The Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary was still too close to call this morning, but the race for the governor’s mansion seems to be set. With a comfortable margin of more than twenty points, state senator Doug Mastriano will be the nominee facing Democrat Josh Shapiro in November. Mastriano was in a tight race until he received a last-minute endorsement from Donald Trump which appeared to put him over the top. You can see how the media plans to frame this race from the early coverage at NBC News. They blared the headline “Far-right election denier Mastriano wins GOP race for governor.” From now until November, you can expect to hear Donald Trump’s name mentioned in most coverage of this race at least as often as the candidate’s.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a far-right Republican who built a large following seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, is the GOP nominee for governor, NBC News projected Tuesday.
After 10:30 p.m. ET, Mastriano led his rivals by more than 20 points. He’ll face Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general, who ran unopposed, in November.
Should Mastriano, who received former President Donald Trump’s last-minute backing Saturday, prevail in the general election, he would be able to appoint a secretary of state to oversee elections. He has pledged that his choice would “reset” the state’s voter rolls so everyone would “have to re-register.”
As we discussed on Monday, the race is far from being in the bag for the Republicans. I was watching CNN’s coverage this morning and they described Democrat Josh Shapiro’s campaign as “doing cartwheels” today. Shapiro ran unopposed in the Democrats’ primary and appears to have the unified support of his party. By contrast, Pennsylvania Republicans were largely split when it came to Mastriano’s bid.
That’s being reflected in the “betting market” that election analysts love to quote. Only one month ago, when given the choice of Shapiro facing a generic Republican, Shapiro was losing by a 64-36 margin. As of this morning, those numbers have effectively flipped upside down, with Shapiro on top 63-37. Democrats are betting heavily that even in a red wave year, Trump’s brand and Mastriano’s claims of election malfeasance in 2020 will poison the well and keep many potential GOP and right-leaning voters on the sideline, if not flipping sides and voting for the Democrat.
Abortion laws will also likely be a factor in this race and you can expect Shapiro’s campaign to feature that subject heavily in his advertising this summer. State Republicans are already talking about passing new abortion restrictions after the Supreme Court ruling in June. As governor, Mastriano would support such measures. If Shapiro wins, conservatives will have to be able to overcome his veto.
One interesting sidenote came from the Democrats’ Senate primary. One of the clearest winners of the night was Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. He outpaced his competitor Conor Lamb by a nearly two-to-one margin, cruising to an easy victory. The might not have been all that remarkable were it not for the fact that Fetterman suffered a stroke on Friday. While voters were heading to the polls yesterday, the candidate was in the hospital having a pacemaker installed. But it appears that Pennsylvania Democrats weren’t put off by his health situation and stuck with him anyway.