Doug Mastriano campaigns for governor with support from Florida Gov. DeSantis


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks at Turning Point Action’s “Unite and Win” rally Downtown on Friday evening.

By Punya Bhasin, News Editor

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor, at a Friday rally. Mastriano called on about 1,000 supporters at the Downtown Wyndham hotel to “make Pennsylvania free” ahead of the November election. 

Mastriano has struggled in the polls recently against Democratic challenger Josh Shapiro. He’s been out-fundraised and relied mostly on word-of-mouth and social media to attract support. Turning Point Action’s “Unite and Win” rallies are seeking more national attention for Mastriano and other candidates backed by former president Donald Trump. 

Photos: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis endorses Doug Mastriano

Mastriano, who organizers introduced to the crowd as a “grassroots governor,” said he plans to be “the biggest pain in the butt Joe Biden has ever dealt with.” He talked about his plans to eradicate critical race theory in school, crack down on crime and increase accountability in elections. 

Mastriano also brought out his wife, Rebbeca Mastriano, who spoke about her “laundry list” for women’s rights, which doesn’t include abortion access.

“They say we don’t believe in women’s rights, but we know better and we 100% support the fights of women including, first off, their right to be born,” she said. “We support a women’s right to choose her child’s education, a women’s right to baby formula as well as affordable food for her family and we believe in a women’s right to a community that follows law and order.”

Mastriano called Shapiro a “failure” and a “loser” and said he should be fired from his job as attorney general.

“He doesn’t want to talk about his party or the media about how he is weak on crime,” Mastriano said. “They don’t want to talk about crime going up 37% since he’s been attorney general and this guy’s a failure and we need to fire him.”

Mastriano said his “day one action plans” if elected governor include decreasing participation in environmental and green initiatives. 

“On day one we will be out of the regional greenhouse initiatives and we will drill,” Mastriano said. “We will not be hosts to illegal immigrants anymore and critical race theory will be out of our schools and no more men on the girl’s teams.”

Gov. DeSantis said Pennsylvania is potentially the most important swing state, and that Mastriano is the governor to “bring back order” to Pennsylvania. He added that Mastriano will fight Pennsylvania’s “woke ideologies,” which he called a “really disruptive mind virus” that affects various institutions.  

“Mastriano will be a law and order governor and we need a governor like him who’s going to be tough on illegal immigration in the legislature and can sign a ban on sanctuary cities,” DeSantis said.”

About a dozen protesters, chanting “gay lives matter” and carrying signs that called Mastriano a “traitor,” gathered outside the rally. They criticized Mastriano’s plan to ban gay marriage

The event also drew outrage from religious leaders in Pittsburgh and Florida, who called out Mastriano’s payments to Gab, a social media platform the Anti-Defamation League labeled a “haven for extremists, conspiracy theorists and misinformation.”  

Mastriano told his supporters to vote in November to keep Pennsylvania “free.”

“Don’t go on the defense,” Mastriano said. “Remind the people of Pennsylvania that Josh Shapiro is wrong for Pa. and you guys have an opportunity to make Pennsylvania free.”