Speed Reads

eleventh hour

Trump endorses Doug Mastriano for Pennsylvania governor

Former President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he was endorsing state Sen. Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial Republican primary, The Hill reports.

"There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano," Trump said in a statement. Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent argued Thursday that Mastriano went beyond trying "to help Trump overturn the [2020] election" by declaring "his support for the notion that the popular vote can be treated as non-binding when it comes to the certification of presidential electors."

Trump also praised Mastriano for his positions on immigration, abortion, criminal justice, and gun rights.

Polling conducted earlier this month had Mastriano leading his closest competitor — former Rep. Lou Barletta — by 10 points ahead of Tuesday's primary election. The winner of that contest will likely face Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in November.

Just two days before Trump announced his low-risk, eleventh-hour endorsement of Mastriano, he released a statement defending Mehmet Oz (R) — his pick for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat — against surging challenger Kathy Barnette (R).

"Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats. She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted," Trump wrote. The former president still hedged his bet, however, writing that "if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party — and I will be behind her all the way."