And another win for former President Donald Trump! His recent score came after Pennsylvania GOP overwhelmingly voted for Trump endorsed State Senator Doug Mastriano to be their next governor.
Mastriano is certainly the gubernatorial candidate who leans the farthest to the right. He garnered the victory by beating former congressman Lou Barletta and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain and getting 44 percent of the Republican vote.
Trump’s endorsement of Mastriano came at the last minute, just three days before the primary. This candidate could be a huge help to Trump in PA if the former president decides to run again for the presidency in 2024. If Mastriano could win against Democrat Josh Shapiro in November, he could appoint a new secretary of state that would oversee Pennsylvania’s elections.
“I get to appoint the secretary of state, who’s delegated from me the power to make the corrections to elections, the voting logs and everything. I could decertify every machine in the state with the stroke of a pen via my secretary of state,” Mastriano said in a recent radio interview.
The new GOP candidate for governor has been a strong ally of Trump, even talking about the 2020 “stolen” election. He has attempted to get both legal and legislative plans in place to overturn the Biden victory. Mastriano was with other GOP leaders who signed a Texas amicus brief that asked the Supreme Court to throw out the 2020 electoral results from several states, including Pennsylvania.
Trump said, “Mastriano has a very big base. He’s been very loyal on election integrity and a lot of different things.” And the former president called election integrity in PA the biggest problem. Trump said, “I think it’s a very corrupt election process that takes place in Pennsylvania, and a lot of people do I’d like to tell you every vote counts, and it should be that way. But the more we win by, the harder it is for them to cheat. Let’s put it that way.”
For a long time, Trump was skeptical about Mastriano, even with such intense loyalty. But with Mastriano’s lead in the polls recently, the former president changed his mind. This last-minute shift angered some influential lawmakers and party officials.
Former GOP Representative Tom Marino said, “He’s alienated a lot of people on these endorsements. I guess the old saying in politics is that it’s better to be kingmaker than king. He just looks at who’s ahead in the polls and goes with that. I’m very disappointed. Pissed off, to tell the truth.” Marino supported Lou Barletta, another loyal ally of Trump. He was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump for the 2016 presidential election.
Marino and others who lead the Party in PA do not believe that Mastriano has the power to win in November. But Trump was focused on playing to his base because some of them are not happy with his endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Senate primary.
Mastriano is a retired Army colonel who supports expanding gun rights and sponsored a bill to ban abortion once a heartbeat is found. He was a primary voice against COVID-19 restrictions.
He has created a fervor in his campaign by using war rhetoric. On Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast, Mastriano said, “Our biggest problem is going to be these feckless RINO-type Republicans here that will not allow us to have a fighter as governor. But we’re going to beat them and they’re going to lose power, and they’re going to be put to shame.”
Sounds like a solid chip off the Trump block.