‘Big Lie’ Believer Doug Mastriano Leads the GOP Pack in Primary Race for Governor

FILE - Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin takes part in a forum for Republican candidates for governor of Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Camp Hill, Pa., April 1, 2022. Mastriano, supports an abortion ban starting at six weeks of pregnancy without exceptions for rape, incest or saving the life of the mother. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

By Ashley Adams

May 10, 2022

State Sen. Doug Mastriano is one of Pennsylvania’s most visible 2020 election conspiracy theorists. He’s now the leading Republican nominee for governor, according to a new poll.

With only a week until the primary election, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, one of Pennsylvania’s most vocal election conspiracy theorists, has a sizable lead over his opponents.

A new poll from the Trafalgar Group shows Mastriano with a 10-point lead over the next closest candidate. The poll asked, “If the 2022 Republican primary for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?” The results were:

  • Mastriano: 27.6%
  • Lou Barletta: 17.6%
  • Dave White: 15.1%
  • William McSwain: 14.4%
  • Jake Corman: 5.3%
  • Melissa Hart: 3.7%
  • Joe Gale: 3%
  • Charlie Gerow: 2.1%
  • Undecided: 11.3% 

Mastriano has continuously spread former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election and has pushed for the results to be overturned. He launched a “forensic investigation” of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election last July, but was removed from leading it after disputes over how to run it. 

Mastriano also participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection by organizing bus trips to the Trump rally. He was subpoenaed by the US House committee investigating Jan. 6 and reportedly never showed for his March 10 deposition.

During a recent debate among the Republican gubernatorial candidates, Mastriano was asked what he would tell voters concerned that he has “legal issues,” stemming from the subpoena.

“There are no legal issues,” Mastriano responded.

At the same debate, the candidates were asked about providing financial assistance to Pennsylvania nursing homes, which have said they’re having to close facilities because of inadequate Medicaid reimbursements. Mastraino responded by floating the baseless accusation that the Wolf administration is guilty of “sending the sick back into the homes which have killed at least 16,000 of our elderly” during the pandemic.

Mastriano was part of a plan to arrange for an “alternate” slate of electors from Pennsylvania for Trump and reportedly coordinated with the former President about post-election activities.

He has also associated himself with the QAnon movement, including appearing on QAnon programs and amplifying the group’s theories over social media. Last month, Mastriano campaigned at an event promoting QAnon theories in Gettysburg.

On Monday, the state Senate’s Republican floor leader, Kim Ward, endorsed rival candidate Dave White, and singled out Mastriano as unable to attract the moderate voters necessary to win a general election in Pennsylvania.

Mastriano “has appeal to base Republicans, but I fear the Democrats will destroy him with swing voters,” Ward wrote on her personal Facebook page. She added that “winning the primary and losing the general because the candidate is unable to get the voters in the middle, isn’t a win.”

Mike McMonagle, president of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Coalition, said Mastriano gets a top rating from his organization because he supports a complete ban on abortion, no exceptions. But the organization is endorsing White at least in part because Mastriano “in our judgment would get clobbered by Shapiro in a general election.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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