Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro speaks to a crowd during his campaign launch address for Pennsylvania governor, in Pittsburgh. Shapiro, is breaking with Gov. Tom Wolf on the centerpiece of Wolf's plan to fight climate change amid the pushback it has received from influential building trades unions. Shapiro’s statement came as he prepared Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021 to address union leaders from the pipeline trades who planned to question him about his position. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File) Pennsylvania's Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate,Josh Shapiro
Pennsylvania's Democratic attorney general Josh Shapiro speaks to a crowd during his campaign launch address for Pennsylvania governor, in Pittsburgh. Shapiro, is breaking with Gov. Tom Wolf on the centerpiece of Wolf's plan to fight climate change amid the pushback it has received from influential building trades unions. Shapiro’s statement came as he prepared Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021 to address union leaders from the pipeline trades who planned to question him about his position. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

As the primary election approaches, and the airwaves fill with Republican ads about which candidate is the most like Trump, and which candidate is willing to shout the Big Lie loudest, the lone Democrat in the race is posting some record-breaking fundraising numbers.

Currently, Democrat Josh Shapiro, the commonwealth’s Attorney General, has $12 million more cash on hand than all nine Republican candidates combined and recently reported a total of $4.5 million raised in the first quarter of 2022.

And while the cash-strapped GOP field has been blitzing the airwaves trying to court the MAGA base, the Shapiro campaign has just released their first ad, and the message is a clear appeal to the middle of Pennsylvania’s electorate, offering an alternative to the conspiracy-laden performances delivered in the GOP primary field.

Shapiro’s campaign reported $13.4 million in 2021, more than any other gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania history has ever taken into an election year. The previous record belonged to then-incumbent Governor Ed Rendell in 2006, when he raised $12.5 million at the same point in his campaign. The most-ever raised by this date for an open seat was the $11.4 million number put up by current Governor Tom Wolf in 2014.

While most expect support — and cash — to consolidate around the GOP candidate that wins the primary on May 17, and a number of dark money groups will certainly bolster the currently anemic fundraising numbers on the right, Shapiro and his team look well-positioned to make their case to Pennsylvania voters over the next several months.

It is yet to be determined if a positive, policy-driven campaign can overcome the reality TV approach of today’s GOP messaging machine, but this time around, it appears the policy approach will have the cash to compete.