The Pennsylvania governor's race has one major problem that Republicans are suddenly starting to understand: The top GOP candidate has little chance of being elected to the seat. Fringe candidate Doug Mastriano has been enthusiastically endorsed by former President Donald Trump and appears likely to prevail in the primary on Tuesday. His poll numbers statewide, however, don't appear to be as successful.
Politico reported Monday that the Republican Party is anticipating that they'll lose the seat with Mastriano as the candidate and they're looking for someone to blame for a loss that is still nearly six months away.
Some Republicans are calling for the state's Republican Party chairman, Lawrence Tabas to resign. The theory is that he is responsible for not forcing a more mainstream candidate on the party instead of letting the far-right leader rise to the top. But it isn't just Tabas who led to Mastriano's success.
At the end of 2021, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst did a poll where they asked Republican voters about their support for pieces of the far-right ideology in the GOP. Just 21 percent of Republican voters agreed that Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate. That leaves an overwhelming majority of 79 percent of Republicans who believe that the election was stolen from Trump. What's more, the number hasn't changed much. The Washington Post did an April 2021 poll that showed that 19 percent of Republicans believed Trump won the election.
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“At this point, Lawrence needs to own it. He’s the one in charge, so it’s up to him to figure this out,” said Cambria County GOP chair Jackie Kulback. “Honestly, as a state party, we need to reevaluate our entire organization. We need to look at reorganization.”
But the polls show that Mastriano is nothing more than a reflection of the GOP.
Kulback added that Tabas should resign, and that calls for him to do so are, “among insiders, very widespread.”
On the other side, however, Mastriano is furious that the party isn't doing enough to help him.
“This is the first time in 44 years that the state party has not endorsed a candidate for governor,” he told Newsmax on Monday. “And so truly, we have an opportunity in Pennsylvania where the people can make a vote without influence from the state party apparatus. So hats off to the party leadership for actually taking that bold stand.”
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Meanwhile, in the U.S. Senate race, Kathy Barnette has seen a dramatic rise in popularity as the top two Republican men outspend her multiple times over. Trump doesn't support her because they didn't think she could appeal to all voters in the general election, he explained in a statement last week.
"Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats," he lamented. "She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted, but if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party — and I will be behind her all the way."
He didn't cite any examples.
The winner of the GOP primary will likely face Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general.