Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro speaks to supporters in Montgomery on Tuesday, 11/8/22 (screen capture)
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro claimed victory around 11 p.m. on Election Day as he maintained an 11-point lead over Republican Doug Mastriano, according to unofficial tallies.
Mastriano, however, told supporters at his election night event in Cumberland County, that he and lieutenant governor nominee Carrie DelRosso would “stand in faith until every vote was counted.”
“We’re going to wait patiently to see what the people of Pennsylvania say and what the people of Pennsylvania say, we’ll of course, respect that,” Mastriano said.
The Associated Press called the race at 12:17 a.m.
Taking the stage at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Montgomery County, Shapiro thanked voters for “giving me the honor of a lifetime,” and by making running-mate Austin Davis the state’s first Black lieutenant governor.
“My name was on the ballot, but it was always your rights, your future on the line right here in the commonwealth,” Shapiro said, adding that the 2022 campaign was a “test of each of us, to decide what kind of commonwealth, what kind of country we want to live in … Tonight I humbly stand before you as your governor-elect knowing that you met this moment. We showed in this campaign, no matter what you look like, who you love, who you pray to, you are valued here in Pennsylvania and we hear you.”
He continued: “Opportunity won. A woman’s right to choose won. The right to organize here in Pennsylvania, that won. Your right to vote won. And in the face of all the lies and conspiracies and baseless claims, you also ensured tonight that truth won right here in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And you know what else won tonight? Real freedom won tonight.”
Shapiro thanked the Republicans who crossed party lines to vote for him, saying he would not take that support for granted.
“I not only appreciate your vote, I am humbled by it,” he said.
Davis, a state lawmaker from Allegheny County, and the son of a hairdresser and union bus driver, vowed to be an advocate for working families.
“If you felt unseen, unheard and forgotten, this victory is for you,” he said. “As your next lieutenant governor, I will always be your champion.”
Acknowledging the historic moment, Davis said that while he was “blessed by this opportunity and this responsibility, it was paid for by people who came before me, like [state House Speaker] K. Leroy Irvis … and all the activists whose names may not show up in print. They paved the way to this moment.”
Mastriano took the stage with his wife Rebbie, and DelRosso shortly before midnight to address the crowd at the Penn Harris Hotel in suburban Harrisburg, which had thinned noticeably since polls closed at 8 p.m.
Mastriano, who ran on a far-right platform that included a ban on abortion without exceptions and eliminating race and gender theory from public school curricula, thanked his supporters for their work on his campaign, comparing it to the fights the founding fathers took on at the birth of the United States.
“That’s what our constitutional republic is all about. Men and women rising up and doing their civic duty and standing up and making sure their voice counts,” Mastriano said.
“With that, we celebrate with you were going to stay here and hang with the people because you guys brought us to this dance and we’re going to see it to the end,” Mastriano said.
The Republican rose to prominence as he challenged state lockdown orders during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerged as an unlikely victor in a crowded primary field.
Although Mastriano engaged with his religious, far-right base with a promise to ban abortion with no exceptions, he remained silent on the topic in campaign speeches after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe vs. Wade decision that established a national right to abortion.
Mastriano also pitched plans to redirect public school funding to education vouchers to give parents a choice of where to send their children, leave a multi-state greenhouse gas reduction pact and develop Pennsylvania’s oil and gas resources.
But Mastriano was dogged by his associations with the alt-right social media platform Gab, where the accused Tree of Life Synagogue shooter posted his manifesto before killing 11 worshipers; members of the white supremacist group The Proud Boys; and self-proclaimed prophets preaching Christian dominionism.
He was also roundly excoriated for appearing in a faculty photo at the U.S. Army War College wearing a Confederate uniform.
Mastriano’s campaign also suffered from a lack of support from mainstream Republican groups and he struggled to fund his campaign while Shapiro had raised a record $38 million by mid-September, according to campaign finance reports.
Shapiro capitalized on the GOP backlash against Mastriano, obtaining and touting endorsements from a number of prominent Republicans including former U.S. Reps Charlie Dent and Jim Greenwood.
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