John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
January 17, 2024
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie), one of two candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for state Treasurer, said in a press release Wednesday that incumbent Republican Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity should be “barred from public office,” and compared her to Benedict Arnold.
Bizzarro made the comments following Garrity’s social media post endorsing former President Donald Trump. She’s the first statewide candidate to endorse the former president’s 2024 bid for the White House, calling Trump the “only one man I trust to get the job done” in the post.
“You actively undermined our democracy and worked to overturn a valid election by throwing out Pennsylvanian’s [sic] votes,” Bizzarro said in a press release from his campaign.
“Then you led a rally and spread lies that instigated a bloody attack on the U.S. Capitol and nearly brought our country to its knees,” he added. “Anybody who instigates an insurrection should be barred from public office. Period. Full-stop.”
Garrity was not present in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021 during the attack on the US Capitol. She spoke at a rally in Harrisburg on Jan. 5, 2021 telling a crowd on the Capitol steps there to “question the integrity” of the election.
Her campaign did not reply to a request for comment about Bizzarro’s statement that she should be “barred from public office.”
Garrity’s campaign has previously pointed to comments she made on social media on Jan. 6, 2021 saying “violence is never the answer.”
Bizzarro campaign spokesperson Bud Jackson said in an email to the Capital Star that “It should be common sense that if you work to undermine our democracy and spread lies that instigate a violent attack on our government you should not be serving in it.”
Garrity’s campaign sent out a separate press release on Wednesday, criticizing a Bizzarro campaign staffer for referring to Garrity as “insurrectionist Barbie” in a social media post. The Garrity campaign is calling for an apology, calling the post a “sexist online insult.”
“Bizzarro’s campaign is using sexist tropes and misogynistic language that focuses on physical appearance and robs women of their dignity,” said state Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery), an adviser to the Garrity campaign.
“Ryan Bizzarro not only has failed to tell us what he would do as Treasurer, he hasn’t given any indication that he understands what the Treasurer does,” Pennycuick said, adding that “attacks like these are just one of the reasons Pennsylvanians have lost faith in their elected officials.”
Bizzarro said in a statement emailed to the Capital-Star on Thursday that he was “proud of my record of being an advocate for women, defending their right to make their own health care choices, and their right to have their votes count.” He added that “if Stacy Garrity wants to know my treasury plans, all she needs to do is look at my website.”
Erin McClelland, a former small business owner from Allegheny County, is also seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Treasurer.
In an interview with the Capital-Star on Wednesday, she blasted both campaigns for the “entire interaction” on social media.
“I think that this is absolutely ridiculous, both of them,” McClelland said. She added that none of the back-and-forth between the two has anything to do with the office.
She accused Garrity of throwing a “hissy fit on social media because somebody called her Barbie, not because they called her an insurrectionist.”
McClellan added that Bizzarro has adopted Jan. 6 as “his own personal Groundhog Day” that “he is intended to make us relive over and over so he doesn’t have to talk about the Treasury.”
“I’m running because I actually have an interest in doing the job and running the Treasury,” she said. “I think these two people only just want to be Treasurer.”
When asked if Garrity should be “barred from public office,” McClelland said it was up to the courts and, ultimately, the voters.
“I personally would never vote for somebody that would do something like that,” McClelland said, referring to Garrity questioning the 2020 election results. “But it’s really up to the voters and what their values are.”
McClelland said she wasn’t “at all surprised” by Garrity’s endorsement of Trump, saying there’s an “intense loyalty there.”
Pennsylvania’s primary date is April 23.
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