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Attempting to get a jump on the competition, Harrisburg attorney and former Rick Santorum staffer Marc Scaringi is throwing his hat in the ring to challenge Sen. Bob Casey in 2012. Scaringi has launched a campaign committee and a Facebook page to promote his run, and is the first Republican to officially challenge Casey.

ScaringiAccording to his online bio at his lawfirm, Scaringi graduated from Georgetown University in 1993 and worked on Santorum's campaign and in his D.C. office from 1994-96. He then worked as an aide to Mike Fisher's campaign for Attorney General and then served as executive assistant to Fisher from 1997-2001 while getting studying for law degree from Widener University (outside Philly). After Fisher's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2001, Scaringi entered private practice and in 2005 founded the lawfirm Scaringi & Scaringi with his wife, Melanie, where he practices business and corporate law.

In a video announcement on his Facebook page, Scaringi sounds many of the same notes that Republican candidates and the tea party promoted this year, saying: "I want to restore this country to the principles established by our Founding Fathers. I want less government, not more. I want lower, not higher taxes. Individual rights for all, not special rights for a priveleged few. Personal responsibility and self-reliance, not government handouts and government benefits."

Other Republicans discussed as possible contenders for the first-term Casey include U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Jim Gerlach, state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, state Sen. Jake Corman and Pittsburgh businessman and media voice Glen Meakem.

(h/t Colby Itkowitz)

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