SUNBURY — A Republican U.S. Senate candidate spent part of the third day of his statewide tour of Pennsylvania in the Valley including a stop at an iconic restaurant a nonprofit he is part of provided a grant to early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Candidate Jeff Bartos, 48, a real estate investor from Berks County, stopped by the Squeeze-In, on Market Street in Sunbury on Wednesday to visit with owner Bob Snyder. Last year, the Squeeze-In was one of the first establishments to receive $3,000 from the PA 30 Day Fund to help keep the lights on when the pandemic struck, Bartos said.

Bartos is one of the founders of the PA 30 Day Fund, which raised money for businesses that struggled with shutdown orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. Eligible businesses need to employ between three and 30 people, be owned by a Pennsylvania resident and in operation in the state for at least one year. The fund has raised $3.6 million and has helped 1,000 businesses, Bartos said.

“This is absolutely an amazing place,” Bartos said while eating a hot dog Wednesday. “I am so happy I got the chance to stop here.”

Bartos, who announced he was running for Senate in March, said he made his decision after talking to various small businesses across the state and seeing how they were struggling after having to close their doors to inside services. He previously ran for Lieutenant Governor.

Snyder said he was thrilled to have Bartos at his establishment. “He helped us through tough times,” he said. “It is truly an honor to have him here with us.”

Bartos arrived in a custom tour bus. He said he will be driving across the state meeting with constituents leading up to the election next year. Wednesday was the third day of the trip and also included a stop for breakfast with supporters at the Pine Barn Inn in Danville.

Sunbury Councilman Ric Reichner also joined Bartos on the stop. He said he was excited to have the candidate in Sunbury.

“It’s always nice to see when people want to stop by the city and meet people,” he said.

The Senate seat is open after two-term Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey announced last year that he would not seek a third term.

Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is also running for the seat as well as Democrats State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia, Dr. Val Arkoosh, a Montgomery County anesthesiologist, state Sen. Sharif Street of Philadelphia, John McGuigan, a town councilman in Montgomery County, Alexandria Khalil, a borough councilwoman in Montgomery County and Philadelphia emergency room physician Dr. Kevin Baumlin.

Joining Bartos on the Republican side are Montgomery County resident Kathy Barnette, a Fox News commentator, author and veteran, Carla Sands, a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark under former President Donald Trump, Sean Parnell, an Army Veteran and Sean Gale, Everett Stern, James Hayes and Martin Rosenfield round out the field to date.

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