A Democratic Pennsylvania state lawmaker announced Tuesday that he will run for treasurer in 2024, positioning himself as an ideological opposite to the Republican incumbent regarding abortion access and the 2020 election.
Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, 37, announced his party primary candidacy for the seat held by incumbent Stacy Garrity, a Republican, who has said she plans to run for a second term.
The Erie representative couched the campaign as a “battle to stop the spread of extremism here in Pennsylvania,” saying Garrity has used “Harrisburg as a platform, spreading lies and promoting extreme agendas.”
“I’m running for State Treasurer to protect taxpayer assets, protect pensions, and to protect you from Stacy Garrity,” Bizzarro said in his campaign announcement video.
He targeted Garrity’s anti-abortion stance in the wake of last year’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Democrats have tapped abortion access as a top issue for voters heading toward the polls. It was a focal point in the 2022 national elections but has also played a significant role in Pennsylvania state elections, where Democrats hold a one-seat majority in the House, which they have said gives them leverage to protect access.
Bizzarro also tied Garrity to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, noting that she and other GOP politicians in the state rallied in Harrisburg the previous day, protesting the 2020 election results.
“As State Treasurer, I’ll strengthen programs that protect seniors, help families save for college, provide low-interest loans for our farmers, non-profits, cities and towns,” Bizzarro said in a news release.
Garrity campaign adviser Dennis Roddy, a senior adviser at ColdSpark consulting firm, said that Garrity has been a guardian of taxpayer dollars in her first term and Bizzarro is talking about everything but what a treasurer actually does. He called Bizzarro “a so-called leader in the laziest, least accomplished state Legislature in recent memory.”
“All he is attempting to do is to nationalize an election that has nothing to do with the issues he’s raising,” Roddy said.
Bizzarro, an Erie County native, was first sworn in to the Legislature in 2013. Before his tenure in the Capitol, Bizzarro worked as a victim/witness coordinator and advocate for the Office of the Erie County District Attorney and the Crime Victim Center. He’s policy chairman for the House Democrats, a caucus leadership spot.
Garrity, a retired U.S. Army Reserves colonel who served as vice president of a tungsten smelting plant, ousted a Democratic incumbent when she was elected in 2020. She said her major goal was to use the Treasury Department’s leverage to push lawmakers and the governor to limit state government spending to money that has been formally appropriated by the Legislature.
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