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Trump Endorses Doug Mastriano for Pennsylvania Governor

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Former President Donald J. Trump on Saturday endorsed Doug Mastriano, a retired colonel and state senator who has propagated myriad false claims in regards to the 2020 election and attended the protest leading as much as the Capitol riot, within the Republican primary race for governor of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Trump made his selection three days before the state’s Tuesday primary, a political blessing that serves to extend the previous president’s standing as much as Mr. Mastriano’s.

“There isn’t a one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for election integrity,” Mr. Trump said in a press release, adding that Mr. Mastriano would also “fight violent crime, strengthen our borders, protect life, defend our under-siege Second Amendment, and help our military and our vets.”

A Fox News poll released Tuesday showed Mr. Mastriano with a lead of 12 percentage points over his closest primary rival, former Representative Lou Barletta.

Since then, Mr. Barletta has sought to coalesce support from Republicans wary of nominating Mr. Mastriano. Two fellow candidates dropped out and endorsed Mr. Barletta, as have a couple of distinguished former elected officials, including former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Trump, whose chosen candidate for governor of Nebraska lost a primary on Tuesday, is prone to one other blemish on his record in Pennsylvania’s Senate race. His pick, the tv personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, has did not put daylight between himself and a field of candidates.

Mr. Mastriano has long been an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump. He used campaign money to arrange buses to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, and, last month, campaigned at an event that promoted the outlandish QAnon conspiracy theory.

Pennsylvania Republicans not aligned with the Mastriano campaign have said he cannot win a general election against Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania attorney general who’s the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor. Mr. Shapiro’s campaign recently began airing television advertisements that appeared intended to lift Mr. Mastriano’s standing amongst Republican primary voters.

In a press release after the endorsement on Saturday, Mr. Barletta said, “Throughout this campaign I actually have proved that I’m the perfect Republican to unite the Republican Party and defeat Josh Shapiro, and I’ll proceed unifying our grass-roots conservatives towards our shared goal.”

He added, “I sit up for having President Trump’s endorsement Wednesday morning.”

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