Election denier Doug Mastriano wins Pennsylvania Republican primary for governor

Mastriano benefited from a last-minute Trump endorsement and late polling surge.

Eric Garcia
Wednesday 18 May 2022 02:52
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Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano, one of the biggest proponents of the “Big Lie”, won the Republican nomination for governor in the Keystone State. He will face off against state Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the November general election.

The Associated Press called Mr Mastriano’s race on Tuesday evening.

Mr Mastriano began to lead in the polls late in the contest and earned former president Donald Trump’s endorsement, specifically for spouting lies about the 2020 presidential election.

“There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Mr Trump said in a statement Saturday. “He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it.”

After the 2020 election, Mr Mastriano was one of 10 Republican state senators to call for delaying certification of the Electoral College and also said that the state legislature in Pennsylvania had the “sole power” to nominate electors.

Similarly, he was also in Washington on 6 January 2021, the day of the Capitol riot. Video footage showed that he was at the Capitol right before the breach, WHYY reported, and showed him walking past a police barricade.

Mr Mastriano benefited from a split primary as former US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bill McSwain and former Representative Lou Barletta refused to drop out to consolidate a formidable opposition to Mr Mastriano’s campaign.

Pennsylvania’s current Governor Tom Wolf is a Democrat who is term-limited. Other Republicans have worried that Mr Mastriano could risk the party’s chances of retaking the governorship in a year that ostensibly should be good for Republicans given President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings.

Mr Mastriano’s victory is a sign how deeply Mr Trump’s repeated lies about the 2020 presidential election being stolen have permeated among Republican voters. Meanwhile, both of the frontrunners in Pennsylvania’s Senate race, Kathy Barnette and former television host Dr Mehmet Oz have both rehashed Mr Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election. But Ms Barnette has been more explicit about saying the election was stolen while Dr Oz said in an interview “I want to be careful” about using the word “rigged.”

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