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Doug Mastriano announced he won't run for Senate: a relief for Pennsylvania Republicans

The state senator who lost by 15 points in 2022 assured that he will not seek Bob Casey Jr.'s seat in 2024, as he prefers to concentrate on his current position.

Doug Mastriano/Wikimedia Commons

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The Republican Party has a good chance of winning back the Senate in the 2024 elections. With almost no vulnerable seats in play, the electoral map offers many advantages to the GOP, given that the Democrats will have seven competitive seats in play. Among them, one of the most coveted for leadership is Pennsylvania, where Republicans have just received some good news for their aspirations: Doug Mastriano will not compete.

A retired military officer and current state senator, Mastriano was the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor in 2022. Despite being considered by some to be too extreme for a purple state, he got Donald Trump’s endorsement and won comfortably in the primary. Months later, he lost by 15 points to the Democratic candidate, Josh Shapiro, who posted the most significant margin of victory for a non-incumbent gubernatorial candidate since 1946.

This performance made Pennsylvania Republicans frown upon a new attempt at candidacy by the incumbent legislator, who flirted until the last minute with seeking the seat currently held by Bob Casey Jr.

He announced on Thursday, May 25, through a Facebook Live video: “At this time, we have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate, but to continue to serve in Harrisburg,” he said.

At the same time, he made it very clear that he intends to remain relevant in Pennsylvania politics. “We’re going to continue to grow our statewide network across the state in every county. We’re going to continue to be relevant,” he added while taking the opportunity to criticize the Republican leadership for abandoning him during the gubernatorial election.

Even Trump himself, who endorsed him in the previous elections, didn’t want to see Mastriano’s last name appear on the ballot. “Trump is no fool. He knows Mastriano will hurt him in Pennsylvania,” a major Republican donor confessed to POLITICO. “He regrets endorsing him in [2022],” a Trump adviser who was granted anonymity to speak openly told the same media outlet. “He says, ‘Doug blew it,’ “he added.

The GOP’s long-desired incumbent is Bob Casey Jr. The former governor’s son came to the Senate in 2007 and has since comfortably won his two re-election bids. His popularity and last name make him one of the strongest incumbents on the 2024 electoral map.

“Bob Casey is political royalty in Pennsylvania. He’s an incumbent senator who is beloved “. I think he’s tough to beat,” Carla Sands, an ambassador to Denmark under former President Donald Trump who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2022, confided to POLITICO.

According to reports, donors and Republican strategists in the state are still not very optimistic about others’ chances of defeating him. Currently, the candidate that measures best against the incumbent is Dave McCormick.

Dave McCormick, the darling of Republican leadership in Pennsylvania

Many political analysts and lawmakers, including Ted Cruz, Ben Shapiro and Ethan Kelly, agree that the GOP was extremely close to winning Pennsylvania in 2022. Although John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz by nearly 300,000 votes, only 900 votes separated Dave McCormick from being the Republican nominee in that election.

A favorite of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group invited him as a keynote speaker during the February winter meeting, and even Steve Daines (NRSC chairman) called him a strong candidate.

The former official of the administration of George W. Bush seems to have clear intentions of returning to fight for a seat in the Upper House, and he demonstrated this with the launch of his new book, Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America which will take him on a tour of Pennsylvania throughout 2023.