PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A local Republican attorney says he's the strongest candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.
Ten Republicans, so far, are looking to run for governor next year. None of them are particularly well known yet, and almost all of them come from eastern or central Pennsylvania.
That's why Jason Richey, a partner in a highly respected Pittsburgh law firm, thinks he's the odds-on favorite to win.
An All-American college wrestler from Aliquippa, Richey said his blue-collar roots, success as an attorney and western Pennsylvania geography are a winning combination for victory in the Republican primary next May.
Richey said the presence of so many candidates on the ballot from outside this region and "Allegheny County" after his name on the ballot make him a formidable candidate in a crowded field.
And he said his campaign will focus on reversing what he calls a 50-year economic decline in Pennsylvania, so that young people like his three sons can find jobs locally to stay in the region.
"My dad was a mechanic," Richey told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. "My mom was a girls basketball coach at Aliquippa, a public school teacher. Grew up at a time when the steel mills were failing, families were breaking up. People were searching for jobs. So I know the importance for the family unit of having secure jobs."
Richey said this region needs representation in Harrisburg.
"It's very important, in my view, that we have someone from western Pennsylvania representing Republicans to change the trajectory of this state."
He said his blue-collar roots and non-political background are a recipe for political success.
"We just saw it in Virginia with Glenn Youngkin. If we get a political outsider like myself that's coming in to disrupt Harrisburg, to change the way things have been going over and over again," says Richey, "I think it is absolutely necessary that we need a new face, a new voice that is not tied to the special interests."
Richey said he's pro-life but would not enact Texas-style restrictions on abortion rights unless the Supreme Court gives the green light to do so.
"I am pro-life, but at the same time I can assure everyone that we won't be engaging in passing laws that are unconstitutional," he said.
Richey also said he's pro-Second Amendment and opposes efforts to allow municipalities to enact their own gun measures.
He would also end no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania, and he would ban teaching Critical Race Theory in schools "where they demonize one race for all the problems of the past."
As for the 2020 presidential election, his answer is straightforward.
Delano: With respect to President Trump, do you believe that election is over and done with, and we should be looking forward?
And he said he's the strongest Republican to defeat Democrat Josh Shapiro next year, whom he calls a wealthy career politican from Philadelphia.
"I, on the other hand, am an Aliquippa kid. I worked in the steel mills to help put myself through law school. I'm a wrestler. I'm a blue-collar guy who has spent his entire life working in the private sector," Richey said.
Republicans will pick their nominee on May 17.
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