Western Pa. businessman eyeing GOP governor run

Paul Mango, a Western Pennsylvania businessman and former paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, is weighing a campaign for the Republican nomination for governor in 2018, according to a well-connected party operative in the state.

He has begun assembling a team of strategists, including GOP media consultant John Brabender and David Urban, a Washington lobbyist who was senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania, said the operative, who is familiar with Mango’s plans but not authorized to speak publicly.

Mango, 57, is a senior partner in the Pittsburgh office of consultant McKinsey & Company who specializes in the economics of the health-care industry. He lives in Pine Township, Allegheny County, and has been an active GOP donor.

State Sen. Scott Wagner (R., York), a conservative insurgent in his first term,  is scheduled to begin a two-day tour of the state Wednesday to announce his candidacy for governor. He is the first GOPer to be open about his interest in the campaign.

If he were to get the nomination, Wagner would go against Gov. Wolf, a fellow businessman from York County who plans to seek a second term. Wagner owns a municipal trash service, Penn Waste, a trucking firm, and other ventures. He is a grassroots conservative who has clashed with the state GOP establishment.

The Great Mentioner of the political rumor mill has several other Republicans also thinking about running for governor, including: former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley (R., Bucks), now head of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia; House Speaker Mike Turzai, (R., Allegheny); House Majority Leader Dave Reed, (R., Indiana); Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre).

Mango graduated from West Point and the Harvard Business School, and is expected to underwrite his own campaign.

During the GOP primaries last year, Mango donated to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, including at least $25,000 to a the Bush-allied superPAC, Right to Rise.

Mango also contributed to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and gave $2,700 to Trump once he clinched the Republican nomination.