Jeff Bartos Announces Bid for US Senate


Philadelphia-area real estate developer Jeff Bartos began his campaign for U.S. Senate on March 8 with a video announcement and a colorful message.

“I’m running for U.S. Senate to get s— done,” Bartos tweeted alongside his three-minute video, “The Drive,” in which he laces up work boots, bumps elbows with masked Pennsylvanians and cruises down small-town main drags in a Chevy as he makes his pitch.

Bartos is running for the seat held by Sen. Pat Toomey, the Senate Banking Committee’s ranking member who is retiring at the end of his term.

Bartos, who cites South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former GOP congressman Jack Kemp as models for his political career, voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020.

“As we said in our video, President Trump represented, for millions of Pennsylvanians, someone fighting for them, and these are forgotten women and men who really felt for generations that elected officials in Washington had forgotten them,” Bartos said. “The Trump administration made a point of focusing on smaller towns and smaller communities and taking rallies to these smaller communities. And so, you’ve seen through our work over the last 10 months that we are also focused on Main Street, and I look forward to continuing that good work.”

The work he references is the Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit he started in the early days of the pandemic. Since then, the effort has given hundreds of loans to small businesses.

The combination of a self-starting work ethic, statewide thinking and assistance for small businesses represents Bartos’ pitch to voters. He believes that government power has shifted too many advantages to the largest companies at the expense of small business owners. In this work with the 30 Day Fund, Bartos heard tale after tale of the “crushing burden that’s been put on the smallest of our employers living out their hopes and dreams.”

“And I thought, as I had more and more of these conversations, ‘This is a fight that can’t stop with the end of the pandemic,’” Bartos said.

His primary goals as a senator, he said, would be to fight for his oft-invoked Main Street, whether by “beating China” or “restoring the American dream.” Prior to the pandemic, the American economy was the best it’s been in our lifetime, he said, and he’d like to continue the policies that led to that success.

Bartos is also interested in continuing the Trump administration’s policies regarding Israel and the Middle East, citing the decisions to withdraw from the Iran deal, to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

“Those policies all benefited not only the United States, but many, many of our allies around the world, and I’ll be making the case that those policies had us on the right track prior to the pandemic,” Bartos said.

This isn’t Bartos’ first experience with electoral politics.

In 2018, he emerged from a crowded primary as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. Bartos and his gubernatorial running mate, Scott Wagner, were defeated by Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the general election, but the experience taught him about appealing to voters across the state. It also helped him find a friend in Fetterman. a potential opponent in the general election for the Senate seat. It was Fetterman who told Bartos about the Tree of Life of shooting before it had been made public. Today, the two remain close.

Bartos, a Lower Merion resident and father of two college-age daughters, is from Reading. His wife, Sheryl, is from Allentown.

Bartos is a graduate of Emory University and the University of Virginia Law School, and worked at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP for several years after graduation.

In 2001, he moved to Toll Brothers, where he’d remain until 2010, rising to division president. From 2010-2014, he was the CEO of Mark Group, an energy efficiency business. He is president of ESB Holdings, a real estate development company.

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