by Dwight D. Weidman May 9, 2022
I have an upcoming column in the Chambersburg, PA, Public Opinion that looks at the upcoming Pennsylvania primary races, but there is one item that I feel needs attention now, and that’s the Democrat interference in the Republican primary process.
With the Pennsylvania primary election only eight days away, the Republican races for governor and US Senate are still pretty tight. In the race for the gubernatorial nomination, the last couple of polls have shown State Senator Doug Mastriano with a small lead in a field of nine Republican candidates. The polls have also shown that Mastriano has consistently held onto a plurality of around 20% in the race, which is probably his ceiling, made up of his hardcore fringe base. In a smaller field, he would be trailing other candidates who are currently committing fratricide by splitting up the vote of more mainstream conservative voters. Unlike the US Senate primary race, there has been no endorsement from Donald Trump, but he has affected the race in other ways, such as encouraging Republican Senate leader Jake Corman to stay in the fray, although he’s polling as low as 1% and also by trashing former US Attorney Bill McSwain, one of the leading Republican contenders.
The Democrats seem to want Mastriano to be the Republican candidate to face their guy, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, in November. Knowing that Mastriano would be by far the weakest candidate to run against Shapiro in the “purple” state of Pennsylvania, the Dems have taken the nearly unprecedented step of spending a ton of money on TV ads and glossy mailers directed at REPUBLICAN voters, stating that “A vote for Doug Mastriano is a vote for Donald Trump”, and “Doug Mastriano: Trump’s Best Friend in Pennsylvania”. Democrats know that Trump is very popular among PA Republicans, and that these ads will only bolster Mastriano’s chances of winning the May 17th primary, giving Shapiro an easy-to-beat opponent in November.
Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro is going to be a formidable opponent for any Republican in November, but if GOP voters serve up Doug Mastriano as their candidate, Shapiro may as well start measuring the drapes in the Governor’s mansion.
Republicans have started to take note of this impending disaster, but it may be too late. With at least five Republican candidates with no earthly chance of winning the primary stubbornly staying in the race, the party is on track to serve up a deeply-flawed and compromised candidate to oppose Shapiro.
Republican candidate Bill McSwain has and ad out today that states, “A vote for Mastriano is a vote for Josh Shapiro”. He is correct. A Mastriano win on May 17th will ensure Pennsylvania has a Democrat governor for four more years and will also hurt the down ballot Republicans, as in the race for United States Senate.