Pennsylvania state lawmaker starts campaign for US Senate

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A state lawmaker from suburban Pittsburgh is the first Republican to say he’ll challenge Democrat Bob Casey for U.S. Senate in 2018.

Rep. Rick Saccone said Thursday that he’ll formally declare his candidacy later this month and has filed candidacy paperwork with the state.

The 59-year-old Saccone was an Air Force officer and volunteered as a civilian for the Army in Iraq in 2004-05. He also holds a doctorate in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. First elected in 2010, Saccone is considered one of the state House’s most conservative members and is a staunch gun rights advocate. He’s made waves at times with legislation he sponsored, for instance to declare 2012 the “Year of the Bible” in Pennsylvania.

The 56-year-old Casey will seek a third six-year term.

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