The 2018 gubernatorial election is still well over a year away. But already, Republicans are announcing intentions to contest Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf’s bid for reelection.
It’s likely that GOP House Speaker Mike Turzai—long rumored to be interested in higher office—will soon be among them.
Pittsburgh-based political agency Cold Spark Media has confirmed it’s working with the Allegheny County Republican. Mark Harris, a partner with the agency acting as Turzai’s strategist, said the politician may explore a run more seriously after the state budget is finished.
Cold Spark has helped other prominent Republicans, like Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, win elections.
Harris wouldn’t specifically confirm the bid, but he made it clear that it’s on the table. He also repeatedly stressed Turzai’s electability.
“He starts with a strong geographic base in the west and a strong base among conservatives,” Harris said. “I think he would be very well positioned for someone to win a Republican primary, and then win in November.”
He also said that Turzai’s conservative record as Speaker—which has included expanding liquor sales and firmly opposing Governor Wolf’s efforts to raise taxes—would be a “huge asset for the Speaker, should he decide to run for higher office.”
“His focus really will be on touting that record,” Harris added.
Turzai himself has not confirmed or denied a run for governor.
Right now, the GOP field in the race is dominated by ultraconservative York County Senator Scott Wagner.
Asked to compare Turzai’s chances with Wagner’s, Harris said only that “other people can do a lot of talking” but Turzai’s record speaks for itself.