Joe Paterno's Son Will Run For Statewide Office in Pennsylvania

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 20 2014 2:44 PM

Joe Paterno's Son Will Run For Statewide Office in Pennsylvania

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Paterno, a former quarterbacks coach for Penn State, will run for Democratic Lt. Gov. of PA in the spring primaries.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The late Joe Paterno's son is about to test just how far his famous last name will take him in a state where his father was a football legend before his legacy was forever tainted by the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports today that Jay Paterno, who worked as an assistant coach for his father, will run for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor as a Democrat this year.

Campaign details themselves are rather light: Paterno has simply announced that he plans to run and will further detail his platform during Friday’s presser, according to those the paper spoke with. But here's more on Paterno's current lawsuit against the NCAA, a topic that will no doubt come up while he's on the campaign trail later this year:

Paterno is among several plaintiffs suing the NCAA over sanctions that the association imposed on Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal in 2011. Paterno left the school's football program in January 2012, about two months after authorities arrested Sandusky and Penn State trustees dismissed Joe Paterno as head football coach.
Jay Paterno has claimed the NCAA's later handling of the scandal, including official statements related to Penn State, undermined his job prospects. A Centre County jury convicted Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, of abusing 10 boys over 15 years, often on Penn State property.
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For those who need it, a refresher: Sandusky was tried and convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys during a 15-year span while he served as an assistant coach at Penn State. Joe Paterno, though not directly involved in the crimes, was fired by the school for his failure to bring them to the attention of authorities. His son, Jay–who was the quarterbacks coach–quit soon after.

As Politico explains, the candidates run separately in the primary, but party nominees for lieutenant governor and governor run together in the general election. Paterno enters a six-person field for the Democratic nomination for the lieutenant governor post. His name-recognition alone is likely to make him a legitimate contender out of the gate.

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.