2020 Election Denier Wins GOP Primary for Governor in Pa.: 'Everyone … Can Believe Whatever They Want'

State Sen. Doug Mastriano will face off against the Democrat in November and if successful could appoint a new top election official in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge on May 14, 2022 in Warminster, Pennsylvania. Mastriano, the front-runner in the Governor's May 17th primary race, held a campaign rally today after receiving a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Mastriano was joined by Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette on what she is calling her final campaign rally.
Doug Mastriano. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a supporter of the effort to overturn the 2020 election as well as Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud to support it, won Pennsylvania's Republican primary election for governor on Tuesday.

Mastriano received 44.3 percent of the vote, handily defeating his closest rival, Lou Barletta, who had a little more than 20 percent, according to reported tallies.

In November, Mastriano, 58, will face off against Democrat Josh Shapiro, who ran unopposed, in the contest to see who'll replace term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf. The general election winner will have the power to appoint Pennsylvania's secretary of state to run elections and sign off on the state's presidential electors in 2024.

If elected, Mastriano said his pick for his state's top elections official would "reset" voter rolls so everyone would "have to re-register," NBC News reports.

In a victory speech Tuesday, Mastriano vowed to end vaccine employment requirements, eliminate critical race theory from classrooms and ban transgender athletes from women's sports teams.

He also mocked Rachel Levine, the transgender U.S. assistant secretary of health and an admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, according to CNN.

But Mastriano reportedly said his campaign "has no place for hate, bigotry and intolerance," adding that the movement he represents is "under siege" from those who oppose "groups of us who believe certain things," NBC News reports.

Before the election, Pennsylvania Republicans worried about the conservative Mastriano's chances in the general election, given the importance of moderate swing voters in the state's suburban counties, according to a CNN report.

Mastriano had no issues with presenting himself as a far-right candidate during the campaign. "You guys think Ron DeSantis is good? Amateur," he said at a campaign event earlier this month, according to NBC News, adding: "We love you, Ron, but this is Pennsylvania. This is where the light of liberty was set in 1776, where this nation was born."

In endorsing Mastriano — who was reportedly seen outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to CNN — Trump praised him for revealing "the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election" and said he is "a fighter like few others, and has been with me right from the beginning, and now I have an obligation to be with him."

Since leaving the White House, Trump has continued making unfounded claims of fraud and his victory in the 2020 presidential election, though Biden won both the electoral and popular votes and has been in office for almost 500 days.

Despite Trump's baseless allegations of wrongdoing, officials in nearly every state, including both Democrats and Republicans, have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.

Regardless, Mastriano appeared to suggest that his support of the falsehoods and policies he supports are valid.

"Everyone in this room can believe whatever they want, and they should not be mocked for that," he said, according to NBC News. "And that includes us on the Republican side. And I will not stand for you mocking, you know, me, my wife, my family or what we believe or anyone in this room here. This is America."

Related Articles