Shapiro.

“I know Doug Mastriano is trying to win this as well, but I’m presenting to the people of Pennsylvania that I will give Republicans the best chance to win in November,” Barletta said.

This story will be updated.

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