Former federal prosecutor and drug enforcement official Joe Peters has become the fifth Republican, and eighth candidate overall, to declare his intention to run for Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District.
The 11th District will be an open race in 2018, as current Congressman Lou Barletta plans to vacate the seat to seek the Republican nomination to run against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
In a news release issued Monday, Peters touted his law enforcement and legal experience — first as a police officer in Scranton, then as a federal prosecutor specializing in mafia cases, and then as a drug enforcement executive.
Peters was the state’s top drug prosecutor before serving in the federal government during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Thus far, four other Republicans are also seeking the nomination: state Rep. Stephen Bloom of North Middleton Township; Dauphin County businessman Andrew Lewis; former state Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser of Luzerne County; and Berwick Borough Councilman Andrew Shecktor.
On the Democratic side, candidates include Alan Howe of Carlisle, a retired U.S. Air Force foreign policy expert; former Hazelton Mayor Mike Marsicano; and former state Agriculture Secretary Denny Wolff of Columbia County.
When Barletta first won the 11th District in the 2010 midterm election, it was significantly different, being located solely in Pennsylvania’s northeast and including the metro areas of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.
However, subsequent redistricting stretched the district’s boundaries south to include more Republican-leaning rural areas, including parts of Cumberland County.
In 2016, Barletta bested Marsicano for the seat with 64 percent of the vote.