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pennsylvania primaries

Josh Shapiro, Doug Mastriano to face off in Pennsylvania governor's race

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) won his state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, setting up a faceoff in November against the projected winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary, Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano, a state senator, has been a vocal proponent of former President Donald Trump's false claim of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. He attempted to launch a partisan audit of Pennsylvania's ballots, and was recorded outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. In his endorsement of Mastriano, Trump said he's "a fighter like few others, and has been with me right from the beginning, and now I have an obligation to be with him."

Shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday, Shapiro tweeted that "no matter which dangerous extremist we're against this November, the stakes are too damn high for anything but a victory." In Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state, in charge of elections and signing off on electors. During an earlier interview with CNN, Shapiro said Pennsylvania is "the ultimate swing state, the epicenter of the battle to protect our democracy," and the next governor "is going to have a lot to say about the future of democracy."

Because of Mastriano's far-right views, some Republican leaders have worried he won't fare well with more moderate voters. "Sen. Mastriano has appeal to base Republicans, but I fear the Democrats will destroy him with swing voters," Pennsylvania state Senate Republican floor leader Kim Ward wrote in a Facebook post last week. "The goal isn't to win the primary. Winning the primary and losing the general because the candidate is unable to get the votes in the middle isn't a win. We need a candidate who can win in November."