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Dissident Republican PAC Raises Money for Dem Shapiro

A group of Republicans led by Craig Snyder, a consultant and the former chief-of-staff for the late Sen. Arlen Specter, is opposing the GOP nominee for governor, state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

And that group, which includes former Bucks County Congressman Jim Greenwood, has now formed a political action committee (PAC), Republicans4Shapiro, to raise money for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The PAC’s website claims Mastriano, a retired Army colonel, is “radical” and “not a Republican.”

Mastriano, an outspoken, pro-Trump candidate did not respond to requests for comment.

Snyder, a one-time U.S. Senate candidate himself, acknowledged he is on the moderate-to-liberal side of the GOP, hardly a surprise given he worked for liberal Republican Arlen Specter — who ended his career as a Democrat. Polls show most Pennsylvania Republicans are sticking with Mastriano rather than following the Republicans4Shapiro lead.

“Of course, the Montgomery County Republican Committee supports the Mastriano-DelRosso ticket,” said MCRC chair Liz Preate Havey. (State Rep. Carrie DelRosso is the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor).

“Shapiro–the top cop in Pennsylvania–watched our cities be looted and rioted and did nothing,” Havey added. “He and his party are more concerned about ‘woke’ policies than they are about providing safe communities and solutions for our hard-working families who are struggling to put food on the table because of the soaring inflation and gas prices.

“Doug Mastriano will lift executive orders that have destroyed businesses in Pennsylvania, rescind job-crushing regulations that killed our energy sector in Pennsylvania, and, in Doug’s words, ‘fight like hell to fully fund the student and give kids everywhere access to fair and equal education.’”

Some area Republicans told the Delaware Valley Journal they support Mastriano, who was also endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Philadelphian Elliott Tessler said he knows some people think Mastriano is “too extreme.” But he added, “I’m going to vote for him.”

Abington resident Carol Gash was surprised to hear about the group of Republicans supporting Shapiro.

“That’s crazy,” she said. “That’s what I think. I don’t understand why they would do that.” Gash supports Mastriano’s pro-life stance. “I stand with him on that so (saying it’s too extreme) doesn’t move me one bit.”

Charlie Gerow, a Republican consultant who ran for governor, said, “These are the same [Republicans] who asked us to vote for Joe Biden. How’s that working out? The simple truth is that there are always people who, for a variety of reasons, support candidates of the opposite party.

“Undoubtedly, Sen. Mastriano will have some Democrats who support him,” said Gerow.

Snyder said, “I’m receiving a steady stream of contacts from Republicans, from rank and file voters to folks who have credentials as party stalwarts for many years, who want to join this effort.”

But he also has abundant critics within the GOP.

“As expected, the pro-Mastriano camp is calling us ‘RINOS’ and lots of unprintable epithets as well,” said Snyder.

John Featherman, a decidedly moderate Republican who ran for mayor of Philadelphia, said, “Republicans4Shapiro is less about endorsing Shapiro and more about stopping Mastriano and his right-wing, extremist views. These moderate Republicans support abortion rights, gay rights, and clean elections. Many Mastriano supporters will label them ‘RINOs’ (Republicans in Name Only) in an attempt to marginalize them. But the PAC has money and it will run commercials that will be damaging to Mastriano’s campaign.”


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BREAKING: Trump Endorses Mastriano for PA Governor

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.

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In PA Governor’s Race, Corman Bows Out, Endorses Barletta

Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who came within a whisker of dropping out of the governor’s race a few weeks ago, formally threw in the towel Thursday and threw his support to former Congressman Lou Barletta.

Corman never rose above single digits in the polls and was going to exit the campaign a few weeks ago, but said former President Donald Trump urged him to stay in the race. Corman had hired Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to work on his campaign, and she even appeared in TV commercials on his behalf.

Corman may also have been under pressure from his fellow Pennsylvania Republicans to throw his support to Barletta as recent polls showed state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) surging. News reports suggested GOP party insiders are seeking a white knight candidate to save the party from Mastriano, whose right-leaning views may not play well in the general election against Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor.

When questioned by Delaware Valley Journal about his participation in a rally partially organized by the QAnon conspiracy theorists, for example, Mastriano abruptly ended the interview.

“Lou Barletta is the man at the right time at the right place for the people of Pennsylvania and I’m happy to be here today to support Lou,” Corman said at a Harrisburg press conference on Thursday. “At a time when Tom Wolf is leaving office with historically low approval ratings when the country and Pennsylvania are rejecting the Biden agenda, this is a time when we’re looking for new leadership.

“The only way that we will not be successful in the fall is if we nominate someone who can’t possibly win,” Corman added.

Barletta thanked Corman.

“I very much appreciate Sen. Jake Corman’s support and the difficult decision he made to withdraw from the race and work together for the benefit of Republicans and all Pennsylvanians,” Barletta said. “It is increasingly evident that Republicans must get behind one candidate who can win the nomination and then actually defeat Josh Shapiro in November. There is no question that as the Republican nominee, I can beat Shapiro because the people of Pennsylvania know me. I am proven, road-tested, and ready to lead the Great Pennsylvania Comeback.”

Some of the other Republican gubernatorial campaigns were quick to push back against Corman’s endorsement of Barletta.

“It’s no surprise that career politician Jake Corman, who implemented the highest gas tax in America, has chosen to endorse fellow career politician Lou Barletta, who is also a steadfast supporter of higher gas taxes,” said James Fitzpatrick, campaign manager for Bill McSwain. “Alliances between career politicians will do nothing but protect the status quo in Harrisburg. It’s time for a conservative outsider to end this nonsense. Bill McSwain will beat Josh Shapiro this fall and conservatives should immediately rally around his candidacy.”

Similarly, Bob Salera, campaign manager for Dave White said, “It should surprise absolutely no one that career politician Jake Corman would endorse career politician Lou Barletta – this is the swamp endorsing the swamp. Both Corman and Barletta have spent more than two decades on the public payroll, racking up massive taxpayer-funded pensions along the way.

“Both Corman and Barletta have repeatedly voted to raise taxes and voted for increased government spending at the taxpayers’ expense. Career politicians flock together, which is exactly why Pennsylvania needs to turn the page and elect an outsider like Dave White who will bring less talk and more action for the people of Pennsylvania to Harrisburg.”

Barletta, who was also the former mayor of Hazelton, is known for his early warnings regarding the effect of the influx of illegal immigrants. In a podcast, Barletta told DVJournal he would bus the illegals being flown to Pennsylvania to Biden’s home state of Delaware if he became governor.

While Trump has not endorsed anyone in the governor’s race, Barletta has touted his ties to the former president.

Barletta has also spoken out about inappropriate books in school libraries, favors expanding the state’s energy sector, and is against vaccine mandates. As a former small business owner, Barletta says he believes he can help bring more businesses and jobs to the commonwealth.


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Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Lou Barletta Picks Up Key Endorsements

Trailing in the polls with the primary just days away, gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta picked up a handful of coveted endorsements Thursday from establishment Republicans. They include those of former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

The former congressman touted the “major announcement” ahead of a news conference in Levittown at the American Legion Post 960, where he was joined by Schweiker and former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, whom he called the “greatest leaders that I know.”

The news came after state Senate leader Jake Corman announced he was dropping out of the nine-candidate race to throw his support behind Barletta.

“I am proven, road-tested, and ready to serve as the 48th governor of Pennsylvania,” Barletta said.

There is concern inside the GOP that state Sen. Mastriano (R-Franklin) is too far right-leaning and would get clobbered by Attorney General Josh  Shapiro (D) in November’s general election. Republicans who share those concerns are rallying around Barletta, who they believe is the Republicans’ best chance at taking back the governor’s mansion.

Schweiker called Barletta the “most competitive candidate,” touting his experience as a mayor in Hazleton and a former lawmaker, equipped to run the Keystone State’s sprawling government.

“He’s got the right perspective,” Schweiker said. “He’s a fighter. He’s got big stones … For this candidate, this isn’t going to be just a once-in-a-while interest. This is going to be an everyday preoccupation. He’ll see to it as an everyday assignment, not an afterthought.”

As mayor of Hazleton, Barletta commanded the national spotlight for his restrictive immigration efforts, which he touched on again during the news conference, promising to eliminate sanctuary cities across Pennsylvania if he is elected governor.

In 2006, he backed an ordinance that would have prevented employers and landlords from hiring and renting to undocumented immigrants, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Litigation ensued and the ordinance took effect, but such stark immigration policies were later embraced during the presidency of Donald Trump, whom Barletta supported early on in 2016.

Saying he had a “history of beating Democrats,” Barletta pledged that if he was elected he would remove Pennsylvania from the multi-state consortium Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on his first day in office. He also pledged to repeal Act 77 (the controversial no-excuse voting law), block biological males who identify as women from participating in women’s sports, push for parents to have more say in their children’s school curriculum, and do away with “toxic critical race theory,” which he believes stokes division between Americans.

“We’re going to teach our children to love each other, not hate each,” Barletta said.

That messaging resonated with other Republicans as Barletta also picked up key endorsements from Santorum and U.S. Rep. Fred Keller. They came not long after media reports that Pennsylvania Republicans had discussed coalescing around a single candidate.

Cawley suggested Barletta is the “only candidate” who can beat Shapiro. He referred to a TV attack ad from Shapiro many believe is actually designed to boost Mastriano among Trump supporters.

Democrats are “literally reaching in and trying to manipulate our votes,” Cawley said. “Well, folks, I have a message for Josh Shapiro. It’s this: Josh, you’re just not that clever, and your shenanigans are just not going to work. Pennsylvania Republican voters are pretty smart, and they are not going to allow you to pick their candidate for governor. … Josh is pretty sure he can beat Doug Mastriano, but he’s absolutely confident he will lose to Lou Barletta.”

Focused on his own campaign, Barletta refused to take shots at Mastriano. However, he stressed the importance of the GOP embodying a unified front heading into next week’s primary, adding the endorsements were another step toward achieving equanimity in the party.

“The best thing for Josh Shapiro is for us to come out fractured,” he said. “I have been a unifier. I haven’t run one negative ad against any of my opponents. This is not in any way a reflection on Doug Mastriano or any of the other candidates. What I’m doing is making my case in the final five days that I am not only the one who can unify our party but I am the only one who can beat Josh Shapiro because of my history.”

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Guy Ciarrocchi Switches Candidacy From Governor to Congress

Republican Guy Ciarrocchi, the affable former president of the Chester County Chamber of Industry, suspended his campaign for governor last month and is now running for Congress. He is in the 6th District GOP primary for the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan in November.

“My message is focused on helping our local businesses, employees and communities. We must empower parents—and end the threats of the FBI attending school board meetings. We must weaken the control of government in our lives, and restore it to us,” said Ciarrocchi.

“Thankfully, that is now the message of most candidates running statewide. Yet, this is not the message here in our community—a message we need to take to Washington,” he said.

The Republican governor’s race remains crowded, with former Congressman Lou Barletta leading in an early poll over state Sen. Doug Mastriano by 4 points.

Delaware County Councilman Dave White attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2022) and snared a meeting with former President Donald Trump. Ric Grenell subsequently endorsed White. Grenell served as Trump’s ambassador to Germany and was acting director of national intelligence.

Another local candidate, Bill McSwain, former U.S. Attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania, received the endorsement of the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a group with $20 million to spend. McSwain subsequently announced $6.2 million in ad buys leading up to the May 17 primary.

And a formidable contender for governor is state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who made a splash with a push to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner over skyrocketing crime rates.

The GOP congressional primary has a crowd of its own. Steven Fanelli, Regina Mauro, Ron Vogel, and Bob Kennedy are running to unseat Houlahan. They all are vying for the Chester County Republican Committee’s endorsement on Thursday.

But Ciarrocchi, a frequent guest on area talk radio shows, says he believes his message and higher profile will carry the day.

A South Philadelphia native now living in Chester County, Ciarrocchi is known in Pennsylvania political circles for his work behind the scenes. He played a key role, for example, in the successful push last year to pass ballot questions limiting the governor’s emergency powers.

Ciarrocchi, who holds degrees from St. Joseph’s University and Villanova Law, worked as a deputy attorney general and served as chief of staff for state Sen. Melissa Hart, U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach, and Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley. He also was executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, regional director for the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign, and regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Ciarrochi and his wife, Chris, have three adult children.

“Everything in government is broken,” he told Delaware Valley Journal. “We feel society is falling apart. We need hope. We need a leader to take this common-sense conservative message in Washington—we are done having Washington dictate to us.”


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McSwain Demands Shapiro Resign as AG, Cites Conflict of Interest

GOP candidate for governor Bill McSwain says state Attorney General Josh Shapiro is “politicizing” his position as part of his candidacy for governor, and he needs to go.

“I am calling on Josh Shapiro to immediately resign from his post as Attorney General,” McSwain said. “During his time in office, Josh Shapiro has taken every opportunity to politicize his position and prioritize personal advancement over upholding and enforcing the law. Now, as a candidate for Governor, he has made it clear that he plans to cast aside his responsibilities as AG in favor of the campaign trail. This is unacceptable – and furthermore, it is immoral.”

McSwain, who served as U.S. Attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania until January, has made crime a central part of his bid for the GOP nomination. He’s pointed to growing violent crime in Philadelphia, where there have been 400 homicides in 2021, an all-time record, among other instances of crime around the state.

“While Shapiro rides around the state in a campaign bus making jokes about sandwiches and cheese sticks, violent crimes are going unpunished and unacknowledged,” said McSwain. “Only someone completely lacking in integrity would continue acting as an absentee AG while citizens suffer. Pennsylvania deserves an Attorney General who will put public safety first, and who will not demean the office with political motivations. Josh Shapiro must resign.”

Shapiro previously stated that he does not intend to resign from his post as Attorney General while campaigning and at an event in Harrisburg said he has “too much work to do in the AG’s office, so I’m going to keep doing that work.”

A spokesman fired back, saying in the last two weeks Shapiro: “announced that his office has convicted a doctor for dangerous prescription practices; announced that a Fayette County priest has pleaded no contest to child sexual abuse; convened a discussion with local law enforcement leaders in southwestern Pennsylvania to talk about what can be done to address the police officer shortage, reiterating his call for the Legislature to allocate $28.5 million to address the issue;  arrested a man for stealing from intellectually disabled individuals to receive up to $90,000 in unemployment benefits. announced that his office worked with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office to arrest a man who illegally purchased more than a dozen ghost guns.”

However, McSwain said that instead of addressing the onslaught of violence, Shapiro has been traveling in his campaign bus, “proudly promoting his mini-fridge stocked full of the children’s snack ‘Uncrustables’ and encouraging people to follow him on TikTok.”

Thus far, Shapiro is the only Democrat in the race. The Republican field currently includes former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale, Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry President Guy Ciarrocchi, political strategist Charlie Gerow, surgeon Nche Zama, state Sen. Dan Laughlin and Pittsburgh attorney Jason Richey.



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