The Cook Political Report changed its rating of the Pennsylvania governor’s race from “toss up” to “lean Democratic” after far-right state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) easily won his party’s primary Tuesday night.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Mastriano more than doubled the vote share of his next-closest competitor, former congressman Lou Barletta.
“Pennsylvania Republicans had been wringing their hands for weeks, worried that if state Sen. Doug Mastriano — the chief disciple perpetuating former President Trump’s false stolen election narrative in the state –— won the primary for governor, they’d lose a prime opportunity in an incredibly favorable climate to flip the open governor’s race back to their control,” wrote the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter, Jessica Taylor and David Wasserman. “That political nightmare became a reality on Tuesday night, as Mastriano easily won the nomination over other high-spending rivals by 25 points.”
Shapiro wasted no time underscoring the extreme beliefs of his newly minted opponent.
“Pennsylvanians need a Governor who can meet this moment, but Republicans just nominated a dangerous extremist who wants to take away our freedoms,” he said in a statement Tuesday night. “The contrast in this election could not be clearer – Doug Mastriano wants to ban abortion without exceptions, restrict the right to vote and spread conspiracy theories, and destroy the union way of life for hard working Pennsylvanians.”
Mastriano made his name on efforts to overturn the 2020 election, holding hearings and lobbying the legislature to conduct an “audit.” He organized buses to travel to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, and recently spoke at a conference put on by QAnon activists and permeated by conspiracy theories, old and new. He has openly embraced the Christian nationalist movement at his back.
Shaprio will position himself in contrast, theming his campaign on “freedom” — to have an abortion and other matters of bodily autonomy, to vote and to work with dignity.
Mastriano will paint himself as a warrior sent by God to restore the country to its former glory.
“We are going to have the last word,” Mastriano told an election-night crowd, wearing a tie emblazoned with: “With God all things are possible.”
“Put on your seatbelts,” he said, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News. “We are about to take our state back.”