Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, known for his robust stance on issues like abortion, the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2020 election, has confirmed that he will not be running for the United States Senate in 2024. The announcement came through a Facebook Live session that began at 8 p.m. on Thursday. Mastriano has chosen to continue his work in Harrisburg as a State Senator, quelling speculations sparked earlier this week about a possible Senate campaign.
Mastriano has been a prominent figure in Pennsylvania’s political landscape, although his journey hasn’t been without controversy. He was the Republican candidate for Governor in 2022, but lost the race to Democrat Josh Shapiro by a margin of over 800,000 votes. The Democrats portrayed him as an extreme candidate during the campaign due to his firm stand on contentious issues. His involvement with the events of January 6, 2021, in Washington D.C., has also been a subject of scrutiny. Despite these challenges, a Franklin & Marshall poll from April showed Mastriano leading against potential 2022 Senate candidate Dave McCormick with a 42% to 28% margin.
Dave McCormick, former hedge fund CEO, lost the Republican primary by a slim margin of less than 1,000 votes to Mehmet Oz last year. Currently promoting his new book, McCormick has not yet confirmed whether he will re-run for Senate. Author Kathy Barnette, who had received an endorsement from Mastriano and finished third in last year’s Senate race, has also decided not to run in 2024.
The Republican primary winner will likely contend against incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey, who plans to seek a fourth term. In a hypothetical matchup, a recent Franklin & Marshall poll showed Casey leading Mastriano with a 47% to 31% margin.
In his announcement, Mastriano shared his decision to continue serving Harrisburg and pledged his support for the upcoming Republican nominee for the Senate contest. Despite his decision not to run, Mastriano emphasized that his movement is here to stay, stating, “We’re going to continue to grow our statewide network across the state in every county. We’re going to continue to be relevant.”
This announcement brings relief to Republican Party officials, who feared that Mastriano’s candidacy could negatively impact their chances of unseating Senator Bob Casey. His stance on contentious issues during last year’s gubernatorial contest had alienated independents, swing voters, and some Republicans.
Mastriano’s decision to bow out of the race may pave the way for McCormick, a combat veteran and former hedge fund CEO, who is considered by many Republicans to be a stronger contender against Casey.
Former Congressman Keith Rothfus, linked with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Carla Sands, an unsuccessful 2022 Senate GOP candidate, are among those eyeing the Pennsylvania Senate seat. While Mastriano’s political journey may have taken a different turn, his influence within the Republican Party remains substantial, suggesting his role in shaping Pennsylvania’s political landscape is far from over.