A meteorologist and reporter for local television stations is hoping to challenge U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker in this spring's Republican primary.
Drew Anderson may be familiar to Lancaster County viewers as a former WGAL News 8 meteorologist who spent the last three years at WPMT Fox 43.
The 29-year-old Penn State alumnus has reported stories everywhere from the Manheim Auto Auction to the Gap Town Clock Tower, from snowstorms outside of Franklin & Marshall College to a hot air balloon over Bird-in-Hand.
He's also an educator who teaches some meteorology-related classes at Penn State Lehigh Valley and West Chester University, and substitute-teaches at some middle schools and high schools.
But now he's taking a step back — he quit his Fox 43 job two weeks ago — for what he hopes will be a campaign to get an “everyday person" representing Lancaster County and southern York in Congress.
“We need more real people in Washington," said Anderson, who lives in West Chester but said he would consider moving to Lancaster if he wins.
Anderson joins Bill Neff, a locksmith from York County, as the only known Republicans who are seeking a spot on the May 15 primary ballot to challenge Smucker, a former state senator from West Lampeter Township who is seeking his second term in 2018.
The candidates have a March 20 deadline to gather 1,000 signatures from Republican voters in the newly drawn 11th Congressional District.
If Anderson gets his signatures — and he said there is “no question" he will — he said his name would appear on the ballot as “Meteorologist Drew Anderson" because he changed his legal name to include his job description last year.
“I'm the same on-air as I am off-air," he said.
Anderson did not provide any specific critiques of Smucker, who has the endorsement of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County. His own priorities in Congress, Anderson said, would be supporting schools, small businesses, farmers and science.
“I want to be the loudest and the biggest voice for science in Washington," Anderson said.
He also said he would not raise money in the primary against Smucker, who raised more than $700,000 in 2017 and had about $200,000 left at the beginning of January.
The winner of the Republican primary will likely face Democrat Jess King, a Lancaster nonprofit director who has the endorsement of the Lancaster County Democratic Committee.
Other Democrats, including 2016 nominee Christina Hartman, opted not to run in the Republican-heavy district after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued new congressional boundaries last month.