About 200 enthusiastic supporters packed Gatsby’s Bar and Restaurant in Aston Wednesday to listen to state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Before addressing the crowd, Mastriano shook hands and posed for pictures, along with his wife, Rebecca. Dave White, a Delaware County businessman and former Delaware County councilman who also ran for governor, introduced Mastriano.
“We came out of a contentious primary but in that primary, you had nine people that had nine great ideas and the people spoke,” said White, who has traveled the state supporting Mastriano. “And this is the time to come together. If you believe in economic development and tapping our resources and making Pennsylvania the energy capital of the United States, join this team. If you believe in school choice…we need Gov. Mastriano.”
Mastriano spoke for about 40 minutes, touching on various issues and getting in a few jabs at his Democrat opponent Attorney General Josh Shapiro as well as the press, which has not been kind to him. Every few sentences, the crowd cheered, applauded, or called out encouragement.
Mastriano mentioned that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came to rally with him last Friday.
“The irony of coming to a state where our governor got it all wrong,” said Mastriano. “Ron DeSantis is showing us the way ahead for Pennsylvania. Our goal is to make Pennsylvania the Florida of the north.”
“My opponent spent $12 million and has nothing to show for it. He had no primary…He’s going to lose bad.”
“Sadly, Josh’s message is one of darkness and hate and division,” said Mastriano. “Of name calling, which Democrats are good at. And media, he has a six-year record as attorney general, won’t you even talk about that? No, because you like him.”
“He can’t run on his record because he’s a failure,” said Mastriano. “He’s been the attorney general for six years and crime has gone up 37 percent on his watch. Now Pennsylvania is the 12th highest in homicide, the senior law enforcement official…This guy’s incompetent. We ought to throw the bum out.”
“On his watch, we’re the 8th highest in overdoses,” he said. “The fourth highest in Fentanyl. Sex trafficking is through the roof. He looks the other way with illegals.”
Instead of fighting crime, Shapiro sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, he said.
“Yes, he’s running lots of ads,” said Mastriano. “If anyone believes those ads I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, cheap. As my Afghan friends said, ‘best friend price.’”
Mastriano served in the Army for 30 years and retired as a colonel before winning a seat in the state Senate to represent Franklin County. He also holds a Ph.D. in history.
He called the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan “disgusting,” and asked for a show of hands for Afghan veterans. “That just tore my heart out and I’m sure it’s a similar feeling to what the Vietnam veterans saw in 1975 with the fall of Saigon. Sheer incompetence. That incompetence emboldened tyrants like Putin. And I will note that Vladimir Putin behaved under Donald Trump, so we need old 45 to come rolling back.”
Trump endorsed Mastriano and plans to rally with him and Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 3.
The Shapiro campaign has attacked Mastriano’s pro-life stand and, with the demise of Roe v. Wade, it has become an election issue.
About 20 demonstrators with pro-choice signs stood outside Gatsby’s before the Mastriano event and listened to remarks by Delaware County Party Chairwoman Colleen Guiney and state Sen. John Kane (D-Delaware/Chester).
“We believe that women have bodily autonomy,” she said, saying that they stand with Shapiro on women’s rights. Mastriano “has said, ‘Abortion should end right now and we should have no exceptions.’ That 11-year-old child has been victimized by a family member and is pregnant, she should carry that child to term. We don’t believe that is his choice. That is the choice of the child and their family and their doctor…I don’t believe doctors should do and I don’t believe women should go to jail for having healthcare in the United States of America.”
Kane said, “Yo, Doug Mastriano, you come into Delco with your no-comment express press conference. Delaware County does not want an extremist like you here.”
Asked by Delaware Valley Journal why Shapiro funded commercials that boosted Mastriano’s campaign during the GOP primary if he is such a ‘dangerous extremist,’ Kane said, “He wanted to make sure everybody knows what Doug Mastriano is all about. Doug Mastriano…when you’re taking rights away from women when you’re still talking about the election being stolen. When I got sworn in, I got sworn in with an awful lot of Republicans at the same time. Nobody ended up saying their election was stolen.”
During the rally, Mastriano introduced his wife, Rebecca, to talk about women’s rights.
“We believe in a women’s right to be born,” she said, and listed other rights such as safety, children’s education, and a “right to access baby formula and affordable groceries.”
“We believe in a woman’s right to raise a child where the government is enforcing the law and prosecuting crime,” she said. “We believe in a woman’s right to live in a nation with a secure border. We believe in a woman’s right to the First Amendment and after all, we are Pennsylvanians, we believe in a woman’s right to the Second Amendment. We believe in a woman’s right to compete in sports not dominated by men.”
“They don’t want to talk about inflation,” said Mastriano. “It’s so bad that even Jimmy Carter is looking decent now.”
“They don’t want to talk about the cities being burned to the ground just down the road from here, the Summer of Love,” he said.
Mastriano promised he would end Pennsylvania as a “sanctuary state.”
“When those ghost flights come into our airports, I’ll have the beautiful Pennsylvania State Police meeting those flights and…escorting those buses down to Joe Biden’s house in Delaware.” He praised law enforcement and mentioned that he’d gotten the state FOP’s endorsement.
Mastriano also promised to take the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that is driving up the cost of electricity and to bring energy jobs back to Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania, we are truly at a crossroads between (Gov.) Wolf and Shapiro tyranny or under Mastriano freedom and liberty. I don’t know about you, but I chose freedom and liberty,” he said.
Several supporters told DVJournal why they support Mastriano.
“Our country is falling apart. I need to stick up for my children. I need to be able to tell my children I fought for our country,” said Maureen Willis of Landenberg, a former Democrat.
And Drexel Hill resident Richard Pruett said, “I support Doug, just like Donald Trump is supporting Doug. He believes in freedom. He believes in American first, energy independence. I love the fact he fought for us in battle, that he’s a colonel and on Day One he’ll open up the pipeline.”