If God wants state Sen. Doug Mastriano to run for U.S. Senate, He hasn’t told the leadership of the Republican party.
Last week, Politico reported Mastriano — crushed by nearly 15 points in last year’s governor’s race against then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro – is considering a challenge to Democrat Bob Casey in 2024. He’s “praying” about it, Mastriano told the magazine. After God, his wife, Rebbie, will have the final word he said.
But National Republican Senate Committee Chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is in charge of the group’s candidate recruitment, already has a word or two on the subject: No way.
“We need somebody who can win a primary and a general election. His last race demonstrated he couldn’t win a general,” Daines tweeted.
He is not alone. “Mastriano running for any statewide office would be another big gift to Pennsylvania Democrats,” said Christopher Nicholas with Eagle Consulting Group.
Mastriano ran as a solidly MAGA candidate with hardline views on social issues like abortion in the relatively purple state of Pennsylvania. He lost the money race, raising just $7 million compared to Shapiro’s $73 million.
Pennsylvania Republicans told DVJournal they were not interested in a repeat performance.
Republican insiders are already looking to former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick in 2024.
“I think [Mastriano] has little to no chance of defeating David McCormick in a primary,” said Jeff Jubelirer with Bellevue Communications. “McCormick came within a whisker of defeating Dr. Oz in the GOP U.S. Senate primary in 2022, and many observers believed he would have fared better, and perhaps even beat, John Fetterman in the general election.
Charlie Gerow, CEO of Quantum Communications who also ran in the GOP gubernatorial primary, said Mastriano would have to give up his state Senate seat or run for both offices at once.
“I think his constituents would not be happy with that,” said Gerow. “A lot of people are talking about running for the U.S. Senate. He took a lot of time away (from his state Senate job) to run for governor.”
And, Republicans say, defeating an incumbent like Casey won’t be easy.
“Perhaps if Donald Trump injects himself again in the Senate race, it could benefit Mastriano a little [in the primary], but it didn’t help him make a dent when he ran against Josh Shapiro for governor,” Jubelirer said.
“I think the Republicans would prefer a stronger candidate, especially after taking it on the chin statewide in 2022.”
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