(WHTM) – Republicans and Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania are waking up Saturday morning to the news that former President Donald Trump has endorsed State Senator Doug Mastriano for governor of Pennsylvania.
The news came a day after Axios reported that Trump was leaning towards endorsing Mastriano, who is leading in recent polls over former Trump-endorsed congressman Lou Barletta.
“There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more or fought harder for electoral integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump said in a statement Saturday morning.
Mastriano, a retired US Army colonel who pushed unproven conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election, previously endorsed Oz opponent Kathy Barnette.
I am honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement today,” Mastriano said. “But the honor is not for me. It is for the millions of hard-working Pennsylvanians who want their individual freedoms restored, power returned to the people, and their elected leaders to fulfill the America First agenda. and Pennsylvania First.
In February, Mastriano was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee for allegedly “part of a plan to organize an alternative list of Pennsylvania voters for former President Trump and allegedly spoke with President Trump about post-election activities.
The committee released their letter to Mastriano saying they understand that (Mastriano was) present during the attack and that he witnessed attacks on officers.
During Nexstars’ Republican gubernatorial debate on April 28, Mastriano said there were no legal issues regarding him or the Jan. 6 committee. During the debate, Mastriano also promised to reset Pennsylvania’s voters list, requiring all eligible residents to re-register to vote.
According to the Associated Press, “such a move is prohibited by the National Voter Registration Act and likely faces significant protections under the constitution and federal and possibly state laws, legal scholars say. constitutional”.
Pa. Governor race: Mastriano takes double-digit lead in new poll
If Mastriano wins the Republican nomination on May 17, he will face Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro in November, as Shapiro runs unopposed in the Democratic primary.
“Trump just endorsed one of the most extreme and dangerous GOP candidates in the country for the PA governorship,” Shapiro said Saturday morning. “(Mastriano) wants to ban abortion and undermine elections. He attends the insurrection of 1/6 and crosses the police barricades. We can’t let him win.
Pennsylvania Democrats responded by calling Mastriano “the most extreme and dangerous Republican candidate for governor.”
Mastriano is incredibly dangerous, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party will do everything possible to make sure he stays away from the governor’s office.
Who is running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2022?
Mastriano’s endorsement of Trump snubs establishment Republican Party pick Lou Barletta. Gubernatorial candidates Jake Corman and Melissa Hart each dropped out of the race this week to endorse Barletta, with party leaders worried about a May 17 victory for Mastriano.
Barletta reacted to Trump’s endorsement of Mastriano with a statement on Saturday.
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 Saturday. “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.
A Barletta endorsement from state senator and former gubernatorial candidate Scott Martin is expected Sunday.
Get the latest news on Pennsylvania politics and the 2022 election from your local election headquarters. Register here.
Two of the other top contenders in the race, Philadelphia-area businessman Dave White and former U.S. attorney Bill McSwain, each criticized Corman for dropping out and endorsing Barletta, saying they would push until end.
Following Trump’s endorsement of Mastriano, White took to Twitter to share his platform and “@” Donald Trump Jr. in every tweet.
McSwain, whom Trump adamantly disapproved of earlier this year while claiming McSwain did not help overturn the 2020 election, did not react on social media as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Other candidates remaining in the single-digit ballot race are Nche Zama, Joseph Gale and Charlie Gerow.
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