Mastriano, a Trump-backed state senator, now meets Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro. They are vying to replace temporary Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
The GOP’s election of Mastriano means that if he wins in November, an election denier who sought to overthrow the will of voters in the 2020 election will have power over the election machinery during the 2024 presidential race in one of the world’s key battleground states nation would have. In Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state — the person responsible for conducting Pennsylvania elections and signing the electors.
Mastriano used his victory speech Tuesday night to poke fun at Rachel Levine, the US Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and Admiral of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, who is transgender.
Mastriano, whose campaign barred reporters from events in the final days before the primary, was an early supporter of Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results. He was pictured outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the riot, attempting to launch a partisan Arizona-style review of Pennsylvania ballots.
In an acknowledgment earlier this month, Trump said Mastriano was “a fighter like few and was with me from the start and now I have an obligation to be with him.”
“Doug Mastriano wants to outlaw abortion, limit voting rights, promote conspiracy theories and destroy the union way of life for hard-working Pennsylvanians,” Shapiro said in a statement Tuesday. “Mastriano wants to dictate to Pennsylvanians how they live their lives – that’s not freedom.”
In a sign of concern from national GOP strategists and officials surrounding Mastriano, the Republican Governors Association released a lukewarm statement Tuesday night acknowledging Mastriano’s victory without congratulating or committing to taking part in the vacant governor’s race in one of the nation’s major swing states.
Instead, RGA executive director Dave Rexrode said the organization “remains committed to engaging in competitive gubernatorial competitions where our support can have an impact.”