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McSwain Pushes Gas Tax Cut as Area Prices Hit an All-Time High

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, lagging in the latest polls, is hoping his plan to slash gas taxes will fuel a campaign surge.

At a gas station in Lower Merion last week, McSwain touted his plan to cut the state gas tax in half.

If he is elected governor, the former U.S. Attorney promised to permanently cut the state gasoline tax by 50 percent, saying that temporary solutions are not enough. He also promised to restore “fiscal responsibility” by cutting wasteful government spending and repealing unneeded regulations.

For too long, hard-working families across the commonwealth have had to grapple with uncontrolled government spending and a crippling gas tax,” said McSwain. “This is unacceptable. Why are we as a state punishing our own citizens who are working hard to support their families? As governor, I will permanently reduce the state gas tax by 50 percent and restore a business and family-friendly culture so that our economy can thrive.”

McSwain was introduced by local businessman Bill Heeney, owner of Instant Courier, Inc.

Heeney said, “Pennsylvania businesses have suffered under eight years of the intrusive and controlling policies of Tom Wolf. It’s time for a governor who will support and empower business owners, not stifle them. That governor will be Bill McSwain. Bill is a leader who will stand up in defense of working families and who will implement the pro-business and pro-energy policies necessary to get our economy back on track. There is no one better to lead our commonwealth into a new era of prosperity than Bill McSwain.”

He held a press conference last week to talk about his plan to reduce Pennsylvania’s highest in the country gas tax by 50 percent.

And Delaware Valley gas prices have reached an all-time high. An AAA report released Monday said Pennsylvania’s gas average is $4.50 and it is unchanged overnight and up 15 cents in the last week. And the five-county Philadelphia area gas average is $4.64 Monday, up a penny overnight and up 27 cents in the last week.

McSwain’s campaign faced headwinds after President Donald Trump issued a stinging denouncement last month. The former president is angry the then-U.S. Attorney did not do more to pursue claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

As of this writing, Trump has not endorsed a candidate among the nine Republicans running to be the gubernatorial nominee. Only Attorney General Josh Shapiro, an Abington native, is running on the Democratic side.

McSwain, however, did garner the endorsement of the prestigious Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Commonwealth Partners is a free-market advocacy group with a statewide reputation on the political right.

McSwain, 52, is a West Chester native. He graduated from Yale University in 1991, then spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry officer and commanded a platoon. After his service, McSwain attended Harvard Law School.

McSwain and his wife, Stephanie, have four children.

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Mastriano Meltdown: GOP Gov. Candidate Abruptly Ends Podcast Interview Over Questions About QAnon-Linked Rally

GOP gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Doug Mastriano abruptly ended a podcast interview with Delaware Valley Journal, angry over questions about his participation in a rally linked to QAnon conspiracy advocates. The Franklin, Pa. Republican also objected to questions about his participation in the infamous January 6 protest that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol. More than 750 people have been arrested for their role in the assault on the Capitol building.

“I resent the fact that you want to castigate anyone who went down to Washington D.C. on January 6th as some kind of enemy of the public. That is dangerous. You’re talking like an East German there,” Mastriano said to podcast host Michael Graham.

Mastriano touted his strong grassroots support during the interview, and political observers agree he has motivated hardcore Trump supporters in the race. The question is whether he can expand his appeal to more moderate voters in a general election against Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the likely Democratic nominee. How, for example, how does he plan to handle questions raised about his participation in the “Patriots Arise for God, Family and Country” rally last month, organized in part by believers in the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory?

Rather than answer the question, Mastriano instead attacked the “left-wing media.”

“I want you to call out Josh Shapiro and scrutinize who’s in his audience or which groups he’s speaking with, or do you give him a free pass? That’s what I always see on the left. And I’m sick and tired of it,” Mastriano said. “If you’re gonna cast judgments and aspersions on people that I associate with, then by God, you better see what Josh Shapiro — I know [Lt. Governor John] Fetterman’s been in a room with some really radical people, especially with his bus tour around the state on recreational use of marijuana. They get a free pass every time. And so we’ve got to tighten this up.”

News Editor Linda Stein attempted to ask Mastriano about his pledge to do something about crime in Philadelphia, but he again brought the conversation back to questions about his participation in the controversial rally. After bemoaning the high crime in the city where the Constitution was crafted, Mastriano demanded, “How dare you castigate me for gathering with people?

“I don’t like the tone of this whole interview because it is so unfair. I hope you’ll do scrutiny on [Josh Shapiro], or are you just too lazy?

“‘Oh, you have conspiracy theorists there.’ Oh, Ok. Maybe,” Mastriano added. “So what does that matter? Do you try and discredit me?”

When the conversation turned to his general election plans for handling questions about his allegations the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump — a claim that has not been substantiated by the available evidence — Mastriano ended the interview.

Delaware Valley Journal has interviewed many of the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates from both sides of the aisle and hosted a debate among Republicans in the Senate race. No other candidate has walked out on an interview or debate.

The podcast audio is below. Readers are invited to listen for themselves. Please send your comments/reaction to [email protected].