State Sen. Doug Mastriano won Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday despite a last-ditch effort by some state Republicans to coalesce the field around a different candidate they felt would fare better against state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in November.
Mastriano, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, backed his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Mastriano attended both a QAnon-linked event in Gettysburg and the Washington, D.C., rally that took place before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Mastriano frequently barred media from his campaign events in the final days of the race. Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, and some Republicans expressed concern about Mastriano’s electability in a general election race.
PENNSYLVANIA GOP MAY BE STUCK WITH AN ELECTION SKEPTIC AS GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE
Trump offered his endorsement to Mastriano on Saturday after it became clear he was the front-runner in the race. The move was seen as a hedge, as Trump’s selection for the Senate, television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, was in a tight three-way race with businessman David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who surged in polling in the final days of the race. Barnette and Mastriano ran campaigns in tandem, endorsing one another.
Some state Republicans were concerned Mastriano would hurt Republicans’ chances of winning not just the governor’s mansion but the Senate race and some congressional contests. They attempted to coalesce the field around former Rep. Lou Barletta, arguing he was better positioned to defeat Shapiro in November.
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Although election analysts predict the 2022 midterm election cycle will favor Republicans due to President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and voter concerns over inflation, Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race is far from a safe bet for Republicans. The race has been ranked as Lean Democratic by the Cook Political Report, and Republicans have lost four of the last five gubernatorial races in the Keystone State. Outgoing, term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf is a Democrat.
Shapiro has indicated he would prefer to run against Mastriano, launching an advertising campaign designed to boost him above his other Republican rivals.