Capitol Beat

Joe Torsella backs Ryan Bizzarro in state treasurer race

Bizzarro picked up a big endorsement from a former state treasurer on Monday.

Former Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella (left) endorsed Democratic state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (right) on Monday.

Former Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella (left) endorsed Democratic state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (right) on Monday. Commonwealth Media Services

Democratic state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro has picked up the support of a former state treasurer as he seeks to secure the Democratic nomination and take on Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity, a Republican, in the fall. 

Bizzarro, who is currently running against substance abuse and mental health counselor and program manager Erin McClelland for the Democratic nod, received an endorsement Monday from former Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, a Democrat who served in the office from 2017 to 2021. 

Torsella, in a statement, said Bizzarro has “spent the majority of his life helping others.” 

“And having known and worked with him for a decade now, I’ve had a chance to see firsthand his commitment, his values and his effectiveness,” the former treasurer said. “I’ve seen his tireless dedication to the people and communities he represents, and his fierce determination to make state government work for everyone. I’ve seen how hard he’s fought to give workers the retirement security they deserve, to bring accountability and integrity to all levels of government, and to invest in our common future.  

“That’s why I’m proud to support him for State Treasurer,” Torsella added. “I know he will serve all Pennsylvanians, as he always has, with integrity, energy, and grit.”

During his tenure in office, Torsella oversaw transparency upgrades to the Pennsylvania Treasury website, as well as the launch of the Pennsylvania ABLE Savings program, which provides tax-free savings accounts for people with qualifying disabilities. 

Torsella lost his bid for reelection in 2020, falling to Garrity, who defeated him 48.68% to 47.91% – a differential of approximately 52,000 votes. 

Bizzarro called the endorsement an honor and said he hopes to build on Torsella’s accomplishments if elected. “Treasurer Torsella led the charge to bring transparency and modernity to the office,” Bizzarro said in a statement. “I am focused on helping all Pennsylvanians by building upon the work of Joe Torsella.”

While Pennsylvania’s primary election contest is set for April 23, Bizzarro and Garrity have already traded verbal barbs ahead of a potential clash in November. 

Bizzarro has sought to link Garrity to efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, citing her attendance at a rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021 – just a day before the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Garrity has responded to some of Bizzarro’s attacks, including in a Jan. 16 post to X calling on Bizzarro to focus less on politics and more on his prospective policies for the office.

“To my opponent, instead of insults, why don’t you tell us how you’d run the Treasury?” Garrity asked in the post.

Garrity has made the return of unclaimed property a major focus of her time as treasurer. In July 2023, she announced that the Pennsylvania Treasury returned $273.7 million in unclaimed property to Pennsylvania residents in fiscal year 2022-23, which her office said is the highest yearly figure on record.

Garrity is running unopposed for the Republican nomination and was endorsed by the Pennsylvania Republican Party in January.