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Forward Party announces candidates for Pennsylvania attorney general and treasurer

Forward Party candidate for Pa. attorney general and party co-chair Christine Todd Whitman announced his candidacy in Philadelphia March 26, 2024 (Credit: John Cole/Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
March 26, 2024

PHILADELPHIA  In multiple events across the commonwealth on Tuesday, the Forward Party announced its candidates for Pennsylvania attorney general and treasurer. 

Eric Settle, a former Republican from Montgomery County who served as Deputy General Counsel to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and as chief counsel in the healthcare industry, will be the party’s nominee for attorney general.

During his speech in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning, Settle described himself as a “lifelong centrist” and said the political heroes of his career were people like Ridge, former New Jersey GOP Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who is Forward Party co-chair, and the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

“As a Republican, the party of Trump had made me both uncomfortable and unelectable,” Settle said. “And for my Democratic friends as an older white male, I did not fit the candidate profile of the Democrats’ new progressive approach.”

Settle highlighted the party’s support for electoral reforms, including open primaries and ranked choice voting, and pointed to his experience in Ridge’s administration. He added that he views the role of attorney general as “so much broader than just being Pennsylvania’s chief prosecutor.”

Chris Foster, a former Democrat from Allegheny County who worked as a tennis professional and entrepreneur, is the party’s candidate for treasurer.

“The Democrats and Republicans fight all the time over money, forgetting it’s your money,” Foster said in a press release. “We shouldn’t let them have the job of Treasurer with its critical responsibility for watching over the integrity of the money all Pennsylvanians send to Harrisburg.”

Christian Fyke, chairperson of the Forward Party of Pennsylvania, said that both candidates have signed onto the party’s pledge: “to focus on the will of the voters, and to act with the highest levels of ethics and integrity,” and will serve to provide Forward official recognition as a political party in the state.

The Forward Party was founded by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang in 2022, and says it aims to bring together moderates, conservatives and progressives in finding common ground.

Independent and third party candidates have to file their nomination petitions by August 1 to appear on Pennsylvania’s November general election ballot.

Whitman acknowledged to the Capital-Star in an interview on Tuesday that it’s not easy work to launch a third party.

“It’s never really been done before, done successfully,” Whitman said. “So we recognize that, we’re not naive about what it’s going to take. It’s going to take money. It’s going to take time. We’re in it for the long haul.”

The Forward Party will not be endorsing a candidate for president and the other statewide row offices, but emphasized its focus on supporting their candidates in other races. 

“As a party, building a party, we’re concentrating on those state offices, those statewide and local offices,” Whitman said. 

The Forward Party endorsed several candidates during the 2023 cycle in Pennsylvania including Republican Joe Rockey for Allegheny County Executive, and the reelections of Philadelphia City Commissioner Seth Bluestein, a Republican, and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, a lifelong Democrat who ran on the Republican Party ticket. Rockey lost his race to Democrat Sara Innamorato.

Craig Snyder, Specter’s former chief of staff , is the Pennsylvania Political Director of the Forward Party. He said he’s confident the candidates will make the ballot this general election.

Reaching 2% of the vote statewide would be a moral victory, he added, because then the Forward Party would achieve official party status, meaning Pennsylvanians can register with the party in future elections.

“And we’ll start to see, I think, tens and ultimately hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who are registering as forward,” he told the Capital-Star.

The race for attorney general features the largest field of candidates heading into the April 23 primary election. Five Democrats and two Republicans are seeking their parties’ nominations for the open statewide row office. 

State Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a Republican, appears to have a clear path to the general election since no other Republican has filed to run for the office, while two Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.