Can The PA GOP Stop Its Losing Streak?

As the spectacle of Donald Trump’s Manhattan indictment dominates the cable airwaves, one wonders if the former president’s 2024 candidacy is strengthening under the bright lights, or diminishing?

But Republicans’ challenges run much deeper than allegiances to the previous occupant of the White House. And that includes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Since 2016, when former Sen. Pat Toomey retained his U.S. Senate seat and the state delivered 20 electoral votes to Trump, the GOP is 0-5 in individual races in the Keystone State while also losing its majority in the State House last fall for the first time in 10 years.

  • 2022 Senate: John Fetterman d. Mehmet Oz, 51.3 – 46.3%
  • 2022 Governor: Josh Shapiro d. Doug Mastriano, 56.5 – 41.7%
  • 2020 President: Joe Biden d. Donald Trump, 50.0 – 48.8%
  • 2018 Senate: Bob Casey d. Lou Barletta, 55.7 – 42.6%
  • 2018 Governor: Tom Wolf d. Scott Wagner, 57.8 – 40.7%


Pennsylvania Republicans swept races in 2016 (Trump, Toomey) and 2010 (Toomey, Tom Corbett), but was 0-4 in state and federal races in 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014.

A 4-13 record gets college football coaches fired on a regular basis.

What’s going on?

It’s not just Pennsylvania.

Nationally, Democrats had a net gain of 40 seats to regain the U.S. House majority in 2018. Two years later, Trump lost the presidency and the GOP fell in two runoff elections in Georgia to also lose control of the U.S. Senate.

A pyrrhic victory followed, winning the legal fight over abortion behind Trump-appointed judges, but losing a series of political battles over it afterward – a reflection of polls indicating that most Americans support abortion rights. GOP-led state legislatures have shown no signs of slowing their push to enact stricter abortion bans, suggesting continuing political backlash.

With an expected “Red Wave” coming in 2022, Republicans put high-profile election deniers on the ballot in key state (see Mastriano) and federal races, as well as untested candidates (see Herschel Walker, Oz). You know how those ended up. And the wave never materialized, leaving GOP Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy with a much-slimmer majority than anticipated, creating more headaches.

And on Tuesday, Wisconsin voters chose Democrat-backed Janet Protasiewicz as their choice to sit on the state’s Supreme Court, after leaning into her support for abortion rights.

In Pennsylvania, are the winds shifting as well?

The GOP is making noise about backing mail-in voting – not because they like it – rather, because the Democrats have been successful utilizing it.

Casey is preparing to defend his U.S. Senate seat in 2024, so Republicans must figure out who they are and who they want.

Mastriano has been signaling that he may make a run and early polling shows he is one of three that Keystone State residents want to see as a candidate, along with Oz and Dave McCormick.

National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines encouraged McCormick to run at February’s NRSC retreat and later publicly slammed Mastriano as unelectable: “We need somebody who can win a primary and a general election. His last race demonstrated he can’t win a general,” Daines told HuffPost.

What can be done to “right the ship,” if you will, in Pennsylvania?

It may start with rejecting the former president.

“A Trump endorsement proved to be very damaging all across the country, ” said former U.S. representative Charlie Dent. “Keri Lake, Tudor Dixon, Doug Mastriano – those candidates all did terribly in states they should have won.

“All Trump endorsed candidates underperformed. You want to stay a million miles away from the Trump endorsement. Sure it might help you with your base. It might help shore up a few voted in your primary, but that endorsement will turn off a lot of college-educated suburban voters, especially women – a constituency Republicans desperately need to win.

“Ask Doug Mastriano how the endorsement worked out for him.”

The question for Pennsylvania Republicans as well as GOP voters nationwide seems to be: How likely is it that Trump will do better with persuadable voters than his 2020 loss when you toss January 6, a 34-count Manhattan indictment and possible federal indictments into the mix?

12 Responses

  1. Apparently the State Row Offices are forgotten by the article. Duh? Aside from Atty General the Republicans swept the entire slate but who am I to stand in the way if’s good cry? So, weep on and dry your eyes when your done because you will find that you win a few and lose a few.

  2. The geniuses running the PA GOP are a bunch of out of shape, well-fed, old, grey-haired white men.

    No woman in the state wants these neanderthals (dictionary meaning: archaic humans, which perfectly fits) making decisions about health care, parenting, education, children, family.

  3. The people running the PA GOP have weak-at-best marketing skills; the same tired good ol’ boys run candidate campaigns; the same white men who lack cross party appeal run for office. It’s a losing combination.

  4. The Republicans just refuse to accept they have no policies they are FOR, only things they are AGAINST. Abortion is healthcare and until that is recognized the Rs will continue to lose.

  5. The Republicans did take the Treasurer’s and Auditor General’s office in 2020 as well.

    PAGOP looks like it’s in shambles. PADems have great leadership at the top and energetic local leaders. With out-Republican migration to Florida and Texas, we’ll be a blue state soon enough.

  6. Also, Republicans haven’t offered any real policy solutions for 20 years besides “let’s give money to rich people”. Seriously, name something the Republicans in PA have done to actually help the broader population?

  7. Q: Out of Scott Wagner, Lou Barletta and Doug Mastriano, what sets Scott Wagner apart?
    A: He had the smarts and good sense to get out.

    Butt the other two keep on going.

    These three are notable because they are the three with the lowest (loseing-ist) percentage in the above cited races, 40.7%, 41.7%, 42.6%, (Wagner, Mastriano, and Barletta). Yes, you read that right, Wagner did worse than Mastriano, by 1 percentage point. Yet the PA GOP still “allowed” Mastriano to run in the general.

    Allowed means they enabled it. Or even worse they did nothing to stop it. And they reap just what they sow.

    Mastriano is full on delusional. Wagner realized his schitck was only good for 41.7%. Barletta is a curious case, either he believes his own looniness, or he’s found a lucrative way to milk the system — perpetually be running for some office and make good bank doing so. I’m going with 10%/90%. it’s mostly the money.

    Footnote: No national media has so far been willing to pay Lou for his (crazed) opinions and babble.

    1. Wagner was an ego charged business owner. He ran a garbage hauling business and thought he was a genius that could step into Harrisburg and solve problems – HE COULDN’T and scurried back to his business.

      The difference with Mastriano is he’s been suckling off the government teat as a member of the military. He’s always lived off the government but views himself as a God warrior fighting the things that he thinks are wrong with this country. He’s living with beliefs from 1980 that are no longer in step with how 60% of this country believes.

  8. What’s going on is that even PA voters are sick of the MAGA Hate Party.

  9. Dump Trump and all his insurrectionist sycophants like Mastriano and Perry and get back to nominating people like John Heinz and Tom Ridge then they’ll start appealing to PA swing voters again.

    1. Do you think that John Heinz or Tom Ridge could win a Republican primary today? Sadly, I don’t think they could.


  • Will Doug Mastriano Run For U.S. Senate?

    • No. Not Enough Support From Mainstream GOP. (91%)
    • Yes. Let Doug Be Doug. (9%)

    Total Voters: 892

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