Rep. Lou Barletta, a Pennsylvania Republican and reliable ally of President Trump, on Tuesday announced he will challenge Democratic Sen. "I want to be the type of senator that you can be proud of, confident that I will always put Pennsylvania's interests first, and assured that I will work relentlessly to give Pennsylvania a strong voice in Washington".
The Pennsylvania Republican's entry into the race was widely expected after The Associated Press reported last month that Barletta had relayed his plans to GOP officials and activists.
Barletta, former mayor of Hazleton, was an early supporter of President Trump and has said he will release a video at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning about his bid.
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Barletta made the announcement this morning in a campaign video.
The congressman represents a House district that stretches from south-central through northeastern Pennsylvania, including parts of Carbon County.
Barletta's visibility on the immigration issue helped him politically, and he defeated 26-year incumbent Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski on his third try to win a seat in Congress in 2010.
"But I want to offer Pennsylvania more than just being a better option than Bob Casey", Barletta said.
Casey is one of 10 Democrats nationwide defending a seat next year in a state won by Trump.