Lou Barletta

Alex Brandon / AP

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey reports that he's heading into his re-election year with $8.6 million in campaign cash, easily leading his rivals.

Susan Walsh / AP

A former drug prosecutor who once ran for state attorney general is entering the field vying to succeed Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta in 2019.

Joe Peters announced Monday that he'll seek the Republican Party's nomination to run for Pennsylvania's 11th District seat in Congress. The district stretches from Shippensburg in southcentral Pennsylvania some 140 miles to rural northeastern Pennsylvania. The primary election is May 15.

Pablo Martinez Montsivais / AP

Congressman Bill Shuster, a southwestern Pennsylvania Republican, has announced he’s not seeking reelection after 17 years in office.

His seat now joins a lengthening list of vacancies that could help make Pennsylvania one of the most important states in November’s congressional elections.

With Shuster’s departure, four of the commonwealth’s 13 Republican-held seats stand open.

Keith Srakocic / AP

One candidate is leaving the Republican field seeking the nomination to challenge Pennsylvania's two-term Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, and one candidate is getting in.

Fourth-time candidate Joe Vodvarka said Thursday that he's running as a Republican, after losing three straight primaries as a Democrat.

Vodvarka is a semiretired owner of a Pittsburgh-area spring manufacturing shop. Also running are Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, state Rep. Jim Christiana and Libertarian Dale Kerns.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

There are two more people entering the field vying to succeed Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta in 2019.

Former state Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff will seek the Democratic Party's nomination, and U.S. Army veteran Andrew Lewis will seek the Republican nomination.

The 66-year-old Wolff is also a fifth-generation dairy farmer in Columbia County and served on the World Trade Organization's agriculture technical committee. The 30-year-old Lewis helps run a family construction services firm in Dauphin County and ran unsuccessfully for state Senate last year.

casey.senate.gov

Statewide political party leaders are starting to hone their messaging for—and against—candidates, more than a year before the midterm elections

Particular attention is already being paid to Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race, between incumbent Democrat Bob Casey and one of several Republican challengers.

The emails have been coming steadily for a few months now.

Salvos from the state Republican Party criticize Casey’s votes against cutting funds to sanctuary cities, or his shifts to the left on abortion and gun control.

Messages from the Democrats are similar.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta will announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Campaign spokesman Jon Anzur told The Associated Press on Monday night that Barletta will release a video announcing his run for the Senate seat held by two-term Democrat Bob Casey.

The Pennsylvania Republican's entry into the race was widely expected after the AP reported last month that Barletta had relayed his plans to GOP officials and activists.

Katie Meyer / WITF

Protesters around Pennsylvania spent Wednesday urging the commonwealth’s Republican US senators and congressional representatives not to support a budget bill that routes significant dollars toward enforcing immigration laws—including $1.6 billion to build a wall on the Mexican border.

One group braved torrential rain to bring the message to Congressman Lou Barletta’s office in Harrisburg—and they even brought props.

Susan Walsh / AP

Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, a crusader against illegal immigration, is telling GOP officials and activists that he's decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Bob Casey.

A person familiar with the discussions tells The Associated Press that Barletta began telling party officials of his decision last week.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because Barletta has not yet made his plans public.

Google.com

The Peduto administration is hoping a recently passed program aimed at reducing the number of unused properties held by the federal government will help the city take control of the former VA site on Washington Boulevard.

Pittsburgh wants to take control of the unused VA site and convert it into a first responder training facility and a storage area for heavy equipment

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania says he won't run for governor, but may still decide to seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in 2018.

Kelly issued the brief statement Friday.

The 69-year-old Kelly says he'll make a final decision later this summer.

Urged On By Trump, Barletta Eyes U.S. Senate Run Against Casey

May 4, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

President Donald Trump is encouraging Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a prominent crusader against illegal immigration, to challenge Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in next year's election, a Barletta campaign consultant said Wednesday.

Trump's Immigration Talk Hits Home In Hazleton

Mar 3, 2017
Eleanor Klibanoff / Keystone Crossroads

Over a decade ago, Hazleton tried to stem the tide of immigrants flooding the city by prohibiting residents from employing, housing or selling anything to unauthorized immigrants. The ban never went into effect and was eventually struck down by the courts, costing the city $1.4 million in legal settlement fees. And it didn't stop Latino immigrants from settling in Hazleton: the city is now over 50 percent Latino.