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PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, ran unopposed for the nomination in his 2022 statewide bid. But after Tuesday’s primary, he will face a general election challenger, and his campaign recently sought to boost a far-right rival for that role.

As a state representative and later as Montgomery County commissioner in the Philadelphia suburbs, Shapiro gained a reputation as a centrist and as a deal-maker, winning praise from both sides of the aisle. He later rose to national prominence when as attorney general, he released a bombshell grand jury report detailing sexual abuse in Catholic churches and organizations in the state. He also joined numerous legal challenges to then-President Donald Trump’s administration’s policies.

PENNSYLVANIA GOP MAY BE STUCK WITH AN ELECTION SKEPTIC AS GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE

But Shapiro has shied away from labeling his brand of Democrat, telling Jewish Insider earlier this year when asked if he was a progressive or a centrist, “I’ll leave the punditry to you.”

Shapiro has campaigned on a platform of reducing deficits while keeping taxes low, but also preserving the legality of abortion.

As Montgomery County Commissioner, I inherited a $10 million deficit from my predecessor — and led a fiscal turnaround that put our community on track to financial stability.

And I did it while keeping our taxes among the lowest in the region.

— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) May 13, 2022

It's simple: Our next Governor will decide if women have the right to choose.

Our Republican Legislature will send a bill to the Governor's desk banning abortion — and I'll be ready to veto it.

Our opponents' would sign that bill. These are the stakes of this election.

— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) May 13, 2022

Shapiro recently indicated he believes his platform will prevail over the Republican front-runner, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, launching an ad campaign designed to boost him. Although Mastriano has gained traction with Republican primary voters, some Republicans in the state worry that he could go on to lose the general election in the fall should he win the Republican nomination due to his hard-right platform, including embracing former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Trump on Saturday endorsed Mastriano for the Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nomination, a significant boost three days before the primary.

Will Bunch, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, called Shapiro’s move a “dangerous game,” acknowledging that it may ultimately help Mastriano more than it hurts him, comparing it to some Democrats’ efforts to boost Trump in 2016.

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Pennsylvania is a key battleground state, and although election analysts predict this cycle will favor Republicans due in part to President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and voter concern over inflation, the Pennsylvania governor’s race is considered a toss-up. Incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is term-limited. And Republicans have lost four of the last five gubernatorial races in the Keystone State, suggesting that the Democrats have strong odds to maintain the governor’s mansion.

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PA Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman suffers stroke

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is leading the pack in the state's Democratic Senate primary, suffered a stroke on Friday.

Fetterman, who has a 30-point lead over his primary opponents according to a Real Clear Politics average, revealed his sudden medical troubles in a statement Sunday, saying that he had gone to the hospital for a check-up after he began feeling ill. The 52-year-old lieutenant governor said that he "hadn't been feeling well, but was so focused on the campaign that I ignored the signs and just kept going."

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH PENNSYLVANIA?

The Senate hopeful went on to say that he had a stroke "caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long." Luckily, he added, "the amazing doctors here were able to quickly and completely remove the clot, reversing the stroke." Fetterman said that doctors told him he did not suffer any cognitive damage and was on his way to a full recovery. Still, he will need to take some time away from campaigning to recover, and doctors have kept him hospitalized to continue observation.

"The doctors have assured me that I'll be able to get back on the trail, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest, and recover," his statement read. "There's so much at stake in this race, and I'm going to be ready for the hard fight ahead."

My full statement here. ???? pic.twitter.com/1rRXDMBiu0

— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) May 15, 2022

Fetterman, a progressive, faces his toughest primary challenge from Rep. Conor Lamb (D-P.A.), a 37-year-old who has campaigned as a moderate. Still, the race is nowhere near as close as on the Republican side, where more than $50 million has been spent on negative advertising alone. Should Fetterman win his primary as is expected, he will face off against the GOP nominee in a race that will help decide control of the Senate, which is currently split 50-50.

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The Washington Examiner has reached out to Fetterman's campaign for comment.

News Pennsylvania John Fetterman Democratic Party 2022 Elections Health

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