Just four days before the primary, President Donald Trump announced his pick for Pennsylvania governor: Sen. Doug Mastriano.
Mastriano (R-Franklin) is already ahead by 10 points in the latest Trafalgar Group poll from last Monday.
“There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump wrote. “He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it.”
“I’m honored to receive the endorsement from President Trump, today,” Mastriano said. “But the honor is not for me. It’s for the millions of hard-working Pennsylvanians who want their individual liberties restored, power returned to the people, and for their elected leaders to fulfill the America First — and Pennsylvania First — agenda.
“Our grassroots supporters across Pennsylvania know that Donald Trump and I will always have their backs. We are all committed to ending the era of party bosses, dark money interest groups, and flawed elections. It’s time for Pennsylvanians to unite, with the support of President Trump, and focus on defeating Josh Shapiro so we can revive our economy, achieve energy independence, lower taxes, restore law and order, and reform our failing education system,” Mastriano said.
Mastriano, 58, a conservative firebrand who served for 30 years in the Army and retired as a colonel, also holds a doctorate history and four master’s degrees.
In recent days, the Republican Party establishment has put out the call to unite around former Congressman Lou Barletta, who is also running for governor. State Sen. Jake Corman dropped out of the race and endorsed Barletta on Thursday, as did former Gov. Mark Schweiker and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
Barletta issued this statement after Trump endorsed Mastriano: “Throughout this campaign I have proved that I’m the best Republican to unite the Republican Party and defeat Josh Shapiro, and I will continue unifying our grassroots conservatives towards our shared goal. I will continue making the case to the people that I am the only candidate who can unite the party and bring victory in November. I look forward to having President Trump’s endorsement Wednesday morning.”
In the same vein, a spokeswoman for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, said, “Bill McSwain is a conservative outsider and U.S. Marine with a lifelong history of public service. He is the only candidate who can beat Josh Shapiro, and the clear choice for voters who want to see a Republican victory in November.”
McSwain, a former U.S. Attorney, received a stinging un-endorsement from Trump a few weeks ago over his lack of investigation into irregularities that Trump believes cost him the 2020 election. McSwain blamed his boss, U.S. Attorney Bill Barr. However, in his capacity as a state senator, Mastriano has called for a Pennsylvania audit and traveled to Arizona to observe what officials did there.
Party regulars fear that Mastriano will not be able to win in the fall against Democrat Josh Shapiro, and indeed, the Shapiro campaign has been running commercials touting Mastriano.