Katie McGinty, chief of staff to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, is stepping down, reportedly to prepare for an announcement of her candidacy for U.S. Senate in 2016.
Wolf’s spokesman said McGinty submitted her resignation Wednesday, first reported by the National Journal. She has been considering a U.S. Senate run for the past few weeks.
McGinty’s departure comes as Wolf is still trying to hammer out a budget agreement with a GOP-controlled Legislature. But a feud with Senate Republicans has smoldered for months since she took a shot at their proposal to change public pension benefits in May.
The remarks even led legislative Democrats to wonder if the Wolf administration was too quick to attack the GOP. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, who made little secret that he took offense to such gibes, said McGinty’s resignation can only help the administration’s relationship with legislative leaders.
“Like it or not, it is a Republican General Assembly and you’ve got to work with them,” said Corman. “And to come in from day one, throwing bombs and being very adversarial doesn’t lead to getting things accomplished.”
Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan dismissed Corman’s comments. He said McGinty was instrumental in some of the earliest moves of Wolf’s term, such as the expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care law.
Before joining the Wolf administration, McGinty was a 2014 campaign rival, coming in fourth in the four-way Democratic primary. National party leaders reportedly wooed her for a Senate bid as they voiced dissatisfaction with the declared Democratic candidate, former Congressman Joe Sestak. The winner of the Democratic primary next year will take on incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.