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Donald Trump supports Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania. governor’s race

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Former President Donald Trump endorsed State Senator Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania’s Republican gubernatorial primary, announcing his support for the frontrunner days before Tuesday’s election.

The endorsement could very well put him over the top and deal a crippling blow to some establishment Republicans’ 11th-hour efforts to arrest Mastriano, a far-right and stalwart ally of Trump who they say will lose the general elections in November.

There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more or fought harder for electoral integrity than State Sen. Doug Mastriano, Trump said in a statement Saturday morning. He’s a fighter like few others, and he’s been with me from the start, and now I have an obligation to be with him.

The endorsement comes as Trump’s chosen nominee in the U.S. Senate race from Pennsylvania, famed doctor Mehmet Oz is locked in a stalemate with two rivals.

Mastriano, on the other hand, has led by double digits in recent polls in the nine-candidate race.

I am honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement today, Mastriano said in a statement. But the honor is not mine. This is for the millions of hardworking Pennsylvanians who want their individual freedoms restored, power returned to the people, and for their elected leaders to fulfill the America First and Pennsylvania First agenda.

READ MORE: Doug Mastriano embodies Christian nationalist movement as he runs for governor: We have the power of God

Trump made his pick in the gubernatorial race days after some established Pennsylvania Republicans launched a last-minute effort to stop Mastriano, who they say will lose badly in November to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro. the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Mastriano was a leading figure in efforts to overturn President Joe Bidens’ 2020 victory in Pennsylvania.

He brought buses to Washington for the January 6, 2021, Stop the Steal rally that led pro-Trump crowds to storm the Capitol, and continued to spread baseless conspiracy theories about the election. He said he left before things got violent and was subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the attack.

Trump just endorsed one of the nation’s most extreme and dangerous GOP candidates for the PA governorship, Shapiro said on Twitter on Saturday. He wants to ban abortion and undermine elections. He attends the insurrection of 1/6 and crosses the police barricades.

Trump’s statement on Saturday reiterated his lies about a stolen election. He said Mastriano exposed the deception, corruption and outright theft of the 2020 presidential election, and would do something about it.

It will also fight violent crime, strengthen our borders, protect life, defend our Second Amendment under siege, and help our military and vets, Trump said.

Mastriano’s main rivals in the race are former U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, former Delaware County Councilman Dave White and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain.

Barletta had benefited the most in recent days from GOP efforts to coalesce around a single alternative to Mastriano, as many current and former elected officials endorsed him. This included state Senate leader Jake Corman, who dropped out of the gubernatorial race and asked his supporters to back Barletta instead.

But that was not enough to sway Trump.

Throughout this campaign, I have proven that I am the best Republican to unite the Republican Party and defeat Josh Shapiro, and I will continue to unite our grassroots conservatives toward our common goal, Barletta said in a statement Saturday after the Trump’s announcement. I will continue to tell the people that I am the only candidate who can unite the party and achieve victory in November. I look forward to getting President Trump’s endorsement on Wednesday morning.

Democrats have tried to boost Mastrianos’ candidacy because they seem to see him as the weaker candidate against Shapiro.

The Shapiros campaign began airing TV ads this month promoting Mastriano as one of Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters, and the state’s Democratic Party sent letters to registered Republican voters linking Mastriano to Trump.

READ MORE: Last-ditch GOP effort to stop Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania gubernatorial race appears to be too little, too late

Trump has been said to like several candidates on the field, meeting several during the race. Each, to varying degrees, has amplified or flirted with Trump’s false claims of voter fraud. And each of the leading candidates has pledged to repeal the expansion of state mail-in voting in 2019 and proposed tougher voter ID rules, among other policies.

Barletta was an early supporter of Trump during his 2016 campaign, and the former president backed Barletta during his unsuccessful 2018 Senate run. Barletta, like other candidates in the gubernatorial races and in the Senate, hired former Trump aides for his campaign, and he hosted a fundraiser at Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Some of Trump’s most vocal allies have thrown their support behind Mastriano, citing his efforts to nullify the 2020 election.

White, a wealthy HVAC company owner who presents himself as a blue-collar businessman, met with Trump in late April. At the meeting, white pollster John McLaughlin, who also worked for Trump, showed Trump an internal poll that put White in second place, behind Mastriano, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Corman also tried to stay in the mix for a while. While trailing in the polls, Corman appears to have struck up a tie with Trump over golf. And the senator posted photos of himself with his daughter at Mar-a-Lago this month, where they attended a screening of a film about the election plot called 2000 Mules. It’s a movie every American should see, Corman said on Twitter.

But it was McSwain, a former US attorney appointed by Trump in Philadelphia, who did the worst in Trump’s draw. The former president condemned McSwain for failing to prosecute voter fraud in 2020. Don’t vote for Bill McSwain, Trump said last month, calling him a coward who let our country down.

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