Next year, in addition to a bevy of high-profile races at the federal level, Pennsylvania voters will have the opportunity – and responsibility – of picking the state’s next auditor general.
The auditor general, as codified in state law, is tasked with auditing state finances, accounts, as well as other government programs, and the auditor general is sometimes referred to as Pennsylvania’s top fiscal watchdog. Next year, Auditor General Timothy DeFoor will look to convince voters to elect him for another four years, while Democrats will make their case for why change is needed in the office.
Party leaders have begun debating and endorsing candidates in races for statewide office, with the Democratic Party issuing a historic endorsement this weekend.
Ahead of next year’s race, City & State has put together an early list of all the candidates running for auditor general – and their endorsements – in Pennsylvania in 2024.
Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor, a Dauphin County Republican, announced his intent to run for reelection at the end of November – where the incumbent is expected to have the support and endorsements from members of his party. DeFoor, who served as Dauphin County Controller from 2016 to 2021, became the first person of color elected to a statewide row office in Pennsylvania in 2020. According to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, DeFoor said in November that he has “delivered on my promise to do the job as intended, free of political and partisan influence.” He also said he has streamlined auditing processes through new technology. The Pennsylvania Republican Party is expected to endorse DeFoor and other candidates virtually in statewide races ahead of its winter meeting in February.
Democratic state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta announced his candidacy for auditor general in March, calling for new leadership in the office and outlining a three-point plan for how he would lead the agency. Kenyatta said at a press conference earlier this year that the office could do more to monitor instances of wage theft and worker misclassification, and also promised to reestablish a school audit bureau that was shuttered during DeFoor’s first term. “We must take back the seat as Democrats, and I think we can,” Kenyatta said when announcing his campaign. “And I think I’m the guy to do it.”
Receiving more than 90% of the state party committee’s vote, Kenyatta picked up a historic endorsement from the Democratic Party this past weekend. He is the first openly gay Black man endorsed by the Democratic Party for a statewide office.
Endorsements: Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, American Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, House Speaker Joanna McClinton and several local, state and congressional lawmakers.
Berks County state Rep. Mark Rozzi has his sights set on the auditor general’s race as he prepares to exit the General Assembly. Rozzi, who briefly served as speaker of the Pennsylvania House in January and February of this year, announced his bid for the office in October, framing himself as a centrist who could work with both parties. “It’s a really good fit for me because I consider myself a Blue Dog Democrat, a centrist that can work with both sides of the aisle – and I think that’s what you need in an auditor general,” Rozzi told PennLive in October.
Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley is the latest Democrat to enter the auditor general race. Pinsley, a small business owner who previously spent time as a South Whitehall Township Commissioner, recently won a reelection race for county controller in November 2022. However, Pinsley said in his December announcement that his background makes him uniquely suited to win in a general election: “I’m a veteran, small business owner, and incumbent controller in Pennsylvania’s 10th-largest county with a real record of results,” Pinsley said. “Only I can stand on that stage and make the case against DeFoor.”
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