CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The Republicans who want to be governor, and there are a lot of them, will crowd the stage at Dickinson College Wednesday night for the first debate of the 2022 election cycle.

The stage is set with 13 podiums positioned for Republicans who want to be Governor of Pennsylvania.

“It’s gonna be very difficult with all candidates with one minute to answer some pretty complex questions but I think cutting through the clutter is something we’ll be able to do tonight,” Candidate Charlie Gerow said.

Former Congressman Lou Barletta is not taking part as he is waiting for candidates to actually qualify to be on the ballot. The rest of the huge field is, and for lesser-known competitors like Harrisburg Political Consultant Charlie Gerow a chance to make a good impression. “My strategy is to talk common sense with the people of Pennsylvania in short clips so they can understand what I’m saying, who I am, and take my messages and repeat it to their friends,” Gerow said.

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“It allows the candidates to introduce themselves to a broader audience than they’ve been talking to the past six or 12 months,” Chris Nicholas said. He is a Republican political consultant and one of the debate organizers. Finding 13 podiums was a challenge but otherwise, he likes a large field. “To me, this is just normal, healthy competition. The more the merrier right now.”

“We’ll see more of these extreme and out-of-touch agendas on display,” Pa. Democratic Party Spokesperson, Marisa Nahem said. Democrats don’t need a primary debate because there’s just one candidate, Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Dems insist the size of the field doesn’t matter. The message does. “Many far-right candidates are just competing with each other to embrace far-right litmus tests to earn Trump support of the far-right.”

A Republican baker’s dozen will try to break through knowing some of their competitors are better known, others better funded. “There are certainly candidates with more money and I can’t deny that but ask Michael Bloomberg how that all worked out,” Gerow said.

All 13 candidates at the podiums hope to make a lasting impression. The question is how long will this many people last in the race for governor.