A group of Republicans and former Republicans is backing Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor, instead of GOP nominee state Sen. Doug Mastriano. They say they find Mastriano’s views too extreme.
Former Bucks County Congressman Jim Greenwood called Mastriano “unacceptable” and cited a list of reasons why he could not support his party’s nominee including that Mastriano attended the Jan. 6 rally, is pro-life, supports President Donald Trump’s position that the 2020 election was stolen, is against gun control, and is against gay marriage.
“He’s just not the kind of Republican that used to lead our party, people like Dick Thornburgh, who was a terrific governor of Pennsylvania, and (the late senators) Arlen Specter and John Heinz. I’m concerned,” said Greenwood.
“He’s a Trump acolyte and I’m a very strong never-Trumper,” he said.
Greenwood raised $2 million to support President Joe Biden in 2020, escorted Biden when he visited Bucks County, and wrote op-eds endorsing the Democrat when he was running for president.
As for Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for Senate, Greenwood said he will “probably not” support him.
“I watched him turn himself into something he wasn’t in order to gain Trump’s endorsement,” said Greenwood.
Lita Cohen, a former state representative from Lower Merion, told Delaware Valley Journal she has not been a registered Republican since she retired in 2002. She supports Shapiro because she believes he is “brilliant” and ethical.
“He’s unusual for someone active in politics that is his moral and ethical standards are above and beyond reproach…He doesn’t deviate from what is right and proper,” she said.
“We have an extraordinary human being, who’s a lawyer and could be making a fortune in private practice but instead he’s chosen public service jobs,” said Cohen.
Republican consultant Craig Snyder, who was Specter’s chief of staff, is leading the group of Republicans who back Shapiro.
He noted Mastriano received “just over 40 percent of the slightly more than one-third of registered Republicans who voted in the primary. In other words, a minority of a minority. He won fair and square under the rules of the current system, but that system clearly favors extremists and therefore the majority of both Republicans and Pennsylvanians do not have to walk off the cliff with this nominee.”
Asked whether he supports Oz, Snyder said, “I’m not personally endorsing Oz, but given that the Democrats also nominated someone I see as an extremist, with the candidacy of (Lt. Gov. John) Fetterman, I think lots of folks are going to split their tickets and vote Shapiro/Oz.”
And Snyder said, “Absolutely not,” when asked if he would support another run by Trump. “A second Trump term poses an unprecedented threat to American democracy,” he said.
Mastriano did not respond to a request for comment. However, he may have the last laugh, having snared Trump’s endorsement.
Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette, who ran for Senate and campaigned with Mastriano, weighed in.
“These are the same people in the Republican Party who are demanding that conservatives, who find Mehmet Oz an unconscionable choice, shut up, line up, hold their nose, and vote for Oz. They are hypocrites, to put it nicely,” said Barnette.
“Many Pennsylvanians have lived through two of the worst years of their lives under the totalitarian rule of (Gov.) Tom Wolf,” Barnette added. “Now, with Mastriano in a statistical tie for first place, we have a very real opportunity to get a leader in office who believes in preserving individual freedom, energy independence, and cheap gas. And now, like clockwork, RINO Republicans are fighting against him.”
The list of Republicans released by the Shapiro campaign includes Charlie Dent, former congressman, Lehigh County; Sandra Schultz Newman, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice from Montgomery County; Denny O’Brien, Former Speaker of the House, Philadelphia County; Dave Steil, former state representative, former Lt. Gov. Robert Jubelirer of Blair County; Morgan Boyd, chairman, Lawrence County Board of Commissioners; and Ken Davis, former Montgomery County GOP chairman.