Pro-Trump business owner Bobby Lawrence is running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania for the seat currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.
The Waynesboro-based commercial glass company owner is trying to leverage the pro-Trump forces that carried the President over the goal line in Pennsylvania — many of them blue-collar independents and even Democrats — to establish himself as the most viable Republican challenger for Casey in 2018.
“I’m running to support the president’s agenda. That’s the biggest reason,” Lawrence tells Big League Politics.
Lawrence says that seven Republicans have filed FEC paperwork to run in the primary. Real estate developer Jeff Bartos is getting the most mainstream press attention but is already coming under attacks from the state’s Democrats for alleged failures in his business career. Congressman Lou Barletta might also soon enter the race.
Lawrence, who served on Trump’s inauguration committee and informally volunteered for Trump around the state during the campaign, said top Republicans laughed at him due to his working-class vocational school background.
“The attorney for the GOP made a comment,” Lawrence said, referring to a moment at a recent fundraiser. “They looked at me and laughed while they were pouring their glass of wine, ‘There’s a lot of hot air in the room.’ That only strengthened my resolve.”
Lawrence has chipped in $10,000 of his own money to the campaign and will soon add another $30,000. He is focusing on issues that resonate with Trump voters.
“Restore some mode of state sovereignty and stop federal overreach, and get President Trump some re-reinforcements in there. He’s draining the swamp and the swamp is fighting back. I don’t see any other candidate that is going to stand with President Trump. I don’t see anybody really talking about that agenda or mentioning it on their website. I’m about supporting the president’s America First Agenda,” Lawrence told Big League Politics.
“Second Amendment. There are more than a million licensed deer hunters in the state of Pennsylvania. With Bob Casey changing his position on the Second Amendment, that’s a pretty big constituency that Bob Casey has alienated himself from,” Lawrence said. “Taxes are a big issue. They’re too high, they’re too complicated. The folks I’m talking to didn’t like the corporate bailout. Border wall. Domestic energy. Build the Wall. The El Chapo Act is something that I fully support…I support Jeff Sessions’ plan to end funding for sanctuary cities. Kate’s Law.”
“The war on coal…clean coal for Pennsylvania coal miners. There’s a huge reserve of natural gas in the northern part of the state. Trump is a proponent for exporting natural gas,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence, a Common Core opponent, said that he wants to encourage vocational school graduates like himself, because “We’re not going to get a college-bound student with a liberal arts degree out there to build your house or re-wire your electricity.”
Lawrence especially objects to Casey comparing Trump to Nixon. “He’s not behaving like a senator, he’s thinking about his re-election race.”
“Since I started talking about my [campaign], I had a treasurer for another Republican campaign contact me. They started out saying their candidate was more than likely going to win most of the support in southwestern Pennsylvania, which is my area. I said, well good luck to you. The next day, this person messaged me and said, I’m already committed to my candidate, but I like how your site reads, we should stay in touch.”
Lawrence has already made his political bones fighting the liberal national popular vote push around the country, and he thinks he has the grassroots support needed to win a crowded primary.
Don’t count him out.