HARRISBURG – The Pittsburgh Tribune Review is reporting… Melissa Hart, the only woman in Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial primary race, announced Friday she has decided to bow out of the contest and throw her support to Lou Barletta. Her decision comes on the heels of Jake Corman’s exit from the race Thursday. He too is endorsing Barletta to be the party’s nominee for the open governor’s seat. Hart, an Allegheny County lawyer and former congresswoman, said it was a difficult decision but it came down to giving her party the best chance of beating unopposed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro in the fall.
She believes at this point, Barletta, a former Hazelton mayor and U.S. congressman, is the candidate who can do that. “He’s done right by the people,” Hart said. “He’s a guy who like me is a conservative, who wins in Democratic registered areas, and Pennsylvania is still a Democratic state. So a person who shares my values, who I know can win in November is important to me.” As recent polls began to show far-right conservative Doug Mastriano emerging as the frontrunner in what until this week was a nine-person field, Republican Party insiders began to urge the other eight in the race to coalesce around one candidate who they felt is more electable in November than Mastriano.
However, that request received a cool reception from Dave White, a millionaire Delaware County businessman, and Bill McSwain, a former federal prosecutor. Neither indicated a willingness to bow out. A check on Friday with other candidates in the GOP race — Nche Zama, a retired heart and lung surgeon, and Charlie Gerow, a political strategist and Harrisburg businessman — found that they plan to remain in the race. Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner, did not respond to a request for comment. None of those three have risen above single digits in the polls.