PENNSYLVANIA — Republicans’ “hot mess” of a gubernatorial primary is heating up, and candidates in the crowded field are adopting a shared strategy — attacking GOP frontrunner and far-right firebrand Doug Mastriano. Mastriano has long championed the MAGA agenda as a supporter of Donald Trump, and ever since he entered the race, the other candidates have been racing to keep up. Now, Jake Corman, Bill McSwain, Dave White, and Lou Barletta are getting down into the mud and attacking their fellow Republican candidate in a desperate bid to win over the MAGA base.

Last year, Corman tried to weaken Mastriano’s momentum months before he even officially entered the race — orchestrating a legislative coup by taking over his sham audit of the 2020 presidential election and reassigning his staffers. 

Now, Corman’s picking up where he left off. This week, he escalated his attacks — making a media play to revive his campaign by calling for Mastriano to be investigated for his campaign finance report, after Mastriano announced that he had raised over one million dollars from mostly grassroots donors. In his statement, Corman didn’t hold back on his long-time rival, claiming Mastriano broke the law while also calling him “the leading Republican defender of Larry Krasner.”

It’s not just Corman — the other GOP candidates are also attacking Mastriano. Bill McSwain has criticized Mastriano whenever possible, saying, “any candidate who voted for Act 77, the unconstitutional Act 77, in my mind is disqualified from being governor.” Dave White also targeted Mastriano, saying of Mastriano’s vote in favor of Act 77, “I believe it’s disqualifying.” Lou Barletta has also attacked Act 77, but his team took things a step further, attempting to regroup after a lackluster fundraising report by framing the primary “as a 2-person race between Lou and Mastriano.”

“The GOP primary is getting messier by the day, and since all of the candidates are fighting for Donald Trump’s support, they’re now turning to a new strategy: attacking far-right firebrand and ‘Super MAGA’ primary frontrunner Doug Mastriano,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa Nahem. “Political insiders like Jake Corman are desperately trying to revive their campaigns with these attacks, and as the double digit GOP field follows Mastriano deeper down the conspiracy theorist rabbithole — embracing every far-right litmus test to please Trump and the MAGA base — they’ll continue to show Pennsylvanians that they’re too out-of-touch for our Commonwealth.”