Republicans shouldn’t have had any trouble winning in Pennsylvania. Joe Biden is extremely unpopular. The inflation rate is now at 8 percent. A lunatic who had suffered a stroke before becoming a lunatic was nominated by the Democrats to be their senatorial candidate. The outgoing Wolf administration was responsible for nearly eight years radical progressivism within a commonwealth which is neither progressive nor radical.
The Republicans were able to blow it.
Despite the success Trump-endorsed candidates enjoyed Tuesday night, there was no luck for Pennsylvania candidates. In what could have been an opportunity for Republicans, Mehmet Oz lost to Doug Mastriano. Oz was defeated by a stroke victim who couldn’t form coherent sentences. Mastriano was defeated by a Wolf administration employee by two-digits. John Fetterman was apparently prepping for lawfare and had a lawyer. Both races were done before midnight.
Oz is a Democrat by heart and that was evident on the campaign trail. His support for federal gay marriage initiatives was tweeted completely unprompted. His famous video ranting about the cost of crudite was emblematic for his entire campaign. He was outsider in the worst possible way. Michael Brendan Dougherty noted that Oz was not comfortable defending Republican priorities in the debate and was not well-versed in conservative arguments. He warned John Fetterman that “Fetterman takes all things to an extreme” in his opening speech. This is a contentless accusation that shows that a person doesn’t know what he’s talking.
He was unable to perform in nearly every rural county of the commonwealth and received thousands less votes than Trump in 2020 in states like Washington, Cumberland, and Warren. While his messaging improved over time, Fetterman was correct that Oz was not a Pennsylvanian.
Oz tried at least to win. He worked hard and won despite a large gap in the polls. All accounts indicate that he was sharp in the private, and quick to learn on the trail.
Doug Mastriano was a state senator chosen by Donald Trump to defend the president’s strongest claims about 2020. Trump wasn’t the only one who wanted Mastriano to be a Republican in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election. Josh Shapiro, Mastriano’s eventual opponent, spent hundreds of thousand of dollars on boosting his chances in the Republican primary. It was a smart investment as Mastriano appeared almost certain to lose his party nomination.
Through September, Mastriano had not run one campaign ad. Mastriano made very little effort to raise funds. He had less $400,000 at the end of his third reporting cycle. He did not engage in any “mainstream media” he considered, including Pennsylvania-based outlets that could have helped him gain more respect among independents.
It sounds bold, but it’s not. You have to be a good sport. Kari Lake has succeeded in doing that. Mastriano did not.
His policy was to only speak to diehards. His “outreach,” which was a lot of it, came mainly via Facebook where he posted memes and articles for his followers. It didn’t even amount to a gubernatorial election campaign, however.
Mastriano believed in and said many of the right things. He was correct about abortion. He stood firm on education, crime and inflation, which are the most important issues in the cycle. He sat in the background while his opponent and media framed him. This was a ploy. Doug Mastriano may not want them to, but “mainstream media” exists. Even if Mastriano believes that the outlets they see are liberal, people still watch local news. They will speak for him if he doesn’t speak to them. They did.
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NBC Philadelphia reached out Mastriano’s campaign to get his opinion on abortion. Mastriano had the opportunity to present the case for life to commonwealth voters. He refused to highlight his opponent’s support for abortion at the moment of birth and instead allowed the station to describe his position without any challenge.
Mastriano claims he is prolife. If your opponent believes in abortion on request, it is best to be pro-life and win. In a swing state like Pennsylvania, you won’t win if you only speak to your Facebook friends and get two-minute hits from Newsmax. Republicans might wish they could. They may wish so. They can’t.
We must win elections if we truly care about unborn life and make sure that children don’t learn to hate their ancestors and themselves in school. To win elections, we must nominate quality candidates. This is why neither Oz nor Mastriano qualified. It is evident in the results.