Pennsylvania State Capitol

Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.

Sentinel file photo

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s Republican Party is endorsing candidates closely identified with President Donald Trump in contested primaries to challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.

Saturday’s endorsements of gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner and Senate candidate Lou Barletta at the Republican State Committee’s winter meeting come a month before the deadline for the May 15 primary election.

Barletta, a fourth-term congressman, is facing several little-known competitors. He’s backed Trump’s agenda and co-chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in Pennsylvania.

Wagner, a state senator and waste-hauling company founder, is endorsed by former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon. Two others are seeking the nomination.

House Speaker Mike Turzai, a leader of anti-tax and social conservatives who has helped drive austerity in state budgeting, announced suspension of his gubernatorial campaign at the gathering.

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