(WHTM) – Pennsylvania State Representative and former Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi is running for Auditor General.
Rozzi, who announced exclusively on This Week in Pennsylvania with Dennis Owens, said he’s running for Auditor General “to continue the good governance that (he) has been doing in his six terms in office and bring that from the legislative level into a statewide office.”
Republican Timothy DeFoor, a former Special Investigator with the Commonwealth and former Dauphin County Controller, has served as Auditor General since 2020 and is seeking re-election.
Rozzi pointed to his career in business as experience needed to serve as Auditor General. He also alleged that DeFoor receives significant campaign contributions from a group that supports charter schools and that he “can’t be bought by lobbyists or special interest groups.”
Rozzi also called for the ability to audit charter schools.
As the balance of power in Pennsylvania’s State House sat on a knife’s edge in early 2023, Rozzi was selected to serve as a consensus Speaker of the House who pledged to serve as an Independent.
A survivor of sexual assault, Rozzi had pledged not to push any legislation through the House until a bill was moved to give survivors an opportunity to sue their abuser through a constitutional amendment.
Ultimately, the sexual abuse amendment never passed and Rozzi resigned as speaker in February, paving the way for Joanna McClinton to take hold of the speaker’s gavel.
“I felt like I was a parent at one point when I had to send Republicans back to their room and Democrats back to their room and said, ‘Until you agree on something, don’t come out of your rooms. And don’t bother me I’m going out to talk to people of Pennsylvania to hear what they have to say,’” Rozzi told abc27 in March.
During his campaign announcement on Friday, Rozzi said he hopes to see legislation on childhood abuse survivors move forward this month, and if not early next year.
Rozzi teased a run for Auditor General in July while promoting a bill restricting lawmakers from running for more than one seat at once. He says he will not run for his House seat in 2024 while running for Auditor General.
Rozzi says that bill remains in committee but he continues to push for it.
“I think when I see politicians (run for two offices at once), to me, that is the most selfish thing that they can do,” said Rozzi on Friday.
Rozzi pointed to the cost of special elections after multiple races were held in the last calendar year to fill vacant seats in the legislature as a reason why he won’t run for his House seat.
“I’m all in for Auditor General, I’m not going to run for two seats here,” he said.
Rozzi, who has represented Berks County since 2013, enters a Democratic primary race against State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta from Philadelphia, who finished third in the 2022 primary for U.S. Senate.
When asked about Rozzi entering the race, Kenyatta said he’s focused on a general election against DeFoor, saying leaders across the state believe he “is the person who can win this race and actually deliver a government that works for working people.”
Rozzi said in response that the only endorsement he wants is from Pennsylvania voters.
“I believe I’m a better candidate that represents Pennsylvania better,” said Rozzi, who referred to himself as a “centrist”.
Unlike Rozzi, Kenyatta has said he plans to run for his House seat in 2024.
“I trust voters to make decisions about who they want to represent them more than I trust insiders in Harrisburg,” said Kenyatta in response to Rozzi’s “vote for one” bill earlier this year. “Let voters vote.”
The date of Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary remains up in the air as state lawmakers debate between several March and April dates.