HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The first Democratic presidential candidates are filing voter signatures to get on Pennsylvania's primary ballot, according to information from the state election office Friday.
The first to file was California billionaire Tom Steyer, submitting signatures on Thursday. On Friday, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg also filed.
The other campaigns have through 5 p.m. Tuesday to file 2,000 signatures of voters who are registered Democrats to get on Pennsylvania's April 28 primary ballot.
Pennsylvania is a late primary state but could be important if the eventual nominee remains in doubt past March, since Pennsylvania has the sixth-most delegates in the Democratic primary.
President Donald Trump's campaign also filed his paperwork Friday to get on the Republican primary ballot.
Pennsylvania is expected to be a premier battleground state in the general election as Democrats vie to bring it back into the win column in November.
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Trump's stunning victory in Pennsylvania in 2016 helped pave his path to the White House, and no Democrat since Harry S. Truman in 1948 has become president without winning the state.
Pennsylvania went Republican in a presidential contest for the first time since 1988 as part of the Democratic Party's “blue wall” of industrial states that Trump flipped, along with Michigan and Wisconsin.
In the Democratic primary, Pennsylvania is seen as friendly territory for former Vice President Joe Biden, who has his campaign headquarters in Philadelphia and long political relationships in Pennsylvania after living for decades just across the border in Wilmington, Delaware, as that state's longtime senator. He is also endorsed by most members of Pennsylvania's 10-member congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
The Steyer-funded NextGen America is active in Pennsylvania, committing millions of dollars to register younger voters in the last several years.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont made several visits to Pennsylvania last year and built a volunteer network in his first campaign in 2016.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg is spending millions of dollars on TV ads and campaign staff and offices in Pennsylvania, and is known for funding anti-gun violence groups in the state and successful advocacy efforts for a soda tax in Philadelphia.
Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timelywriter
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