A Victory Over Extremism: Josh Shapiro Wins Pa. Governor’s Race

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks before President Joe Biden at a campaign rally Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Isabel Soisson

November 8, 2022

Josh Shapiro, who has served as attorney general of Pennsylvania since 2017, has won the state’s gubernatorial race, defeating far-right Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

NBC News first called the race for Shapiro at around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, followed a short time later by the Associated Press.

“Real freedom prevailed in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter after the race was called. “I’m humbled and proud to be your next Governor.”

The contest to succeed term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf was among the highest-profile races in the country. In addition to determining who will run a key swing state, it’s a race that highlighted how extreme the Republican Party has become.

Mastriano, a US Army veteran and Pennsylvania state Senator who tried to overturn the will of Pennsylvania voters following the 2020 election, was endorsed by former president Donald Trump, but he failed to draw widespread support within his own party. His extremism includes attacks on the Jewish school that Shapiro attended and his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection on the US Capitol.

The race was viewed as an unofficial referendum on abortion, following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.

Shapiro has been outspoken in his support of abortion rights, saying just last month that he was the best choice governor for Pennsylvania because “he would do everything in his power to defend reproductive freedom and democracy” in the state.

“I’m running against by far the most dangerous and extreme candidate ever to run for governor in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said of Mastriano at the Keystone’s candidate forum in October. “My opponent wants to strip away [abortion rights], with no exception, and we learned…that he wants to charge women who have an abortion with murder.”

Shapiro’s campaign also focused on other key messages, including his record as attorney general over the past five years and his potential ability as governor to veto legislation the state legislature’s Republican majority passes. He also highlighted his criminal justice experience, his work on cases related to LGBTQ rights and workers’ rights, and his desire to raise the commonwealth’s minimum wage to at least $15 per hour.

Shapiro clashed with Mastriano over the 2020 election results in the commonwealth. Mastriano called Biden’s victory “statistically impossible” and led an unsuccessful attempt at uncovering nonexistent voter fraud in the state. In a statement released last year, Shapiro called these efforts a “sham.”

Fueled by Mastriano’s lies about election fraud, Shapiro has been outspoken about his intention of keeping Pennsylvania’s elections secure and accessible and his successful track record as attorney general of fighting former president Donald Trump’s attempts to overthrow and undermine Pennsylvania’s 2020 election.

Mastriano has stayed committed to his election denial, as well. He—along with five other Republican nominees for governor nationwide—said in September that they would not commit to accepting this year’s election results.

In the end, integrity prevailed over extremism, and Josh Shapiro will serve as Pennsylvania’s next governor.


  • Isabel Soisson

    Isabel Soisson is a multimedia journalist who has worked at WPMT FOX43 TV in Harrisburg, along with serving various roles at CNBC, NBC News, Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Style Magazine.


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