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Memo: State of the Pennsylvania Governors Race

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To: Interested Parties

From: Marshall Cohen, DGA Political Director

Subject: State of the Pennsylvania Governors Race

As we head into the final stretch of the Pennsylvania primary we are starting to assess potential general election matchups. Given the importance of this open race, we can’t wait to start the fall campaign until we have an opponent.

The truth is any of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination have deep vulnerabilities that will make them unappealing to voters across Pennsylvania. These candidates have refused to focus on key issues that Pennsylvania voters care about – like creating jobs, improving education, and ensuring healthcare access.

On the other side, we are fortunate to have a strong Democratic nominee in Attorney General Josh Shapiro. A proven electoral winner, his campaign has brought together a broad coalition of voters and inspired thousands across the Commonwealth.

The following lays out how we see each candidate heading into the general election:


Your vote should count, but Doug Mastriano doesn’t think so. When his party lost the 2020 election, he tried to overturn the results. Mastriano supported a new law in Pennsylvania that would let politicians overturn the 2020 election results. He wanted to let the politicians in the legislature decide instead of you and pick the winner even after the vote count and election had been formally certified in Pennsylvania. Obviously, voters have as much concern about how past practices affect future performances.


Lou Barletta was a disaster as Mayor of Hazleton. He so mismanaged the city that it was a step closer to bankruptcy. Under his leadership, property taxes increased by 70 percent and the city had the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. And his record on crime was terrible. Crime soared by 104 percent while he was Mayor, but he cut the number of police by almost half within the first three years in office. The head of the Fraternal Order of Police said the cuts left police morale at “all-time low.”


Dave White is another Republican with dangerous views on key issues, including abortion. In fact, White is more extreme on abortion than most Republicans.  He recently said at a debate that there should be NO exceptions for rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger. At a time when Governors could decide the future of a woman’s right to choose in each state, we now know Dave White would put women’s lives at risk and ban abortion.


We can’t trust Bill McSwain. As a lawyer, Bill McSwain represented some very bad people. McSwain represented the founder of a sham charter school chain who was accused of ripping off taxpayers for $6.7 million and another client who took advantage of a US Department of Agriculture program that was meant to help American farmers. McSwain has spent a ton of campaign cash trying to tell you that he’s tough on corruption, the truth is he’s made a career of defending people accused of corruption and ripping off Pennsylvania taxpayers.