Rep. Austin Davis will run for LG; joins Shapiro with a slew of endorsements

He would be Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor — and the highest-ranking Black public official in Pennsylvania history.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Austin Davis speaks from a podium

Pennsylvania state Rep. Austin Davis speaks to the press in McKeesport on April 7, 2021. (Office of Gov. Tom Wolf)

Attorney General Josh Shapiro has officially announced an informal running mate in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor: Allegheny County State Representative Austin Davis.

Davis, 32, grew up outside Pittsburgh in McKeesport. He was elected to the state House in 2018, and has since focused much of his attention on addressing industrial pollution in the Mon Valley, local infrastructure, and housing.

He would be Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor — and the highest-ranking Black public official in Pennsylvania history.

Shapiro’s Montgomery County-based campaign said in its press release announcing Davis’ endorsement that the AG believes he will add “important geographic and racial diversity” to the Democratic ticket.

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“Throughout his career, Austin Davis has fought for the people of Western Pennsylvania, standing up for families who work hard to make ends meet and communities that have been forgotten,” Shapiro said in a statement. “I’ve always surrounded myself with people who bring different life experiences to my team – and I’m proud to endorse Austin Davis because I know he will make my administration stronger as our next Lieutenant Governor.”

In his own statement, Davis said he thinks Shapiro knows “how to work hard and fight for working people and communities like McKeesport.”

Governors and lieutenants are technically elected separately and can’t share a ticket, but it has become increasingly common for candidates to choose symbolic running mates.

In 2018, after a first term in which he clashed with former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf ran successfully for reelection alongside John Fetterman. His GOP opponent that year, Scott Wagner, named real estate developer Jeff Bartos as his running mate.

Bartos and Fetterman are now both running for their respective parties’ U.S. Senate nominations.

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Davis isn’t the only Democrat in the running for LG.

Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, Pennsylvania’s first openly gay representative who has served in the House since 2013, is also in the race. He greeted Davis’s entrance — and the slew of endorsements he got from high-profile Democrats — with a statement, saying that he offers “experienced leadership” and will “show up, support local Democrats, and always be their partner in the fight for a better Pennsylvania.”

Davis’s endorsers include Wolf, former Democratic governor Ed Rendell, the entirety of House and Democratic leadership and most of Senate Democratic leadership, in addition to congressional Democrats Mike Doyle and Dwight Evans.

Shapiro successfully cleared the Democratic field for governor and faces no significant primary challengers. On the other side of the aisle, nearly a dozen candidates are vying for the GOP nomination.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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