Democratic county official joins race for Pennsylvania Senate seat

Democratic county official joins race for Pennsylvania Senate seat
© Courtesy Val Arkoosh

Democrat Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, has tossed her hat into the already-crowded ring to replace Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R) when he retires in 2022.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Arkoosh has been chair of the board since 2015, having been appointed to fill a vacancy about a year after an unsuccessful bid for the House.

“We are just at a critical time in our country,” Arkoosh said in an interview with the newspaper. “People are wondering how we’re gonna come out of this pandemic, we have some real issues around systemic racism and we’ve got some long-standing issues that need to be tackled like climate change. And as I talk to Pennsylvanians, they want someone who is going to commit to doing the hard work. I’ve been a problem solver all my life.”


If she won, she would be Pennsylvania's first female U.S. senator.

Arkoosh, a physician, has expressed support for raising the minimum wage to $15 and for ending the filibuster, the newspaper notes.

She had a central role in Pennsylvania's COVID-19 response, the Inquirer reports, providing facts and information on the virus during some of the worst parts of the pandemic.

“I’ve had to serve all of those different constituents so I feel ready and able to take that experience … all across the state,” Arkoosh said. “Certainly there is a very strong Democratic base here in the county and I would hope that most of those individuals would be interested in supporting me in that primary.”

According to the Inquirer, Arkoosh has tapped several former staffers from successful campaigns to lead her run, including Fiona Conroy, who worked on the successful reelection campaign of Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban Miners union to back Biden on green energy if it retains jobs Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act MORE (D-W.Va.); Rachel Petri, who worked on the campaigns of Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents Big bank CEOS to testify before Congress in May MORE (D-Ohio) and North Carolina senate nominee Cal Cunningham (D); and Tiernan Donohue, who worked on the Arizona campaign for Sen. Mark KellyMark KellyManchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act Republicans fret over divisive candidates Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study MORE (D).

Several Pennsylvania Democrats including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta have already announced their bids to replace Toomey. The Inquirer notes that another Democrat, Pennsylvania state Rep. Sharif Street, announced he would be launching an exploratory committee to look into running.