By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro, who fought against former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state, announced Wednesday that he is running for governor.
“I understand people feel like our politics are divided and broken right now, but we can’t just take our ball and go home. There’s too much on the line,” Shapiro said in a campaign video released Wednesday. “We all have a responsibility to show up, stand up and fight for what’s right. As governor, I’ll stay in the game — no matter what.”
In a speech formally kicking off his campaign in Pittsburgh, Shapiro vowed to make government more efficient and called for investments in state health care, education and infrastructure.
“As a commonwealth, we’re facing some serious challenges right now, many of them laid bare by Covid — from health care to education to the workforce,” he said.
Shapiro said as governor that he “won’t hesitate to use that veto pen” to protect voting rights, reproductive rights, and the right to organize.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat first elected in 2014, is term limited, leaving the field wide open.
A handful of Republican candidates, including former US Rep. Lou Barletta, former US attorney Bill McSwain and GOP strategist Charlie Gerow, are also vying to be the next governor.
During Wednesday’s campaign event, Shapiro took a swing at his Republican rivals, saying “they’re passing the far-right litmus test, and they’re pandering to the special interests.”
He also slammed Republicans backing a partisan review of the 2020 election, arguing that they are doing “real damage to our democracy” and “holding us back from meeting this moment.”
While warning that “our fundamental rights are at risk right now,” Shapiro said he would “continue to stand up to the attacks on our democracy,” strengthen voter intimidation laws and improve the mail-in ballot process as governor.
Shapiro was narrowly elected the state’s top prosecutor in 2016. He formerly served on the Board of Commissioners in Montgomery County and in the Pennsylvania state House.
Shortly after he was sworn in as attorney general, Shapiro put the “full force” of his office behind a grand jury investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The investigation resulted in a damning report that found that more than 300 “predator priests” had been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims in six Pennsylvania dioceses over the past seven decades.
Shapiro was reelected in 2020 by nearly 5 percentage points and started his second term as attorney general in January.
He joins Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in running for governor after defending the 2020 vote count in their states. Hobbs launched her campaign for Arizona governor in June.
This story was updated with additional information.
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