Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro enters governor's race

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro enters governor's race
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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) is making his long awaited entry into the Keystone State’s gubernatorial race Wednesday.

Shapiro will formally kick off his bid to replace term-limited Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfPennsylvania K-12 mask mandate rejected by state court Overnight Health Care — Presented by Rare Access Action Project — White House unshaken by mandate ruling Pennsylvania governor allowing school districts to modify, end mask mandate MORE (D) with a campaign speech in Pittsburgh, campaign communications director Will Simons confirmed to The Hill.

The Associated Press first reported on Shapiro's candidacy.

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Shapiro enters the race as the heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination in the race, as mounting speculation that he would launch a bid largely froze the field. Shapiro enjoys a close relationship with Wolf and entered 2021 with $2.7 million in the bank.

Prior to being elected attorney general in 2016, Shapiro served as a state representative and chair of the Montgomery County commissioners board. While he was elected and reelected statewide with little name recognition, his name has been in state and national headlines recently as he fights against Republican efforts to audit the results of the 2020 presidential election on baseless claims of election fraud. 

Shapiro also gained prominence by leading a sweeping investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy in the Catholic Church that garnered international attention. 

The Republican primary is packed with candidates, including former Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaJosh Shapiro officially launches Pennsylvania gubernatorial campaign Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro enters governor's race Barletta holds wide lead over GOP rivals in early poll of Pennsylvania governor race MORE, former lieutenant governor candidate Joe Gale, activist Charlie Gerow and more. 

The Pennsylvania race is expected to be one of the most competitive gubernatorial contests in the country next year after the Keystone State saw a slew of narrow margins in recent cycles. Former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE won Pennsylvania by under 1 percentage point in 2016, and President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE took it by just over 1 percentage point in November.