Republican City Councilman Frank Rizzo’s aspirations to be lieutenant governor will be put to the test this weekend as GOP regional caucuses get going in the western end of the state.
Rizzo has made it plain that he wants the nomination, holding out his potential appeal to Republican and Democratic voters not just in Philadelphia but also in surrounding suburbs. His wider appeal would be at least partly due to the name he shares with his late father, mayor of Philadelphia from 1972 to 1980, who still enjoys a cultlike following among some former constituents.
“The name breaks the ice very quickly,” said Rizzo, 66, who was first elected to his at-large seat in 1995.
Rizzo will hit the Republicans’ Southwest Caucus on Saturday in Latrobe, followed that day by the Northwest Caucus in Clarion. Caucuses across the state will show what kind of clout Rizzo — and about a dozen other contenders, including Philadelphian Joe Watkins — can bring to the table. Presumptive gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett would traditionally have final say.
Not yet an official candidate, Rizzo will have to resign from Council if he begins circulating nominating petitions in February.
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