State Sen. Doug Mastriano gave his first post-election interview last week to News Talk 103.7 FM in Chambersburg last week, in a wide ranging 24-minute interview that touched on topics like fundraising, Mastriano’s media strategy, and the GOP coalition. Mastriano was the GOP nominee for governor this year, losing to Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro by a 56-41 margin.
Mastriano was the GOP nominee for governor this year, losing to Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro by a 56-41 margin.
This interview has been lightly edited.
Let’s bring on state Senator Colonel Doug Mastriano for his first interview after the election has been, uh, put to bed. Doug, good morning.
Good Morning. It seems appropriate to actually give this exclusive to you guys rather than other outlets that have been asking me. So here we go.
We appreciate that, Doug. Let’s start with the money here. We’ve got a lot of topics to try to cover here, but the big dollar difference between your campaign and other campaigns. What was the spend, in the end, comparatively? If you have any of those figures in front of you.
Yeah, off the top of my head — so these won’t be accurate, but they’ll be pretty close. I believe ours in the end was $5 million, and I believe Josh Shapiro was around $50 million.
That’s remarkable. I was looking at the [David] Trone versus [Neil] Parrott race in Maryland, and Trone over $10 million, and Neil was short of a million, somewhere between $700,000 and $900,000. The money is remarkable.
And I think the Neil Parrott race kind of proves some of the harshest criticism, Doug. You know, and let’s say it’s a complicated reason for the results. There’s no one thing. But people wanna say, oh, it was, you know, uh, having too conservative of a candidate here in Pennsylvania, the wrong candidate.
Well, Neil Parrot didn’t have the same issues that you had to face in terms of Maryland’s very set in its abortion laws, and nobody was terribly worried that was gonna change in Maryland. There was no close race where a so-called “extreme” candidate had a chance. So, and he actually had a re-gerrymandered — that he worked very hard for properly getting away from Democratic gerrymandering.
By all accounts he should have won, and he didn’t either. So we have to look at the overall complication here of the turnout, which I — for you was very good. But the process that’s been taken over by the Democrats that I think Republicans have missed in terms of this campaign season of five weeks in mail-in voting. I mean, we have to look at all of this.
Well, you know, just for a perspective for everybody. So, um, on same-day voting, I won the election by 70,000 votes. It was the mail-in that, of course, changed everything. And, uh, the mail-in favored Josh Shapiro, I think, uh, four to one, which is, which was indicative of last time, the last election.
You know, as far as the number of votes we received, we received 2.2 million votes, that’s more than any other Republican gubernatorial candidate in the history of the state. I did some research, the next guy behind me is Corbett at 2.1 million, and then after that is the Wagner [election] at 2 million. [Editor’s note: this is incorrect, Republican Bill Scranton received 2.4 million votes in his successful campaign for governor in 1962.]
And, and we’re talking guys that were backed by the party establishment that had all the PACs coming in with money, throwing money, attacking their opponent. For us, well, we didn’t get any real outside help except one group. Americans for Prosperity came in the week before and started hitting Josh Shapiro. But Josh Shapiro marched through the entire year through a primary and through a general election without anybody going after him.
So basically, in many ways we were on our own. He — and plus he had the media out there doing his hatchet work for him. And so the man did not need to go dirty and did not go low, but he went as low and as nasty, as dirty as Democrats could go. It just shows you his, his character. He could have run a clean race as I did, and probably would’ve still won because he had so much support around him while we were left hanging.
It’s Colonel Doug Mastriano here on News Talk 103.7 FM, your state senator. You know, Doug, we looked at and listened to [Sean] Hannity and Tucker [Carlson] and [radio host] Joe Pags uh, they all cut a path for you, but certainly not to the level as the, the overboard on Hannity with [Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Mehmet] Oz. And, uh, and I’m, I’m disappointed at all three of those guys that they gave you a bit of air time, but certainly not to the level as, as they did trying to pull Oz to the finish line.
I was glad to be on Hannity’s show at that time when he showed up in New York City, but, you know, I was given five minutes and it was — it was the Oz show. And, okay, be that as it may, I don’t think that, that some of the commentators, like such as some of those you mentioned, understand that, you know, they’re thinking that the Senate race affects everybody in the nation and maybe the governor’s race, not so much.
But I, you know, I tried to make the case that’s not Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is an energy power, and we have the power, the possibility in many ways… do things, what other states can’t. With our energy sector, you know, driving down inflation, driving down energy costs, normally that’s more a federal issue. But Pennsylvania, because of those resources, and if you’re properly managed as they would under me, we could really turn a corner economically for this nation in many ways.
Indeed, you know, a brighter, stronger economic light than Florida or Texas — you know, in Texas as well is an energy power — because we just, we have such a diversity of energy under our feet.
And on the other side here, you know, with Oz, Oz received a lot of support from the US federal Senate under [Kentucky Senator Mitch] McConnell. McConnell, I believe spent at least $60 million in backing him. So in his race, I think all said and done, and it was about $300 million spent by, by both candidates, largely Fetterman’s money obviously, but with a hundred million dollars coming in from outside sources and, and some internal sources for Oz there still, he had trouble, you know, getting across the line as well.
And we’re talking about a completely different race where he’s running against basically a corpse in many ways. Hate to be that crude….
Yeah. Doug, you…
Been a walkthrough….
We lost this for a second there, so please continue. Sorry.
Yeah. To, to face a candidate with such, you know……ability as, as we saw Fetterman there and, uh, and still Oz can beat him, and that, that, you know — despite having all the support of the outside organizations. There’s 2000 conservative PACs out there, and he had a lot of money coming in from those conservative PACs to help him win the Senate race, and it didn’t help him.
Yeah, you put Kathy Barnette in that race, and you put Kathy Barnette in Philly, and you put Kathy Barnette to the finish line, we would’ve, it would’ve been a much different world today. And I know Kathy Barnette would’ve certainly, uh, recognized you a little bit more than Oz certainly did. Janssen…
And we also have the, like I said, the complication — Glenn Beck had a show this week talking about voter integrity. There’s a great conservative group trying to wake people up to what the Democrats have achieved in terms of voter and vote-ballot harvesting that may be technically legal, but, and also, uh, the fear-mongering of Generation Z.
I think these are the two biggest factors, Doug, that despite all the other, uh, factors we’re talking about, really helped the Democrats. And she said, Pennsylvania is the poster child for a bunch of Republicans stupidly allowing their very ignorant leadership to guide them into that five weeks of election season voting.
We know that the Bush administration put the whole government every, every, uh, cabinet with an executive order behind getting new voters. And there was a ton of money dumped into that, mostly taken up by liberal progressive non-profits who did a great job, we gotta give them credit — getting voters who traditionally don’t vote. And we had a story this morning about the messages that hit the youngest generation that convinced them they were voting against badness by voting for Democrats — not how to think, but what to think.
So these are the things that we have to change going forward, Doug. Nobody realized how bad that was going to be. We certainly saw it around here. They were very good at collecting new voters who typically do not vote, who may not have all the best information, but their votes still count.
Well, we know that for a fact because we have Representative [Tony] DuLuca out in Penn Hills outside of Pittsburgh here, who, you know, sadly, tragically passed away, who died two months ago. And, uh, he won re-election with like 80-some percent of the vote.
And if you’re relying upon, you know, low-information voters that get out and vote and just hit the “D” button here, Democrats are better at that than us. And you’re right, we haven’t learned anything on this mail-in voting.
When, when the mail-in voting [results were] dropped from Allegheny and Pittsburgh, you know, I, I could never make up that deficit that, that deficit on election night despite getting over 2.2 million votes. It just, it created a gap that — I thought I would see, you know, the red wave coming in from the Republican counties, you know, boosting me and, and, and making that race closer and even eventually having me prevail. But it was insurmountable.
And, you’re right, having a voting month-and-a-half is just insane. And I just don’t know who came up with that long of a period ‘cause it’s asking for trouble. And the Democrats definitely do go, do, go out and do well in, in convincing those to do no-excuse mail-in and voting out there in great numbers.
We’re with, uh, State Senator Colonel Doug Massiano here on News Talk 103.7 FM.
Doug, the decisions made at the time, or that you made them, along the campaign were appropriate for the time. Looking back, should you have done more with the media? Uh, I, I know [Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate] Kari Lake did — even though she lost — she was very, uh, aggressive with the media — turning it around saying, here, let’s see the cameras, or let’s see the information. Let’s — you have a handful of people that are saying one thing or another. She was very effective in repositioning the media as the… as largely incompetent.
You avoided the media for a great bit here, but some of the decisions, do you look back and go, ‘You know, what, uh, [if I] had it to do all over again, I might have done it differently’?
I mean, there’s a couple narratives that the media crafted for Josh Shapi…, and, and it is really disgusting how dishonest they are. Most of the media works hard for the Democrats. You know, I did a,… well, you know, first off, to dispel that — I was doing between three and ten media hits a day, the last two months of the campaign, in between, in events on the road, on the bus, I mean, it was insane the amount of encounters I had with the media.
Uh, it wasn’t with all of ’em. I mean, if it, I definitely, um, didn’t wanna have anything to do with the Inquirer since the Inquirer is completely in Josh Shapiro and the [Democratic National Committee’s] pocket. Uh, I have not seen a decent fair piece come out of them politically, you know, in some time, sadly.
I turned away the Washington Post because they enjoy mocking people’s faith. And I, I said during my primary election that, uh, if you mock anyone’s faith, you know, and you’re a religious bigot in that regard, we have no place or tolerance for you. That’s not America.
And so some of them cut themselves out because of their hate, they’ve very bad, nasty pens attacking people, you know, mocking people, trying to call ’em names. Uh, I’m not gonna be an enabler for that kind of radical, far-left extremism personified by some of those outlets.
So doing three to five media, three to ten media, it — [I] did a press conference on crime, um, in Lancaster — had a ton of media there, and it was telling to me that in this 30-minute press conference after a rally where I stood in front of them, laid out my case and answered questions from anybody who was there — not one question about crime.
And, uh, the point was, it doesn’t help Josh Shapiro. So none of those, none of those misguided individuals that were calling themselves reporters there, uh, wanted to ask questions that are relevant that might hurt their boy, Josh.
And so the media, anytime I engage with him, you know, it was, there was always an angle trying to avoid, uh, Shapiro’s weak points and, and go after things that they think that helped him, which is very interesting to me.
So, no — wouldn’t do it different.
You know, I, — and, and that’s the problem. When you don’t, when you don’t have, uh, a media which does have, you know, influence on your side, it does cause problems. So my initial offer, and, and just so people know, we offered Josh Shapiro, you know, initial debate terms like 90 days ago, a hundred days ago.
And how that works is one candidate offers, it just doesn’t end there. The other candidate says, ‘No, I think that’s a terrible idea, and, you know, we wanna do it this way, or we will do it this — your way with amendments.’ And Josh Shapiro took that and said, ‘Nope, we’re not gonna do it. This is not a serious, uh, offer. We’re gonna run, run away from you and, and never engage with you again.’
And, and the media just, uh, you know, they’re on his side. If that was a Republican, they, they would’ve slayed him every day in the media, humiliated him for, you know, not offering the people of Pennsylvania a debate.
The people of Pennsylvania should have seen how, how feckless and weak Shapiro was, but he refused to do it, and the media was okay with that. And you just — we constantly see these double standards. So they hold us to these, these standards that are impossible to achieve — a perfection — while, while on their guy, they get grace and mercy. You know, for, for us they’re looking for that needle in that haystack there and try to burn you with it. And, uh, that, that was a bit frustrating.
But the bright point is we had the statewide movement. We got 2.2 million votes, almost 2.3 million votes at this point. And, uh, I’m keeping this movement alive. We’ve had this walk, this free-people movement for two years here. Uh, the people that stayed here did more, got me more votes than any other Republican ever got for a gubernatorial race, that, that’s quite an achievement.
And that, the Wagner election, I think the party only has five percent of the polls manned. We had almost 70 or 80 percent of the polls manned. I can’t remember exactly what it was, uh, which was quite an achievement. I mean, that was all our hard work, that that’s what ensured, and of course, that we won on election day. But then of course, there’s gotta be a better plan with this, these no-excuse mail-in voting, because that, that’s just tearing up the whole norms and how elections are run in Pennsylvania.
Oh, and across the country! We’re, we’re seeing now what happened in Arizona, I mean, in Maricopa County, these things are going to make people unsure of our voting, uh, election process. You know, as I said, we blew it here in Pennsylvania.
The integrity-voting people said we had one of the best systems in the country before Act 77. It was very secure. People had to have an excuse for absentee ballots, which means, gives anybody a chance, who can’t come on voting day to easily do their vote. It’s no more complicated than the mail-in voting now, but, um, more secure. And, and, and if we don’t fix that, Doug, people are gonna be unsure about elections. And that’s the biggest threat to democracy for all their blustering.
Plus, you know, we heard all about, oh, all the threats and intimidation from the right for this election. Where was it? There was none. In fact, the only thing I heard about was a guy in Pittsburgh who was just there campaigning at the, at the polling place, you know, saying, ‘Hey, if you didn’t like what’s going on, vote for Republicans.’ And somebody in a very ugly, horrible way called him a white supremacist just because he was a Republican. I didn’t see any of that, uh, manufactured media voter intimidation and threat that they kept yammering on about week after week after week.
And remember, Doug, it’s all your fault too. You tend to take the, and they’ll continue to point every fault, uh, in this cycle now, back to you.’ Act 77, uh, according to, you know, the keyboard warriors and the little-minded keyboard warrior-ettes, Act 77 is all your fault. Uh, uh, they don’t fail — they fail to realize there were a whole bunch of other people that jumped in on that one, foolishly.
Well, the, the blame game’s gonna be there, and I’m not gonna get involved with it, you know? Cause here’s the deal. Um, the best candidate to run for this election is the guy who won the primary and the establishment tried really hard to get their guy, you know, various, you know, [former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain] was at first the pick of Commonwealth Partners, and they threw $16 million, you know, towards his way.
And, uh, we didn’t see any sort of help like that from them during the pri — during the general election when we needed them. Uh, of course, you know, the swamp got behind, uh, Lou — as much as we loved Lou — but he was a swamp pick when McSwain couldn’t do it on his own. And despite having $16 million, only achieving 16 percent of the vote. So, you know, a couple candidates dropped out in the primary to try to get the — solidify behind Lou, and, uh, that didn’t work either. And so I won the primary with overwhelming numbers.
So the best candidate for the general election — that’s why we have a primary Republicans — and so the party leaders, if they’re saying anything different there, that means they wanna pick somebody from the primary. They think the voters are too unintelligent to do so.
Uh, we won with a massive margin of almost 25 percent of the vote over, uh, Lou Barletta who came in second. I mean, we were told I could not get more than 20 percent of the vote. You know, we’re constantly attacked by the Republicans in the primary. So there’s a few things if I look there,
I wanna ask you about. Go ahead, Doug.
There was damage done to, uh, you know, my reach and influence with other Republicans by being bashed with $16 million of PAC money, you know, in support of McSwain against me. And they broke Ronald Reagan’s rule, ‘Thou shalt not speaking ill of other Republicans.’ So that takes time to rebuild. and maybe some people never came back to me as a result.
Meanwhile, Josh Shapiro marched right through the primary without a challenge. And so he had the party united behind him. He had all the money in the world coming in. He — nobody held back anything, and although he is the radical, dangerous candidate, he’s, he’s a damaged candidate. He’s got a terrible record. And, uh, I, I had thought, wrongly, that we see some of these wealthy PACs these, these political action committees that raise tens of millions dollars from the Pennsylvania energy sector, and, uh, they’d not spend a plug nickel to help, uh, these businessmen who thought, uh, that that they would, you know, give through these PACs instead of directly to my campaign.
And those PACs took their money elsewhere. They, they played it in races they lost in New England and in the northwest of America.
And so my lesson learned for the wealthy businessmen out there, especially conservative ones that, and that claim to be Christian, you ought not be giving to these PACs anymore. You need to give directly to the campaigns because, uh, they just, uh, threw the election to Shapiro, did not lift a finger to help the Republican candidates win this race here. And now, your businesses, your jobs, regulation, everything now is in jeopardy,
Right? We’re on a clock here, Doug. A couple, two more questions.
Quickly, I wanna talk about leadership changes. We did just get, um, uh, [State Senator] Kim Ward put in leadership in the [Pennsylvanis state] senate, and I’m very, very pleased to hear that we need to make sure the senate, which still has [Republican] control, is able to block some of this more leftist extremism.
Uh, now the [Pennsylvania] House [of Representatives] is still in jeopardy. And again, Montgomery County — completely opaque. We have no idea what votes are still left to be counted there. I know the overseas ones, but then they suddenly got quiet when the Republican candidate came up by a few more votes and won’t tell us what votes are left. Uh, I think we have to try to fix the voting election system here in PA, and I want your comment on the leadership change in the Senate.
Control of the House, uh, up in the air — there’s just two seats left, and they’re very close. And then of course, the third seat is the, the guy who passed away, the Democratic passed away out in, uh, Penn Hills.
You know, ironically, that that’s the, uh, district that Kari Lake — I’m sorry, not Kari Lake — Carrie Delrosso my running mate — she now lives in that district where they cut her out of her own district. And so we’ll see what her plans are. She’s, she’s got some decisions to make, uh, but, uh, we really do need to win these two, uh, contested seats. Obviously, it’s tough because the longer it goes on and the more ballots that are found, it always favors the Democrats. So we’ll see where that goes. But we do have control of the senate. Our control is, uh, 28 to 22 in, in the majority.
And so, um, whatever happens with the, with the House, so we will be the firewall here, of the leadership. It, it’s a new birth, it’s a new breath. You know, we, we’ve seen the end of 43 years of, of a [Senator Jake] Corman dynasty, uh, leave. He was our outgoing president pro tem. And, you know, that stood in the way of, of our attempts to get election integrity and election reform done that, what, has had over a year ago now? So the past two years.
So I think you’ll see about better leadership within the House, and you’ll see a more cooperative and, uh, more willing to communicate. Um, the majority leader, of course, is, uh, Senator Joe Pittman out of Indiana County. He’s a good man. I was sworn in together with him back on, uh, November 10th, 2019, and I think we’ll get a lot of work done underneath him. He’s gonna be fantastic.
With Doug Mastriano for a second or so more here. Doug, you get the last word, uh, with us here. And thanks for, uh, getting the time with us. We’ve certainly gone over here, but, um, a lot of people spend a lot of time and are, uh, walking as free people and believing in, in what your, uh, what your cause is here. So, uh, uh, last words for you, please.
Well, you know, I’m just so humbled. Rebbi and I traveled the state here and, and we couldn’t, could not have done this movement with, without the love and support of just tens of thousands of people.
I mean, our last event was in Montgomery County, and we had about a thousand people show up down the street from Josh Shapiro’s house. And when I’m seeing these sort of turnouts in Democrat enclaves, you know, we, we had no reason to believe that we’re gonna lose because, you know, the, the positive attitude we had was like, wow, wherever we go, even in Democrat neighborhoods in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh or Erie, we get this amazing turnout in reception.
And that was in part because of the hard work of our thousands of volunteers. And, you know, listening right now to some of your sponsors, you know, Everlast, Everlasting Love Flowers, they’ve been amazing to us. You know, Interstate Doors, you know, Dean, he, he’s been fantastic sometimes driving our, our RV campaign bus around the state and, uh, and all unpaid, and people were serious about taking their state back.
And so, just my final thought — I know we’re on short on time here — is don’t despair. Don’t be part of the problem and say, ‘well, I’m not gonna vote since my guy didn’t win and I don’t trust the results,’ and, ‘you know, I think he won that.’ That’s the worst response you can have.
Look, let’s keep this movement alive. My plan is to keep the ‘walk as free people’ strong and going. We have 2.2 million of us. We are the largest block in, in the northeastern part of America and mid-Atlantic states here. So let’s use that opportunity here to have people like-minded on school boards or in the county committees or in local government.
And, uh, that’s the way we affect change. In the meantime, we’ll have another gubernatorial race in four years and, uh, hopefully, uh, be able to tighten up election law. In the meantime here, stay blessed, stay strong and stay encouraged. The people that backed me and through their time and money in our campaign here, you did something that has not happened anywhere in America but people, the people ran the movement. And, uh, we did darn well. Yeah, we did lose thanks to the mail-in votes, but, uh, you brought in 2.2 million votes, and that’s more than any other Republican in the history of gubernatorial rates in Pennsylvania. So, well done. We got a movement and we’re gonna move forward.
Doug, are you gonna remain a state senator here in Pennsylvania?
Yeah, absolutely. I had work last night and, uh, there’s a lot of work there we’re gonna do. And I, I’m, I’m, uh, proud and excited. We passed some bills to help people. We passed the, my, some of my bills on opiate legislation passed — that’s gonna save lives physically on the ground across the state.
And, uh, of course we passed legislation to protect our tow truck operators. We, we did two bills that were signed into law and, uh, that that’s gonna be in effect here shortly as well. So we’re gonna keep on doing things that matter and make a difference.
We’re gonna protect freedom. We’re gonna serve as a firewall against radicalism coming out of, uh, Shapiro’s administration ‘cause uh, he stands for everything that I’m the opposite of. He, you know, he, he hosted the drag queen, uh, story time or bingo or whatever. You know, he, he’s, he’s good…he wanted to dismiss the case on the disgusting pornographic books, uh, being in this elementary school libraries. He wants his books there. He, he push, he’s pushing back — uh, he’s against school choice. I mean, just, I’m not going down the list.
I gotcha. Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, he, uh, he came out and said, ‘oh yeah, school choice is something we should look at.’ I’ll tell one thing.
Michele Jansen: He claims he’s got a mandate now. No, he does not.
I’ll tell you one thing that the last guy that’s gonna be looking at school choice is gonna be Josh Shapiro. He, he looked at, it’s on a piece of paper.
Unions are too, he’s too obligated to the unions.
So listen, Doug, thanks very much for your time and, uh, we look forward to seeing in the hallways very soon in person. Thank you. And best of re
Thank you. Love you guys. Appreciate it.
State Senator Colonel Doug Mastriano here on News Talk 103.7 FM.