HARISBURG, Pennsylvania – Doug Mastriana won Tuesday’s Republican candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania, bypassing eight other candidates and the party establishment, which has tried to withdraw his nomination for fear he is too extreme for the president to win the election.
Mastrian, a retired U.S. Army colonel and state senator since 2019 approved by former President Donald Trump, will meet with Democrat Josh Shapiro in the November election.
Mastrian, who was once considered a marginal candidate, spent almost nothing on TV commercials and mostly avoided interviews with independent news outlets.
Instead, he contacted far-right Republican voters through speeches on conservative broadcasters, a tireless ground campaign littered with his signs and supporting conspiracy theories, including Trump’s baseless allegations that Democrats stole his 2020 presidential election.
He also stressed his military background, Christian beliefs and tough conservative stance on abortion and weapons.
Mastrian and Shapiro are fighting for the right to run for governor of the Democratic Party of Tom Wolf, whose term is constitutionally limited after taking office in 2015. The winner of the fall general election is likely to share power with the Republican-led legislature, where the Republican-majority majority has controlled gender for almost all of the past three decades.
Mastriana was well on his way to victory when Trump backed him on Saturday. In recent days of the campaign, party officials have been trying to consolidate support around former U.S. MP Lou Barletta, a U.S. Senate candidate selected by Trump, in a distant attempt to defeat Mastrian.
Mastriana called it a “behind-the-scenes deal.”
Mastriana, 58, represents the Senate County, located in the Conservative County of Franklin on Pennsylvania’s southern border with Maryland.
Mastriana received Trump’s approval after working with the former president to undo his loss in the 2020 election in the state of the presidential battle. This brought him a summons from the House of Representatives Committee to Investigate the Capitol Revolt on January 6, 2021.
He later arranged bus trips to the U.S. Capitol for the January 6 Stop Theft rally, where he was spotted in footage of his wife passing through breached barricades set up by Capitol police.
Trump backed Mastrian over protests by many party officials who feared he could not win the moderate voters needed to win in politically divided Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Democrats have united for Shapiro, the two-time elected attorney general. Shapiro failed to get into the primary vote after ending support for the state and its main allies, including the AFL-CIO, and has raised more than $ 20 million since early 2021.
Shapiro helped solidify his reputation through a grand jury’s iconic investigation into covering up sexual abuse of children in Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses and protecting Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results from attempts in court to overturn them by Trump and his allies.
Shapiro gave a positive test for COVID-19, his company said Tuesday. He was experiencing mild symptoms and was in solitary confinement at home, the report said.
Mastriana urged supporters that he was not a far-right candidate and that his platforms – including the abolition of postal voting, the expansion of gun rights, the ban on abortion and the evasion of property taxes in schools – were widely supported.
Rather, he says Democrats – including President Joe Biden – are far-left radicals, while the Republican “swamp” is trying to defeat him. Meanwhile, Shapiro’s campaign shows a TV commercial in which Mastriana is portrayed as extreme and says that if Mastriana wins, “it’s a victory for what Donald Trump stands for.”
Republican voters had to choose from nine names on the gubernatorial ballot, although two – Jake Corman and Melissa Hart – said they had stopped their campaign and supported Barletta as part of a last-ditch attempt to help defeat Mastrian.
Barletta has received a number of approvals from current and former Republicans, including members of Congress.
In addition to Mastrian, Barletta, Corman, and Hart, the Republican ballot for governor included: Joe Gale, Montgomery County Commissioner; Charlie Gerov, marketing consultant and longtime conservative activist; Bill McSwayne, a lawyer who was appointed by Trump as a U.S. attorney in Philadelphia; Dave White, who runs a large plumbing and ventilation firm, and a former Delaware County board member; and Nche Zama, a retired cardiac surgeon who ran departments at various Pennsylvania hospitals.