Craig Snyder, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, is leading a group of centrist Republicans that have formed a political action committee that opposes GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.
Republicans4Shapiro was established last Wednesday and is chaired by former U.S. Rep. Jim Greenwood, who organized a similar effort to oppose then-President Donald Trump’s bid for a second term in 2020.
Its website states “The Republican nominee for Governor of Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, is an extremist, far outside the mainstream of the PA Republican Party which has given the Commonwealth and the Country outstanding leaders like Governors Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge.”
“I think he’s an extreme, dangerous guy who is out of touch with the majority of the people in Pennsylvania,” said Greenwood to the Philadelphia Inquirer, who also expressed concern that Mastriano as governor could create a crisis in Pennsylvania’s election in 2024 if Trump seeks the presidency again.
“There’s a long history of Pennsylvania Republicans being from what I guess people call the moderate part of the party,” Snyder, the PAC’s chair, told PennLive. “All of a sudden, we have a nominee that is really far outside of that history, really far outside of that norm.”
Advisers to the PAC include Thornburgh administration alums Murray Dickman, secretary of administration; George Grode, insurance commissioner; Bob Wilburn, secretary of education as well as budget and administration; and Walter Cohen, acting attorney general and secretary of public welfare, and his wife, Susan; and James Seif, secretary of environmental protection under Ridge. Others include former PA Court of Common Pleas judge David Heckler; former lieutenant governor Bob Jubelirer; and former member of the PA House and Senate Joe Conti.
The Cohens have already co-hosted a fundraiser that raised $80,000 for Shapiro in Carlisle, while Greenwood said he will be hosting a fundraiser for Shapiro in September that he hopes will raise $100,000.
According to the PAC’s official website, “Republicans4Shapiro will target the significant percentage of Pennsylvania’s registered Republican and Republican-leaning Independents who do not see Doug Mastriano as a representative of their views and values and will communicate with them across multiple media platforms to encourage these voters to withhold their votes from Mastriano, regardless of whatever objections they may have to the policy orientation of the Democratic Party, either in the state or nationally. It will give a safe harbor to the many Republicans who find Mastriano and his radicalism simply unacceptable.”
Snyder said the group will encourage Republicans to self-record videos explaining why they will reject Mastriano. Those will be folded into an effort to target like-minded voters for outreach.
“Donors get the idea of targeting 5% of the electorate because all of our elections are so damn close,” Snyder said. “If you can sway a small part of them, it can affect the outcome.”
Mastriano entered the general election with under $400,000 cash in hand, while Shapiro brought $13.5 million to the race to November.