What to know about his run for governor in 2022 Pennsylvania primary election

When it comes to running for governor — in Pennsylvania or any other state — there are usually many politicians running for office. But in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, there is only one candidate on the ballot: Josh Shapiro, the attorney general.

While Shapiro, 49, is set to win the May 17 primary, November’s general election is expected to be very competitive. The national political environment is widely expected to be Republican-favorable given historical mid-election trends, stubbornly high inflation and ongoing pandemic fatigue. Gov. Tom Wolf’s approval rating has fallen to just 37%, with 51% disapproving of the temporary Democrat’s job performance, according to a January Muhlenberg College poll.

No party has won three consecutive gubernatorial elections since 1950.

» READ MORE: Meet the 2022 candidates for Pa. know the Senate and the Governor

Shapiro is serving his second term as Pennsylvania Attorney General. He was first elected in 2016 and rose to prominence for releasing a grand jury report into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal. He won a settlement in a major wage theft case and helped settle a dispute between two western Pennsylvania healthcare giants that he said had locked patients out of a major hospital network.

Shapiro’s profile grew after the 2020 election, when his office defended the Pennsylvania Secretary of State in court when allies of then-President Donald Trump questioned the results. Last year, he sued Pennsylvania Senate Republicans after they subpoenaed Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration over the personal records of millions of voters.

Republicans have highlighted Shapiro’s legal support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions, which they blame for job losses and violations of personal liberties.

Earlier in his career, Shapiro served as chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners and as a state representative. In 2004 he won his first legislative race.

Shapiro has used his candidacy as a bulwark against possible Republican attempts to restrict access to abortion and tighten electoral laws. Republicans currently control both houses of the legislature, and a Republican governor may well be able to pursue a conservative social agenda — a policy Wolf vetoed during his eight-year tenure.

He says he would expand voting access by supporting same-day voter registration and automatic registration when people get a driver’s license, and introducing early in-person voting. Shapiro would likely need a Democrat-led legislature to make significant progress on these issues.

» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about voting in the Pa. need to know in May 2022

Shapiro released his first tax policy proposal of the campaign in March: a plan he says would lower costs for consumers amid high inflation. Shapiro says he wants to give $250 checks to anyone with a registered vehicle, up to four per household; expand a property tax refund program for seniors and the disabled; and abolish a so-called mobile phone tax. Shapiro has said the plan could cost up to $2.7 billion and that he would pay for it using unspent federal COVID-19 aid and tapping into the state’s revenue surplus.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party voted unanimously to support Shapiro earlier this year. He walks unhindered.

He has also been endorsed by a number of unions, Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ groups and other organizations in the Democratic Coalition.

He received more votes in both 2016 and 2020 than anyone else on the ballot — including Trump and Joe Biden.

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