Democrat Josh Shapiro defeats Trump loyalist Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania governor’s race

Race marked key opportunity for Donald Trump to install election denier as top state executive

John Bowden
Washington DC
Wednesday 09 November 2022 05:31 GMT
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Josh Shapiro has defeated Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania governor’s race, which was called after midnight on Wednesday.

Mr Mastriano’s defeat is another blow to what is largely understood to be Donald Trump’s pre-2024 agenda: Installing supporters of his 2020 election conspiracies in top state positions with influence or direct oversight over electoral procedure around the country.

His opponent, Mr Shapiro, held comfortable polling leads throughout the campaign cycle. The race was called as Mr Shapiro was in the lead with 55 per cent of the vote to Mr Mastriano’s 43 per cent share.

Mr Shapiro’s victory is dampened somewhat by the fact that he will be governing alonside Republican majorities in the state legislature, but his win means, crucially, that a supporter of Mr Trump’s election conspiracies will not be in a position to influence procedure in one of America’s biggest swing states.

Pennsylvania was the site of two major races this cycle, the other being the battle for the Senate seat held by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. The state’s current lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, faced off against celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz in Tuesday’s election. That race captured the nation’s attention thanks to the importance of the seat pickup for Democrats as well as the political discourse that erupted over Mr Fetterman’s recovery from a stroke suffered days before he won the Democratic primary.

The Rust Belt state represents a serious target for Mr Trump in 2024 (presuming he runs for office again) given that it is one of a handful of states that his 2020 opponent Joe Biden captured after it was won by the Republican in 2016.

But in recent years it has trended in the opposite direction as neighboring Ohio. Mr Shapiro’s race never looked truly competitive from a polling standpoint, and Mr Mastriano failed to generate a statewide appeal that extended too far beyond his conservative base. He lacked the name recognition and star power of his fellow Republican Dr Mehmet Oz, and also lacked the vulnerable opponent whom Dr Oz found himself facing after Democrat John Fetterman’s stroke recovery became a top issue in the race.

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