As the vote count is underway in the Pennsylvania primary, some Republican Party officials are twisted over the possibility of nominating a GOP gubernatorial candidate, whom many see as too right-wing to win statewide. this autumn.
Doug Mastriano, a retired U.S. Army colonel and state senator since 2019, led the polls while spending a fraction of the money some of the other eight registered Republican primary candidates spent.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. except in Berks County, where a judge ordered an extension due to technical issues with electronic records in several precincts. In Allegheny County, Republicans were asking a judge for an extension due to lack of ballots in some precincts.
Mastriano recently won Donald Trump’s endorsement after working with the former president to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election in the presidential battleground state and helping spread Trump’s lies that voter fraud widespread cost him the victory. Many party officials have urged Trump not to endorse Mastriano, fearing he could win over the moderate voters needed to prevail in a politically divided Pennsylvania.
Democrats, meanwhile, were united behind two-term state attorney general Josh Shapiro. He is uncontested in the primary ballot after winning endorsements from the state party and key allies, including the AFL-CIO, and raising more than $20 million since the start of 2021.
Shapiro helped cement his reputation with a landmark grand jury investigation into child sex abuse cover-ups in Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses and defending Pennsylvania’s 2020 election outcome against court attempts by the canceled by Trump and his allies.
Shapiro has tested positive for COVID-19, his campaign said Tuesday. He had mild symptoms and was self-isolating at home, he added.
Mastriano and Shapiro are vying for the right to succeed Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, whose term is constitutionally limited after he took office in 2015. The winner of the fall general election will likely share power with a Republican-led legislature, where the GOP is rooted majorities have controlled the floors for nearly all of the past three decades.
Mastriano insisted to his supporters that he was not a far-right candidate and that his platforms – including eliminating mail-in voting, expanding gun rights, l prohibiting abortion and abolishing school property taxes – have broad support.
Rather, he says Democrats — including President Joe Biden — are far-left radicals while the Republican “swamp” tries to defeat him. Shapiro’s campaign, meanwhile, is running a TV ad describing Mastriano as extreme and saying that if Mastriano wins, “it’s a victory for what Donald Trump stands for.”
Mastriano represents a strongly Republican senatorial district based in Franklin County, on Pennsylvania’s southern border with Maryland.
Republican voters had to choose from nine names on the gubernatorial ballot, although two – Jake Corman and Melissa Hart – said they had ended their campaigns and endorsed former US Representative Lou Barletta as part of of a final attempt to help defeat. Mastriano.
Barletta has won a number of endorsements from current and former Republican office holders, including members of Congress.
Besides Mastriano, Barletta, Corman and Hart, also on the Republican ballot for governor were: Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner; Charlie Gerow, marketing consultant and longtime conservative activist; Bill McSwain, an attorney who was the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia; Dave White, who runs a large plumbing and HVAC company and is a former Delaware County Councilman; and Nche Zama, a retired heart surgeon who led units at various hospitals in Pennsylvania.
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