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PITTSBURGH — A last-ditch effort by some Pennsylvania Republicans to consolidate a crowded Republican gubernatorial field around an alternative to an election skeptic may be too little, too late, according to recent polls.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano is the front-runner in the field just days before Tuesday’s primary, but some in the state worry that he could win the Republican primary by a plurality but go on to lose the general election in the fall.


Mastriano is running as a hard-right candidate, and he recently told NBC News he would make Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis look like an “amateur.”

“We love you, Ron, but this is Pennsylvania,” Mastriano told NBC. “This is where the light of liberty was set in 1776, where this nation was born.”

But Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, and some Republicans worry about his electability in a statewide race. Mastriano is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump and backed his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Mastriano also faces questions about his attendance at a QAnon-linked event in Gettysburg and at the Washington, D.C., rally that took place before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Trump has not made an endorsement in the race, although he endorsed television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Senate race and a slew of congressional candidates in Pennsylvania.

But as the race draws to a close, Mastriano leads the crowded field. A poll by the Trafalgar Group found him leading the field with 27.6%, followed by former Rep. Lou Barletta at 17.6%.

New @trafalgar_group #PAGov ‘22 #GOP Primary #Poll shows Mastriano lead #PApol

27.6% @DougMastriano
17.6% @RepLouBarletta
15.1% @davewhiteforgov
14.4% @McSwainPA
5.3% @CormanForPA
3.7% @HartForPA
3.0% @VoteJoeGalePA
2.1% @Charlie_Gerow
11.3% Und


— The Trafalgar Group (@trafalgar_group) May 9, 2022

Another recent poll by Fox News had similar results, finding Mastriano in the lead with 29%, followed by Barletta at 17%.

But some Republicans in the state are concerned about Mastriano’s chances in the fall against state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the presumptive Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania governor. Shapiro appears eager to run against Mastriano, releasing an ad campaign designed to boost him.


Another candidate, Jake Corman announced Thursday that he would exit the race for governor to endorse Barletta. The move was seen as an attempt to coalesce the field around Barletta. At a Thursday press conference, the two men were muted in their criticism of Mastriano, framing the move as an attempt to make sure Republican voters choose a candidate positioned to defeat Shapiro in November.

Republicans have lost four of the last five gubernatorial races in the Keystone State, but Republicans hope a midterm election cycle projected to favor Republicans may help their chances of winning the governor’s mansion. The Cook Political Report has ranked the race as a toss-up.

News 2022 Elections Pennsylvania Governor Republicans Lou Barletta Ron DeSantis

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Tags: pennsylvania republicans barletta news 2022 elections pennsylvania governor republicans lou barletta ron desantis pennsylvania republicans pennsylvania governor some republicans as an attempt trafalgar group is pennsylvania lou barletta ron desantis in the state mastriano field around barletta followed in the fall recent poll

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Aide to PA Gubernatorial Frontrunner Laughed as Jan. 6 Rioters Smashed Reporters Cameras, Per Report

A campaign aide for GOP Pennsylvania gubernatorial frontrunner Doug Mastriano was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and laughed as media equipment was smashed by rioters, per a report.

Mastriano is leading in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary.

NBC News reported a man named Grant Clarkson was among a number of Mastriano campaign associates who blocked media access to a campaign event this past weekend.

The event was held by the far-right candidate, and was co-hosted by fringe Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate Kathy Barnette.

As reporters attempted to gain access to the event, they were blocked, NBC reported. In a video shared on Twitter by Face the Nation, a person identified as Clarkson can be seen telling members of the media to stay back.

CBS News Chief Election & Campaign Correspondent @costareports was repeatedly denied entry at a campaign rally Saturday hosted by Kathy Barnette and Doug Mastriano.

Tune in tomorrow at 10:30a E.T. for more of his reporting on the Pennsylvania primaries.

— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 14, 2022

Following an investigation, NBC reported it was able to verify Clarkson was at the Capitol during the riot, but did not appear to enter the building:

Photos and video obtained by NBC News appear to show Clarkson, a former congressional intern who more recently worked as a legislative assistant for the Republican caucus in the Pennsylvania statehouse, present on the restricted grounds of the Capitol on Jan. 6. Images unearthed by members of the “Sedition Hunters” community investigating the Capitol breach appear to show Clarkson on the west side of the Capitol just over a retaining wall, standing on a pillar at the top of the stairs on the eastern side of the Capitol as a mob breaches through doors with shattered windows, and then watching and smiling as rioters smashed media equipment on Capitol grounds.

NBC’s Ryan Reilly spoke to Clarkson Monday, when he denied he took part in the destruction of property.

He was asked specifically about why he smiled as a mob smashed cameras.

“I, uh, don’t recall smashing any cameras,” Clarkson responded. “You’re clearly going to put my name out there, and probably some photos of me.

Reilly reported Clarkson appeared to “laugh as rioters smashed media equipment on Capitol grounds.” Clarkson was adamant he never entered the building.

Mastriano was endorsed by Trump on Saturday.

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