Better late than never.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial campaign has been hammering opponent state, Sen. Doug Mastriano, with television ads for months. Shapiro has spent a whopping $34.6 million saturating the airwaves with commercials. On Tuesday came news Mastriano’s campaign was finally going on the air with its own ads.
The Mastriano campaign announced it will be spending $1 million on television commercials and online ads this week. It is Mastriano’s first TV spot of the election cycle, including the GOP primary. He has only spent $419,000 on advertising in the general election so far, according to AdImpact Politics.
“It’s never too late to share your message, but the ad disparity between Shapiro and Mastriano is eye-popping,” said Charlie O’Neill, a Republican political consultant. “The reality is, during the primary, Republicans were warned this would likely happen with a Mastriano nomination, but he prevailed regardless. The ad buy likely won’t do much to move the polls, but hopefully, this shows outside groups Mastriano is beginning to run a traditional campaign and (they will) jump on board with financial help.”
Long-time Republican political consultant Christopher Nicholas said, “It’s a good start for the Mastriano campaign.”
The spots feature 60-second and 30-second versions, which will be distributed on TV and digital platforms.
Mastriano served in the U.S. Army for 30 years before retiring as a colonel. He was elected to the state Senate to represent Franklin County in 2019. The ads highlight Mastriano’s leadership style, including his work to protect his soldiers and his ability to bring unity to his team.
“It’s important to me that I bring everyone along with me and bring everyone hope and opportunity,” Mastriano says in the ad. “I want every Pennsylvanian to know that I will have their back.”
The ad also features a testimonial from Staff sergeant (SSG) Lance Frazee, who served under Mastriano’s command in the Alpha Company, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, from 1995 to 1997.
“We’d be on a run and soldiers were starting to get tired, and he would run all the way around trying to motivate soldiers,” Frazee says in the ad. “He would be back there with a soldier who was falling out [saying] ‘You can do this, you can do this!’ Next thing you know, he was bringing them back to the flock.”
Mastriano’s TV commercials will air in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
How did Mastriano win the GOP nomination without running any TV advertising? He had help from Democrat Shapiro, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads during the Republican primary designed to help nominate Mastriano who, Democrats believed, would be easier to beat. That strategy was employed by several other Democrats around the country this year, who spent millions aiding and abetting the campaigns of Republican candidates perceived to be the most “Trumpy” while portraying Trump supporters as extreme.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Mastriano shortly before the primary, which Mastriano won handily with 44 percent of the vote. But Trump’s support only goes so far. Some old-guard Republicans and never-Trumpers, led by former Bucks County Congressman Jim Greenwood, have not backed Mastriano– even going so far as to support Shapiro.