Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro will be the next governor of Pennsylvania, CNN projects, defeating far-right Republican state lawmaker Doug Mastriano.
Shapiro’s ascent means Democrats will keep control of the state’s top job, providing a powerful check on its GOP-held state legislature, as Gov. Tom Wolf leaves office due to term limits. Shapiro is also now poised to become a leading national Democratic figure short-listed for the party’s next open presidential primary.
Most polling of the race before Election Day showed Shapiro with a comfortable lead over Mastriano, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump shortly before the primary and chartered buses to Washington ahead of the former President’s “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021. (Mastriano says he never entered the US Capitol and has not been charged with any crimes.)
But the Republican nominee’s support for expanded gun rights, strict anti-abortion laws and outspoken opposition to Covid-19 safety measures appeared to alienate voters in Pennsylvania’s decisive swing counties.
Mastriano, a retired army colonel, was outpaced by Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz in polling throughout the general election season and Oz often made pains to distance himself from his fellow GOP nominee.
Entering this campaign, Shapiro, who also outraised Mastriano by tens of millions of dollars, held the record for most votes won by a candidate in state history. In 2020, his 3.46 million ballots outpaced even Joe Biden, who ended up with roughly 3,000 fewer votes.