In One State, Big-Name Republicans Turn Against an Extreme Candidate for Governor


Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, that state's Republican nominee for governor, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By Pat Kreitlow

July 7, 2022

Two former Pennsylvania congressmen are among several GOP officials who say their party’s nominee presents “a threat to the rule of law and the constitutional order.” Wisconsin watches for similar pushback.

In a sign that Republicans are beginning to turn against the Trump-inspired extremism taking hold of their party, 10 leading members of Pennsylvania’s GOP have endorsed the Democratic candidate for governor—with a former congressman saying his party’s nominee represents “a threat to the rule of law.”

A political analyst said the group represents the “bedrock” of the Republican Party and speaks for many who have become disenchanted since primary voters nominated state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a leading spreader of misinformation about the 2020 election, who has amplified QAnon and anti-semetic conspiracy theories.  

Mastriano has called for decertifying Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election results—something not permitted by law—despite no evidence suggesting President Joe Biden’s victory wasn’t earned. Wisconsin state Rep. Timothy Ramthun is running in Wisconsin’s Republican primary for governor based on a similar illegal and unsubstantiated position. The other Republican candidates have also expressed a willingness to dismantle the Wisconsin Elections Commission and take other action that could make it easier for GOP politicians to overthrow the will of the voters.

Former Republican US Rep. Charlie Dent said Mastriano’s extremism presents “a threat to the rule of law and constitutional order.” Dent joined another former congressman, several former legislators, a former lieutenant governor, and the first female justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in endorsing Democrat Josh Shapiro, the state’s incumbent attorney general.

Morgan Boyd, a sitting county board chair, said this is no time to vote for someone simply because they say they belong to your party. “I think there’s actually a large number of moderate Republicans across the state right now who are considering either openly supporting Josh or silently supporting him through their vote. I would encourage them to search within their hearts and make the determination that they feel is best.”

Wisconsin flipped from former President Donald Trump to Biden in 2020 primarily because Trump did not grow his share of the vote in Republican areas as much as Biden did. While gerrymandering protects a disproportional GOP majority in the state Legislature, the state as a whole remains in play and Republican candidates don’t have many voters if, as in Pennsylvania, they begin to pull back from a Trump wing that defends or encourages insurrection.


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.



Local News

Related Stories
Share This