Clash of ideologies

Shapiro faces Mastriano in governor’s race

Posted 8/30/22

PENNSYLVANIA — It’s a big year in Pennsylvania politics. Aside from the key Senate race between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and television host Mehmet Oz, an outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf has paved …

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Clash of ideologies

Shapiro faces Mastriano in governor’s race


PENNSYLVANIA — It’s a big year in Pennsylvania politics. Aside from the key Senate race between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and television host Mehmet Oz, an outgoing Gov. Tom Wolf has paved the way for a bout of opposing ideologies between Democratic candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican candidate and PA Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Who are PA’s gubernatorial candidates?

Josh Shapiro (D): A Pennsylvania native, Shapiro was elected to the PA House of Representatives in 2005 and served until 2011. He then served as a commissioner in Pennsylvania’s third most populous county, Montgomery County, between 2011 and 2017. He was elected attorney general in 2017.

Among Shapiro’s most high-profile actions as attorney general was leading a grand jury investigation into the Catholic Church’s history of child abuse. Made public in 2018, the report revealed more than 1,000 child victims of sexual abuse perpetuated in Catholic dioceses across the commonwealth. Beyond the abuse itself, the report also documented church leaders’ attempts to keep it covered up.

More recently, Shapiro gained national attention again following the 2020 presidential election, when President Donald Trump perpetuated unsupported claims that Pennsylvania’s voting system had been rigged. He oversaw dozens of court cases—including one that reached the Supreme Court—defending the integrity of Pennsylvania’s voting results, in which President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Pennsylvania.

Doug Mastriano (R): A U.S. Army veteran, Mastriano began his military service at the end of the Cold War, and continued serving during subsequent operations in the Middle East. He was deployed to Iraq for Desert Storm, and to Afghanistan three times following 9/11. In 2019, he was elected to represent Adams County and parts of Franklin, York and Cumberland counties in the PA Senate.

As a senator, Mastriano has been a fervent opponent of PA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, holding rallies that called for a loosening of restrictions. He was also outspoken against mask mandates and vaccine requirements.

Mastriano has been a fierce supporter and defender of Trump, receiving the former president’s endorsement in the Republican primary. He co-signed the unsubstantiated claims that PA’s election results were untrustworthy, and therefore attempted to delay the state’s certification of results. Media reports and social media posts show that Mastriano was in Washington D.C. on January 6 when the Capitol Building was stormed. Finance records showed that the campaign arranged for multiple buses to transport Trump supporters to the capital that day.

He denies any involvement with the insurrection, and has not been charged with entering the building.

Where do they stand?

Abortion rights: Shapiro said that as governor, he will serve as the “last line of defense” for Pennsylvania women, and veto any legislation that comes across his desk that would restrict the right to an abortion in PA.

As a state senator, Mastriano has introduced legislation known as the “heartbeat bill,” which would require physicians to check for a heartbeat before performing an abortion. Mastriano said as governor he would sign this bill into law and end funding to Planned Parenthood. In a campaign video he posted to YouTube, he said that the slogan, “My body, my choice,” is “ridiculous nonsense.”

Lowering taxes: Both candidates are promising lower taxes for Pennsylvanians. Mastriano promises to establish a property tax elimination task force to introduce legislation that eliminates property taxes for all homeowners. He’s also promised to “slash the gas tax while maintaining level funding for roads and bridges,” and reduce the corporate net income tax rate to attract new employers to PA.

Shapiro said he will issue gas tax refunds of $250 (four per household) for every personal passenger vehicle registered in the commonwealth. Additionally, he’s promising to eliminate the state cellphone tax, and expand the Property Tax and Rent Rebate program by increasing the maximum rebate to $1,000 and making the program available to another 275,000 eligible people.

Education: Mastriano said he will call for an immediate ban on critical race theory and gender theory studies in PA’s public schools, and institute a “thorough review” of school districts’ diversity and inclusion plans. He would also be a champion of school choice, promising to provide state-funded vouchers—giving parents more freedom to send their children to private, charter or religious schools, he said. He has also stated that he would cut per-pupil spending nearly in half. According to recent report by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, if Mastriano’s plan was put into place, total public education revenue would decrease by nearly $13 billion, around 120,000 jobs would be lost,  and the state’s student-to-teacher ratios would double.

Shapiro said that he would continue Gov. Wolf’s work to increase spending on public education. He has also sided with parents and education advocates in an ongoing, landmark court case over PA’s school funding formula. In the case, the plaintiffs have argued that the state legislature is violating its own constitution by operating a funding formula that benefits wealthy schools and disadvantages poorer districts. Shapiro has filed an amicus brief to the suit, supporting the plaintiff’s position.

What do the polls say?

According to a recent poll published by Franklin & Marshall College, Shapiro is holding onto an advantage over Mastriano. The poll found that the attorney general leads the state senator 44 percent to 33 percent. Shapiro has also received a larger share of support from registered Democrats—76 percent—compared to Mastriano’s 66 percent support from registered Republicans. With independents, Shapiro is currently looking at 40 percent support, compared to Mastriano’s 24 percent.

Josh Shapiro, Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania, governor's race, election, abortion, insurrection, taxes, education


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