Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro speaks to a crowd with the city behind him during his campaign launch address for Pennsylvania governor, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) Josh Shapiro
Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro speaks to a crowd with the city behind him during his campaign launch address for Pennsylvania governor, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Calling Doug Mastriano an “extremist” and a “threat to the rule of law and constitutional order,” nine Pennsylvania Republicans break ranks and publicly endorse Josh Shapiro for governor.

Nine Pennsylvania Republicans have publicly endorsed a candidate for governor, but it isn’t Doug Mastriano.

Breaking with party norms, the current and former politicians said the GOP gubernatorial nominee is too far-right-wing and controversial so they’ve put their support behind Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro.

The endorsements represent a direct hit against Mastriano, who has centered much of his campaign around the inaccurate claims of widespread voter fraud in 2020. Mastriano carries other baggage that likely doesn’t sit well with moderate Republicans, such as his extreme anti-abortion views, his proximity to the Jan. 6 insurrection, his plans to arm Pennsylvania teachers, and his homophobic rhetoric.

“I’ve been a Republican my entire life,” said former Lehigh County congressman, Charlie Dent,  in a statement. “And I have always supported Pennsylvania’s Republican Governors — but in this election, I am proud to endorse Josh Shapiro. … We may not always agree on every policy position, but that is to be expected. His focus on improving our economy, strengthening our schools, and keeping our communities safe is what Pennsylvania needs now. Doug Mastriano, on the other hand, is an extremist who is a threat to the rule of law and the constitutional order.”

Former state Rep. Jim Greenwood (Bucks County) accused Mastriano of continuing “to fan the flames of division” in a statement.

Former state House Speaker Denny O’Brien (Philadelphia County) hailed Shapiro’s ability to work with Republicans and Democrats alike as Attorney General to get things done. 

“That’s a stark contrast with his opponent, who continues to divide us and waste time and taxpayer money on his conspiracy theories and plans to upend Pennsylvania’s elections,” O’Brien said in a statement. “We deserve a Governor who will bring people together, and that’s why I’m proud to endorse Josh Shapiro.”

GOP leaders worked behind the scenes prior to the May primary to whittle down the large field of Republican gubernatorial candidates in an attempt to coalesce around one candidate so as to defeat Mastriano. They were concerned that Mastriano was too far right to win in a general election. Those feelings obviously haven’t gone away. 

The Republicans who endorsed Shapiro publicly Wednesday include:

  • Morgan Boyd, Lawrence County Board of Commissioners chairman
  • Lita Cohen, former Montgomery County state representative
  • Ken Davis, former Montgomery County GOP
  • Charlie Dent, former Lehigh County congressman
  • Jim Greenwood, former Bucks County congressman
  • Robert Jubelirer, former lieutenant governor, Blair County
  • Sandra Schultz Newman, former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice
  • Denny O’Brien, former speaker of the House, Philadelphia County
  • Dave Steil, former Bucks County state representative

In a statement, Shapiro said he was “grateful” to receive the endorsements and that all parties must come together to address the challenges facing Pennsylvania.