Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack has pulled out of running for a U.S. Senate seat, ending a campaign that could have bolstered the Trump ticket in Pennsylvania.
Stack appeared before an editorial board of the York Daily Record and told the paper he ended his bid in part due to the tensions he witnessed while traveling with President Trump around the state.
“I would say a large part of my decision was what I see in York,” Stack told the newspaper. “I saw a lot of pushback from Democrats toward me and, frankly, toward the president.”
The newspaper reported that Stack was known for bringing black nationalists to the state Capitol for meetings with Republican lawmakers and other state and national political officials. He accused Democrats and their supporters of “vigilante bullying.”
Stack’s announcement comes a day after Republican Sean Parnell withdrew from a Senate bid and announced he will run for his party’s nomination for lieutenant governor in 2021. Parnell dropped out after the announcement of Stack’s decision, which came after the GOP ticket lost the elections in November 2016.
Stack, a former mayor of Philadelphia, was a supporter of Trump during the 2016 election. He regularly traveled the state with Trump in an effort to rally the president’s base. Stack’s presence as lieutenant governor was seen as a way to highlight the issues of higher education, education, working families and creating a workforce development system. Stack told the York Daily Record that he met in person with the president a few times in advance of the election and that he connected with him.
“You know, I’m sure everyone would like to build up their political power. I’ve always sought to have the best connections,” Stack said. “If you can offer a solution to a problem, he’s the kind of guy you want in his ear.”
Stack’s campaign was interrupted in August when “Scream” singer Courtney Love criticized Stack’s involvement with the president on Twitter. Love retweeted a video of the president’s criticism of Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat. Love said Casey and other Democrats are trying to “manufacture a crisis” about Trump’s handling of the military.
Love followed up with a profanity-laced Instagram video about being a Pennsylvania resident.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that former U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, a Chester County Republican who represented the district Trump won, is pondering a run. A post on Costello’s official Facebook page said, “I will continue to look at running for public office, however, the answer to my question — ‘Will I do this next time?’ — is an emphatic ‘Yes.’”
A report on the web site of the Beaver County Times mentions that Bethlehem’s Todd Stephens is considering a run in the open seat. A report from the Pennsylvania Patriot-News says former U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire is also considering a run.