Conservative activist to run for Pennsylvania governor

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Charlie Gerow, a longtime conservative activist, said he will run for governor of Pennsylvania, formally joining the field of candidates vying for the Republican Party’s nomination next year.

Gerow, 66, runs a communications and marketing firm in Harrisburg with offices two blocks from the state Capitol, where he is a familiar face. He is vice chairman of the American Conservative Union and a rank-and-file state party committee member, and got his start in politics volunteering — and later as a paid staffer — on the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan.

He is also known to Sunday morning television audiences in central Pennsylvania for appearing for more than two decades as a political commentator on “Face the State,” a public affairs show on the local CBS affiliate.

Gerow said he will formally announce his campaign on Thursday evening at a volunteer firehouse in Cumberland County.

Like other Republican candidates, Gerow said he would focus on improving economic opportunity and freedom.

But, Gerow said he will distinguish himself in a primary as the candidate who will pledge to get the Legislature to pass two key government reforms.

One is a constitutional amendment to allow ballot initiatives sponsored by voters “to get their voices heard when the Legislature doesn’t act or when the governor stonewalls them.”

The other is also a constitutional amendment to let voters recall a governor “who thinks he or she is a king,” a not-so veiled reference to conservative dismay over the executive authority wielded by Gov. Tom Wolf during the pandemic.

“I will put my shoulder to the wheel and work with the Legislature to get it done,” Gerow said.

Gerow also characterizes himself as a coalition builder who can get things done by bringing sometimes disparate elements together, noting his work on criminal justice reform issues “where I had Donald Trump and Van Jones working together.”

Gerow said he supported Trump as president. But in a race where Trump’s support could be important, Gerow did not want to discuss whether he agrees with Trump’s baseless claims about fraud in the election or whether Trump bore any responsibility for the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.


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