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Pennsylvania GOP is considering an early endorsement in AG race

Pennsylvania’s Republican State Committee is mulling an early meeting to make an endorsement in the primary for state attorney general. And one of the party’s three candidates claims that’s designed to box him out of the race.

The party, which voted during its fall meeting to not have an open primary with no endorsement, is scheduled to meet for its winter meeting Feb. 3.

But the two-week period for circulating nomination petitions starts Jan. 23. It has been rumored the party is looking to call a virtual meeting Jan. 22 to endorse in the race.

That way, a candidate who does not get endorsed can decide if they want to go through the petition process or withdraw from the race.

State Rep. Craig Williams, who represents parts of Delaware and Chester Counties, said he heard about the meeting the day after he announced his campaign earlier this week. And he thinks that’s no coincidence.

“It’s Harrisburg insiders, Harrisburg lobbyists, who have their thumbs on the scale, trying to pick one guy over another,” Williams told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Party chair Lawrence Tabas declined to comment on that accusation Friday.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, who has been building support since he announced in June, appears to be the front-runner for the endorsement.

Former Delaware County District Attorney Kat Copeland, who entered the race Nov. 20, said she would drop out and support the endorsed candidate if she does not win the party’s nod next month.

Sunday and Copeland worked the crowd Friday at the party’s kickoff luncheon in Manhattan as part of Pennsylvania Society, the annual gathering in New York of the state’s political movers and shakers.

Williams, who says he is “unlikely” to keep running if he does not get the endorsement, is skipping the event to focus on campaigning in Pennsylvania this weekend.

His campaign was crosswise with Republican Party officials before it even started. The Republican Attorneys General Association in October accused him of “misleading” state committee members with a note that suggested he could win the group’s endorsement.

RAGA endorsed Sunday last month.

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