Top Trump ally Rep. Lou Barletta announced his candidacy for U.S. senator from Pennsylvania Monday.
“After talking to Mary Grace and our family, many people across Pennsylvania and saying a few prayers, I’ve decided to run for the United States Senate,” the sitting congressman said in an official video on his campaign website.
“I don’t see running for the Senate to represent Pennsylvania as an opportunity. I see it as a responsibility,” he concluded.
The representative was one of the first members of Congress to formally endorse President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. He co-chaired Trump’s campaign and was promoted to the executive committee of the White House transition team after the president won in November. The president reportedly urged Barletta to run for Senate, according to the report.
There are already nine Republicans in the race including two state representatives that are working to unseat Democrat Bob Casey Jr. Casey served as senator since 2007, when he won office with 58.6 percent of the vote against incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum. He won by a much lower 53.7 percent in 2012.
Despite the fact that his lead was lower in 2012, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics rates the election as a likely Democratic win, based on the fact that Trump’s approval rating is decreasing in the state.
Trump won the state with 48.8 percent of the vote in 2016.
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