Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly Not Running for Senate

GOP lawmaker bows out after report that Rep. Lou Barletta is running

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly will run for re-election to his House seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Mike Kelly announced Tuesday that he will not to run for Senate in Pennsylvania, and instead will seek re-election to his House seat.

Kelly’s decision comes one day after The Associated Press reported that fellow Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Lou Barletta has decided to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

Kelly becomes the latest House member to opt out of a Senate run. He cited his role on the influential Ways and Means Committee as one reason he is running for a fifth House term.

“From this platform I remain in an influential position to fight for my most important priority: securing a stronger economy and higher take-home pay for my constituents and for all Americans,” Kelly said in a statement.

The congressman’s decision does not mean Barletta would avoid a GOP primary. At least seven other candidates are vying for the nomination.

Barletta spokesman Jon Azur did not directly confirm the AP story, but noted that his boss has been encouraged to challenge Casey, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006. 

“The congressman is still giving it serious thought and will make an announcement about his plans in the near future,” Azur said in an email Monday. “Stay tuned.”

Barletta was one of President Donald Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress. Trump, who won Pennsylvania by 1 point last fall, had been encouraging Barletta to take on Casey.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Pennsylvania Senate race Lean Democratic.

Correction 1:02 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the year Casey was first elected to the Senate. 

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