Former President Trump set off a series of events that might cost Republicans the governorship and ensure a tough campaign in Pennsylvania if he runs for president in 2024.
Today, Donald Trump endorsed my most extreme opponent, Doug Mastriano.
I’m Josh Shapiro — and I know the endorsements that will win this race are from the people of Pennsylvania, not a resident of Mar-a-Lago.
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) May 14, 2022
Allegheny County GOP Chairman Sam DeMarco was surprised by the news. “I am very dissatisfied with the president’s choice of Mastriano.”
Chair of the Cambria Area Republican Party
Jackie Kulback, leader of the Cambria Area Republican Party, a grassroots juggernaut who recently turned this post-industrial county from Democratic to Republican, was upset with Trump’s decision to back Mastriano.
“What must be conveyed clearly and unflinchingly is this: If Mastriano wins the general election, there is almost certainly no chance that a Democratic presidential candidate’s victory in Pennsylvania in 2024 will be certified by the state’s governor.”https://t.co/7rcCs2vxeB
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) May 14, 2022
The Cambria County Republican Party proposed Dave White or Lou Barletta for the governorship.
An unnamed county chairman who welcomed Trump and casted the ballot for him twice said, “Maybe President Biden isn’t the only 70+ person who should take a proficiency test?”
A vote for Kathy Barnette in the Senate election would ensure that seat’s loss in the fall. They concluded Barnette was fading and might not win.
Washington County Republican Leader Dave Ball, who helped convert a majority-Democratic county to Republican, didn’t understand Trump’s decision, “other than he gets to claim a win, which he likes to boast about.”
Ball, famously exclaimed, “What the heck was he thinking?”
Then, after Trump backed Dr. Mehmet Oz against David McCormick, he had stronger words about Trump’s decision to favor Mastriano, but he left them to the reader’s imagination.
“Now, we have a three-way, very tight three-way battle for the key Pennsylvania Senate seat and it looks to most of us that Oz is beginning to fade. The president does what?”
Ball added, “He’ll shore that up and promote a sure thing. It’s unfortunate.”
A Possible Loss of the Governorship
A central county chairperson said he resents Trump’s involvement in Pennsylvania.
“This symbolizes the conclusion of the Trump era; he supports a frontrunner, and he will take credit for the victory.”
“If you like Mastriano or not, he has recognized and addressed the concerns of a segment of the electorate. Mastriano’s triumph won’t have anything to do with Trump,” he claimed.
Ball claims many Trump followers back Mastriano because they believe he will win in November as Trump did in 2016. “Mastriano isn’t Trump. He recognized then that a coalition was needed,” he added.
DeMarco said Trump might as well not run in 2024 since Democrat Josh Shapiro would handily defeat Mastriano in 2022 and make it difficult for Trump to win the state.
Kulback predicted Trump’s involvement in Pennsylvania would cost Republicans a governor’s seat. In a favorable year for Republicans, Dave White or Lou Barletta could have easily beaten Shapiro.
She is concerned that Mastriano will carry Barnette (who has been campaigning with him for months) to victory, “but it appears as more people know about her, she has peaked.”
Several other county officials feel this approach would cost Trump support in Pennsylvania in 2024.