HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Jay Paterno, the son of late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, told party officials Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
Roger Lund, chairman of the south-central Democratic Party caucus, and Gerald Lawrence, chairman of the southeast party caucus, said Paterno called them and told them that he is circulating petitions to get on the May 20 primary ballot.
Paterno did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment after a campaign website went live Thursday morning. The website made it plain he would run for lieutenant governor, but it stopped working by Thursday afternoon.
Paterno has long been active in Democratic Party politics, campaigning for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Party officials had expected he might run for Congress in north-central Pennsylvania, but Lund said Paterno told him that he believed he could serve Pennsylvania better by staying in the state.
The Democratic field in the lieutenant governor race is big, with six declared candidates, but none has Paterno’s name recognition. The deadline to submit enough signatures to get on the ballot is March 11.
Candidates for lieutenant governor and governor run separately in the primary, but party nominees run together in the general election.
The elder Paterno died in January 2012, two months after being fired by university trustees as the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal exploded. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is seeking re-election in November, and Paterno’s candidacy could serve as a reminder to Penn State fans who have been critical of his role in the elder Paterno’s firing.
Scott Paterno, another son of the Hall of Fame coach, ran for Congress in 2004 as a Republican but lost handily to the Democratic incumbent, Tim Holden.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)