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Penn grad and former secretary of Navy Kenneth Braithwaite.

After serving as Navy secretary during the Trump administration, Penn graduate Kenneth Braithwaite is considering a 2022 Senate run in Pennsylvania. 

The seat, which retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is leaving open, will be incredibly important for both parties to win in the midterms, with the Senate currently split 50-50. Braithwaite earned his Master of Government Administration from Penn’s Fels Institute of Government in 1995. He served as Navy secretary from May 2020 until the end of fellow Penn graduate Donald Trump's term.

Braithwaite graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1984 and served in the Navy both in active duty and in the Navy Reserve before serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Norway from 2018 to 2020, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Braithwaite previously worked as a top advisor to former Sen. Arlen Specter (D- Pa.), who previously occupied Toomey's seat in the Senate. Specter was widely known as the face of moderate Republicans in Pennsylvania before he switched parties to become a Democrat, POLITICO reported.

Braithwaite's allies told the Inquirer that he is the ideal candidate because of his ability to bridge the Republican party's moderate and pro-Trump wings. 

POLITICO reported that, despite serving in the former president's administration, he may not be viewed as a “full-blown Trump loyalist” and instead may be moderate enough to triumph in a general election. 

Across the aisle, Wharton professor Eric Orts has also launched an exploratory committee to run as a Democratic candidate for Toomey's seat. Orts, a self-proclaimed life-long Democrat, lists the economy, the environment, racial justice, and support for science as key issues on his website.

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