Mastriano Lingers in the Fringes

Doug Mastriano (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Doug Mastriano clawed through his party’s gubernatorial primary with 2020 election denialism and culture war rhetoric to drive more far-right voters to the polls. It worked, and he sailed to victory with 44 percent of the Republican primary vote.

But now the state senator’s refusal to pivot to a general election strategy is raising eyebrows among Republican operatives in the state and deep-pocketed donors outside it. Many say the GOP nominee’s controversial views—including flirtation with antisemitism and no abortion exceptions whatsoever—are alienating independents and moderates, particularly in the suburbs, and have plunged him into a 10-1 fundraising hole against Democrat Josh Shapiro.

One of those critical of Mastriano is Matt Brouillette, CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. Seeing Donald Trump-endorsed Mastriano as a weak general election candidate in the lead-up to the May primary, the Harrisburg-based Republican group invested millions in affiliated super PAC money in two of Mastriano’s primary challengers.

After Mastriano won the primary, Commonwealth Partners gave him a chance to prove he could appeal to independents and moderate Republicans in his bid against Shapiro, the state’s current attorney general. Brouillette says that hasn’t happened. “He has shown us that he hasn’t been serious about winning the key swing voters that you have to learn to be successful in November,” Brouillette said.

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