PHILADELPHIA - Doug Mastriano has clinched victory in the Republican primary to take on Democrat Josh Shapiro for governor in Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.
Mastriano defeated a nine-person Republican field, including former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, President pro tempore of the, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Nche Zama, Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale, political strategist Charlie Gerow, former U.S. Attorney William McSwain and former Delaware County Councilmember Dave White.
A state senator since 2019, Mastriano faced fierce opposition from fellow Republicans who claimed he was too far right to win in a general election.
Several GOP members believed he would fumble away an opportunity for the party to take over the battleground state’s executive suite due to his inability to attract moderate voters.
"Mastriano has appeal to base Republicans, but I fear the Democrats will destroy him with swing voters," said Kate Ward, state Senate’s Republican floor leader. "Winning the primary and losing the general because the candidate is unable to get the voters in the middle, isn’t a win."
In 2020, Mastriano emerged as an unexpected rising force in right-wing politics.
Josh Shapiro (L) and Doug Mastriano (R) will face off this fall in the race to replace Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. (Photos Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle and Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
He became a key figure in Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss, which earned him a subpoena by the congressional committee.
As a result, Democrats have portrayed Mastriano as an extremist claiming his victory would be a "win for what Donald Trump stands for."
Mastriano consistently led the packed GOP primary race, with a recent Franklin and Marshall College poll showing 20% of GOP primary voters saying they support him. Bill McSwain and Lou Barletta trailed slightly, with 12% and 11%, respectively.
Mastriano will now face the Democrat Josh Shapiro in the 2022 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election on Nov. 8 as current Gov. Tom Wolf’s term nears its end.
Shapiro, Pennsylvania's Attorney General, ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary.