The goal for every Republican, moderate Democrat, Independent, and minor party voter should be to beat Josh Shapiro in November. With such a crowded primary field in the Republican primary on May 17, that goal seems elusive as the day approaches.

There are 25 candidates running on the Republican primary ballot between the governor, lt. governor, and U.S. Senate races. For most voters, this is an overwhelming number of candidates to research and make an informed decision about the best candidate. Combine 25 candidates with an unopposed Democratic Governor candidate in the primary, and the analysis becomes more complicated.

After living under Gov. Wolf’s reign for the past eight years, and, more specifically, his mandates over the past two years, it is imperative that voters see change in the executive office in Harrisburg come next January. Therefore, voters must elect the candidates in May who have the best opportunity to challenge the Democrats and their status quo offerings. As far as the lieutenant governor’s race is concerned, the best asset to the Republican ticket is Clarice Schillinger.

Schillinger has worked tirelessly over the past two years to re-open schools, end mask and vaccine mandates, address curriculum and transparency issues, and stand as a voice for every child and parent across our Commonwealth. She started two political action committees at her kitchen table to support high-quality school board candidates that put our kids first. Back to School PA supported over 200 school board candidates across the Commonwealth, and almost 60% won their races. Her efforts resulted in electing over 130 school board members who immediately ended mandates and started asking hard questions about the other agendas inside our schools.

READ MORE — Clarice Schillinger: Moms of the midterms

Schillinger has stood up to the Pennsylvania State Teachers Association (PSEA) and their agenda, which has nothing to do with supporting student outcomes — or even supporting teachers. She has not benefited from special interest donations and would never accept money from groups like the PSEA. 

In order to win in November, Republicans must have a ticket that will appeal to more than just their base. The Republicans have a 600,000 voter registration deficit statewide, so it will take independent voters and moderate Democrats to put them on the path to victory. 

Between Clarice’s work as a legislative aide and Back to School PA, voters can trust that she will find common ground and bring moderates to the ticket in November. She worked as a legislative aide in both the House and the Senate before leaving her career to stay home with her children during virtual learning. She was fortunate to be in that position and understood that many families, particularly single parents, did not have that luxury. There is no other candidate who would bring that type of experience and perspective to the ticket.

When Republicans vote on May 17, they should be focused on the November election. Which candidates have the best chance of winning in the general election? Not every Republican candidate can beat the eventual Democratic nominee. If the winners of the Republican primary cannot win in November, then we are destined for four more years of mandates, lockdowns, economic downturns, school issues, and whatever else comes our way in Pennsylvania.

Beth Ann Rosica has a Ph.D. in Education and has dedicated her career advocating on behalf of underserved children and families. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Back to School PA, however, this editorial is written from her personal perspective.

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