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Full Results: Mastriano, Parnell Win PLC2021 Straw Poll

CAMP HILL — A straw poll conducted at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference shows two conservative, pro-Trump veterans atop their respective fields for Governor and U.S. Senate. 

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) led the way among GOP hopefuls for Governor, while Sean Parnell, the GOP nominee for the 17th congressional district in 2020, led for U.S. Senate. 

The enduring influence and popularity of former President Donald Trump was evident throughout the two-day event. The annual meeting of activists – the base of Pennsylvania’s conservative movement – named election integrity and “illegal immigration” as the top issues facing the state and country, respectively. 

In the field for Pa. Governor:

  • 75 votes: Mastriano  
  • 46 votes: former Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) 
  • 28 votes: Congressman Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne) 
  • 22 votes: former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain
  • 18 votes: GOP consultant Charlie Gerow
  • 9 votes: State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) 

In the field for U.S. Senate:

  • 88 votes: Parnell 
  • 68 votes: Jeff Bartos, a Montgomery County real estate developer who was the GOP Lt. Governor nominee in 2018
  • 37 votes: Kathy Barnette, a veteran and conservative commentator who was the GOP nominee for Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district in 2020
  • 17 votes: former U.S. Ambassador Carla Sands 
  • 9 votes: undecided.

Mastriano and Parnell’s popularity shows the shift among conservatives at PLC in recent years. Both potential candidates, who are ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump, lead the pack, while several years ago, then-candidate Trump was not viewed kindly a year before the presidential election. 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won the PLC 2015 straw poll for the GOP nomination for President. Trump was included but received no first-place votes in that 2015 straw poll. 

In PLC’s 2017 straw poll, state Sen. Scott Wagner was the early preferred candidate for Governor. In 2018, Wagner again won the PLC straw poll for Governor by receiving 161 votes, followed by Paul Mango with 66 votes, Laura Ellsworth with 11 votes, and Ken Krawchuk with 9 votes, and then-Speaker Mike Turzai with 2 write-in votes. 

During PLC’s 2018 straw poll for U.S. Senate, then-Congressman Lou Barletta led the way with 167 votes, followed by state Rep. Jim Christiana with 65 votes, and Dale Kerns received 17 write-in votes. 

Sam Rohrer won PLC’s 2012 straw poll for U.S. Senate by receiving 176 votes, followed by the eventual 2012 nominee Tom Smith who received 60 votes. 40 people voted that they were undecided in the 2012 poll, 19 people selected Steve Welch, 10 people voted for Marc Scaringi, and 8 people voted for David Christian.

244 ballots were collected in the 2021 straw poll from Friday morning through Saturday at 11 AM as 34 counties were represented. Cumberland County led the way with 28 voters, followed by Dauphin County with 21 voters, Chester County with 19 voters, Allegheny County with 18 voters, and Lebanon County with 17 voters. 

While the straw polling for Governor and U.S. Senate garnered the most attention, attendees also weighed in on a variety of other pressing matters in the commonwealth and the country. 

Participants said “election integrity” is the most important issue facing the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2021, while “illegal immigration” is the most important matter facing the U.S. this year. 

Issues facing PA

Election integrity led the way as the most important issue facing the Pennsylvania General Assembly. 

  • 132 votes: Election Integrity
  • 104 votes: Budget
  • 58 votes: Pension Reform
  • 33 votes: Voter Integrity
  • 9 votes: Marcellus Shale
  • 8 votes: Property Tax Reform
  • 1 vote: Privatizing Alcohol Sales

Write-in votes submitted for the most important issue facing the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2021 included “Health Insurance, Courts, Philosophical directions, Children manipulation in schools, Court Packing, School Choice, and Family Growth Policy.”

Issues facing the US

Illegal immigration was voted as the most important issue facing the United States in 2021, while government spending finished in a close second place. 

  • 72 votes: Illegal Immigration
  • 69 votes: Government Spending
  • 47 votes: Size of Government
  • 29 votes: Right To Life
  • 8 votes: Federal Reserve Policy
  • 6 votes: Election Integrity
  • 4 votes: Health care reform/repeal

Approval of GOP officials

PLC attendees were split on the job performance of Republicans in the state legislature and Congress. 

  • 136 votes: “Somewhat” believe that Republicans in the state legislature are standing firm and holding conservative ideals. 
  • 50 votes: believe that Republicans in the state legislature are standing firm and holding conservative ideals.
  • 33 votes: Believe that Republicans in the state legislature are not standing firm and holding conservative ideals.
  • 18 votes: Believe that Republicans in the state legislature are maybe standing firm and holding conservative ideals.
  • 5 votes: Believe that Republicans in the state legislature are absolutely not standing firm and holding conservative ideals.

A plurality of voters believe that Pennsylvania legislators are headed in the right direction. 

  • 102 votes: Pennsylvania legislators are headed in the right direction. 
  • 89 votes: Pennsylvania legislators are going on the wrong track. 
  • 43 votes: Unsure if Pennsylvania legislators are headed in the right direction or going on the wrong track. 

Just under half of voters approve of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. 

  • 117 votes: Approve of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. 
  • 77 votes: Disapprove of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. 
  • 43 votes: Undecided of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. 

A majority of PLC voters believe adhering the conservative principles is the most important for an elected official. 

  • 165 votes: Believe that adhering to conservative principles is more important for an elected official.
  • 79 votes: Believe that a willingness to compromise here and there to get things done is more important for an elected official. 

PLC attendees were also asked about their thoughts on election audits, “big tech,” and more. 

  • 205 votes: Support an automatic audit of every election regardless of the result. 
  • 38 votes: Do not support an automatic audit of every election regardless of the result.
  • 158 votes: Believe social media sites/Big Tech are biased against conservatives.
  • 62 votes: Don’t think that social media sites/Big Tech are biased against conservatives.
  • 21 votes: Unsure/Undecided on if social media sites/Big Tech are biased against conservatives.

After the 2020 election, a significant chunk of attendees have changed their social media habits. 

  • 94 votes: Are using “Big Tech Social Media Sites” less than they were since the 2020 election. 
  • 93 votes: Are using “Big Tech Social Media Sites” roughly the same as they were since the 2020 election. 
  • 41 votes: Are not using “Big Tech Social Media Sites” at all since the 2020 election. 
  • 5 votes: Are using “Big Tech Social Media Sites” more than they were since the 2020 election. 

Nearly half of PLC voters think that their children will grow up to be worse off than they are. 

  • 121 votes: Their child will grow up to be worse off than they are.
  • 63 votes: Their child will grow up to be about the same as they are.
  • 60 votes: Their child will grow up to be better off than they are.

PLC 2021 Political Ideology

  • 155 votes: Fiscal Conservative
  • 87 votes: Social Conservative
  • 53 votes: Traditionalist
  • 40 votes: Libertarian
  • 19 votes: Moderate
  • 6 votes: Neoconservative
  • 1 vote: Liberal

20 Responses

  1. Your attack on Trump, who has human flaws aplenty, helps us understand why evil Marxists have seized the levers of power in America.

  2. First, phenomenal conference! Thanks Lowman et al. To Jesse and Jason, wow, I love you guys!! I’ll admit to being stunned to learn that fewer than 2/3 of attendees recognize social media bias. I was expecting to see 95-99% acceptance of this reality. Scary, actually, to realize that even within our wonderful group, some choose to remain blind to this evil.

  3. Charlie Gerow is in the hunt to be nominated for Governor??? He reminds me of an old Monsignor I once knew who enjoyed confirming past opinions. Please nominate Charlie Gerow just for entertainments sake. His columns are an endless litany of Charlie agreeing with his own past opinions.

  4. This straw poll is good news for Lou Barletta in that he did as well as his did with this crowd. Mastriano’s negatives are starting to weigh him down. The info that has come out on his phony book and his constant disrespect shown by using his uniform as a political tool are cutting into his support here. Even came out and called him for his double-dealing. The truth about Mastriano is that he is awash with GOP leadership money and is totally ignorant of state issues. He doesn’t have one single accomplishment as state senator…not one.

  5. PART IV

    Regarding the Senatorial race, it’s desirable for the “newby” to learn more about the individual whom I consider to be Sean’s major opposition, namely, Kathy Barnette; she delivered a potent invocation @ Chambersburg for Doug when Rudy spoke on his behalf last month, and she’s been a semi-regular Fox News Contributor for years.

    I once encouraged her to run, years ago, @ a rally @ the Buck Hotel; she has home-schooled a wonderful daughter [who was with her then and when I encountered her a year ago @ the Walmart @ Whitman Square], who had “0” problem establishing eye-contact with an adult.

    She “ain’t your typical politician” when participating in a small meeting in a home, for she’s an active-listener; she retains the capacity to command a hall [as she did @ Chambersburg] with a dignity that few adults [of any occupational persuasion] can exude.

    Again, it may come down to how The Donald perceives the statewide candidates [including $-raising capacities, of which I’m agnostic]; again, pending receipt of a “clarification” from Jeff, I’d have “0” problem with either of these two candidates [although I’ve only contributed to Kathy].

    These comments are intended both to convey the views of an independent conservative thinker [who has been profoundly dismayed by the GOPe] and to nudge any proponent of a particular candidate to adhere to how to recruit and then abide by the judgment of The Donald; critique is invited, albeit not from vile sources.

    1. “Kathy Barnette; she delivered a potent invocation @ Chambersburg for Doug when Rudy spoke on his behalf last month, and she’s been a semi-regular Fox News Contributor for years.“

      Honestly, I don’t consider a “potent invocation” for Ding Dong Doug and Rudy “hands down his pants” Giuliani at the start of a partisan SCAM hearing, combined with being a “semi-regular Fox News contributor” to be anywhere near qualifying Ms. Barnette to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the US Senate. In fact, those 2 things along with your admiration that she is a home schooler advocate should actually disqualify her from even running.

      WE NEED ADVOCACY FOR BETTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS, not idiots who want to cut funding.

      Also, in your 4 part rambling posts, you genuflect much too much at the altar of the Orange Traitor.

      1. Daily, all The Donald’s assertions are being belatedly accepted by the corrupt media; he’s worthy of respect, particularly from those who falsely maligned him [as you’re continuing to do].

        Kathy’s book captures other facets of her personality and performance and should be consulted before she’s subject to your brand of Cancel Culture; there was no “SCAM hearing” in Chambersburg [and you’re probably recalling Gettysburg, so get your facts straight before you attack truthtellers].


    It’s also desirable to apply observations about the gubernatorial polling to the senatorial results, recognizing @ the onset that I have never heard of Ms. Sands; if the “field” has been set, a few points should be weighed by handicappers who have monitored this contest “from the outside.”

    Jeff Bartos thanked me for KO’ing Joe Gale from the Lt. Gov. ballot; per what I was told by Dept. of State personnel, no one would strike his name for being ineligible [wouldn’t have been 30-years-old on swearing-in day] absent a Commonwealth Court filing.

    That said, and appreciating the fact that we’re both Jewish, I am not yet hearing him deliver a full pro-Trump posture, including the need to seek a Forensic Audit; claiming when he announced that The Donald had pushed the Electoral Fraud issue “too far” was disconcerting.

    I know nothing about Sean other than having noted his strong performance and quality credentials; policies on his website are “white bread GOP” [ht tp s:/ /parn ellforsen m/issues/] and, thus, would not be anticipated to prove controversial to the primary voter.

    BTW, forgot to mention that Doug’s military career seems awesome; although lotsa vets are being recruited by both major parties, it seems that Sean’s accomplishments [ht tp s:/ /parn ellforsen m/about/] are also irrefutable.

  7. PART II

    To “finish a thought,” it’s apt to note that a flyer on my windshield promoting Charlie Gerow was explained by someone as a harbinger of his interest in this race; I worked on a letter-to-the-editor with him, years ago, and learned that he claims he originally dubbed this annual event as the “PLC” in ’89.

    It’s “early,” but there’s one key-point that needs to be made when determining whether candidates have “legs” vs. whether they could self-inflict wounds [as did Scott Wagner]; although Doug is a bit flamboyant, he has a military bearing [and the boots to match] that will predictably serve to impose self-discipline.

    Both Doug/Lou are Trumpsters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if The Donald weighs-in, to preclude “internal bleeding”; I would think that the electorate [as amply sampled @ PLC, per the above piece] will rush to honor his endorsement [as would the candidates, probably].

    Regarding the rest of the polling, it is instructive to note that “Nearly half of PLC voters think that their children will grow up to be worse off than they are”; undoubtedly, the daily tragedies emanating from the Acting-POTUS have impacted such sentiments.

    Regarding my biases, it’s also necessary to reveal that I chatted with as many people as possible regarding the need to emulate Maricopa County ASAP; it appeared that the consensus view was supportive, although much more depth was revealed from those who share my goal but have opted to pursue different pathways.

  8. PART I

    Because it’s best to ignore the prior snide comments, it’s desirable to place the straw-poll votes within a few contexts; inasmuch as any GOP nominee would be preferable to any Dem, my bias is revealed.

    First, I’m told [as per a prior PoliticsPA posting] that last-minute invites couldn’t be honored because the glossy-brochure had already gone to print; thus, those who didn’t speak early in the event [or at all] were at a disadvantage [along with whomever arrived belatedly to speak to a dwindling crowd after the Friday banquet].

    On the other hand, Doug had a number of advantages that were reflected in the vote, beyond the fact that he spoke early on Friday to a thunderous response; his championing of both the Forensic Audit and the Constitutional Amendment that undermined Wolf’s decrees yielded the polling-flip with Lou.

    I have adored Lou ever since he debated the Illegals issue [as Hazelton Mayor] @ Temple Law School [~15 years ago] against both the moderator and his opponent; he’s always well-prepared, soft-spoken, correct and able to flash that toothy-grin when hammering home a point.

    Thus, I’ve contributed to both candidates; I enjoyed chatting with McSwain about his having done battle against Krasner, I didn’t like Laughlin’s opposition to an audit, and I didn’t chat with Meuser because he was never @ his exhibit table.

    1. I laugh at your self titling as an independent thinking conservative. You regurgitate all the crap from the right wing nut jobs who have been holding the party hostage and steering them to bad candidates.

      Your defense of Donald Trump and stating the media is coming to recognize he was right misses the biggest liability of him. Everything he says or does is tainted by the fact he lies, cheats, and steals from everyday people.

      Also, Kathy Barnette isn’t raising money, doesn’t have any real infrastructure to create a statewide campaign, and doesn’t have a chance of appealing to moderate voters. She recites talking points of your ilk that was rejected last general election. This to say nothing of her arrogant attitude she presents when anyone with actual political experience talks to her- she looks down on them as the swamp.

      She’s selling her book.

      Go back to the drawing board and try again with electable candidates.

      1. Infamous Legal aphorism: When you have neither the law nor the case, you argue ad-hominem.

          1. So, we have to cite our sources now on this site? Is that the standard used to disqualify someone? Is that APA or MLA format, ya douche?

            Seriously, you are such a tool bag that you have discredited yourself and your future posts. No matter how well you structure your time consuming paragraphs on this site, everyone knows you are not an intellectual who is remaining objective. You are a smacked ass that has to include DR. into his title on a comment section where no one gives a crap who you are.

            If you want to defend Donald Trump and his moronic lemmings who are destroying the party and enabling Socialists/Communists to win by supporting unelectable candidates, I think there will be some hearings at Federal Courts of New York State. You can probably find some interested people there.

            Ill give you a source to cite – PA’s Senatorial and Gubernatorial elections in 2022 – Run Trump Republicans and we lose. Apologize to me then.

  9. Dr Zama is going to easily win the Republican primary with at least 90% of the vote unless Barletta hires professional birthday party rental leprechaun and Harvey Fierstein impersonator Matt Deegan, then Barletta sweeps it with a huge win.

  10. This straw poll is a joke and means nothing. Lowman Henry picks and chooses who can and can’t speak. I expect Barletta to get the GOP nod after the primary even though the fix will try to be in as usual with idiots like Andy Reily trying to bully people on who to support. Mastriano is a wing nut who is about as polished as sandpaper. Shapiro will destroy Mastriano if he gets selected.

  11. You PLC fools need to stop watching Fox News and listening to conservative talk radio. You are so brainwashed, you no longer realize what is even important in the state or the nation. And keep riding the Trump Traitor Train with Ding Dong Doug as the engineer and Sgt Schultz Parnell as the conductor – yepper, that’s the team on track for about 42% of the vote in 2022.

    And as far as “election integrity” being an issue, I agree, we need to get to the bottom of that Trumper dude who got a mail in ballot for his dead mother so he could vote twice for the Great Orange Traitor.

    1. Huck ol’ boy, you have the mind of a child. Shake that rattle loud and proud!

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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