Trump Who? Mastriano Gaining Ground in GOP Circles. Fundraising Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story. Here is the Playbook.
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1. Oz’s Strategy to Win Over Pa Dems: Trump Who?
After a lackluster second-quarter fundraising season, the spotlight has been placed squarely on the campaign fortunes of Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mehmet Oz.
As his Democratic opponent John Fetterman continually takes swipes at the celebrity doctor about his New Jersey roots, Oz appears to be in the process of remaking his political image.
In the final days of the GOP primary in May, he was constantly reminding voters that HE was the endorsed candidate by former President Donald Trump and not any of the other challengers. After winning the nomination in a recounted vote, Oz tacked to the left, scrubbing his website of most, if not all, mention of the 45th president and his endorsement from the main page.
- Doctor, Rebrand Thyself. “In his closing pitch to Republicans voting in the Pennsylvania Senate primary last month, Mehmet Oz portrayed himself as pro-life, pro-police, pro-guns, and – most importantly – pro- Donald Trump. That message, along with a Trump endorsement, was enough for Oz to best his opponents in a contentious GOP primary. But since securing the party’s nomination in a recount three weeks ago, the TV doctor turned Senate hopeful has taken steps to distance himself from Trump in a general election rebrand that he hopes will win over independents and even “conservative Democrats.” (Vanity Fair)
- Fetterman Knocks Oz With Carpetbagger Attacks, Digs Into New Jersey, Pennsylvania Rivalry. “It’s not often that candidates running for office intentionally run ads in neighboring states — much less one focused entirely on an opponent. But that’s what Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman did in the Senate race. He recently paid for a plane to fly a banner over New Jersey’s southern shore welcoming home TV doctor Mehmet Oz who is the GOP candidate after making a politically driven move from his New Jersey home overlooking the Hudson River to his in-laws’ home in the Philadelphia suburbs.” (Washington Times)
- Oz, Fetterman Keep The U.S. Senate Race Buzzing Over the Weekend With Dueling Videos. “With Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman eyeing a return to in-person campaigning, he and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz lit up the weekend by trading social media barbs. While Oz “welcomed” Fetterman back to the campaign trail with a YouTube video in which he jogged and derided the Democrat’s “radical agenda,” Fetterman used a Cameo video from quintessential Jersey girl Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, the star of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” to once again pester Oz about his Garden State roots.” (PennLive)
2. Mastriano Gaining Ground in Staunch GOP Circles
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill standard bearer for the GOP.
A MAGA state senator from Franklin County, he has denied the results of the 2020 presidential election, arranged for transportation and attended the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and has generally been a thorn in the side of establishment members of his own party on many far-right issues.
“Most people are in a little bubble, where they talk to one other and say, ‘Boy, there’s no way Doug Mastriano can beat Josh Shapiro.’ Well, you know what? Those people don’t get off the turnpike,” public affairs consultant Larry Ceisler told POLITICO, referring to the interstate highway that crosses Pennsylvania. “It wakes some people as to: It’s a real campaign, and yes, there really are people who are for Doug Mastriano, and this is not going to be a walk in the park.”
- Republicans Who Back Shapiro Are Choosing Sane Politics Over Extremism. “Nine Republican leaders recently endorsed Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro over Republican candidate Doug Mastriano in the race for governor in November. Just days after that endorsement, a group of centrist Republicans announced the formation of a PAC to oppose Mastriano. The courageous Republican leaders who have endorsed Shapiro and formed the PAC against Mastriano are putting their state and country above blind party loyalty.” (Philadelphia Tribune)
- Doug Mastriano Called Climate Change ‘Pop Science.’ That Video, And Others, Vanished From His Social Media. “More than a dozen Facebook videos posted by the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor espousing far-right positions have disappeared as the state senator shifts to the general election.” (New York Times)
- Bucks County Board of Elections Receives Envelope With ‘Suspicious Substance.’ “An expletive-laden letter, filled with a suspicious substance, was sent to the Bucks County Board of Elections Monday. The county elections office received the message Monday morning, and staff immediately notified emergency services. Fire, EMS and a hazardous materials team responded to the county administration building in Doylestown Borough.” (Bucks County Courier Times)
3. PA-17: Fundraising Numbers Don’t Tell Whole Story
Open your favorite news site on the internet and you are bound to see a story or three about the headwinds facing the Democratic Party in the fall of 2022. Inflation, gas prices, President Joe Biden’s faltering approval ratings, and, of course, the negative trends for the party in the White House in the midterms.
With all that in mind, one could be excused for believing that Democrats would be unable to fund raise in this cycle. After all, unless you are a short-stock trader, who bets on a losing horse?
- Pennsylvania Democrats May Be Facing a Tough November, But They Aren’t Going In Empty-Handed. “Senate candidate John Fetterman’s strong fundraising performance has attracted considerable attention in his race against Republican Mehmet Oz. But the financial picture isn’t bad for down-ballot Democrats, such as Chris Deluzio, who is running against Jeremy Shaffer in the 17th Congressional District.” (90.5 WESA)
- New FEC Filings Show No Signs of Donors Abandoning Democrats. “The president’s party usually loses seats in midterm elections, and those losses can be significant when the president is unpopular and the economy is in turmoil. Despite that climate, there is no sign that donors are turning away from Democratic candidates, new disclosures for the three months that ended June 30 show.” (Roll Call)
- Senate Democrats Crush GOP Rivals in Latest Fundraising Reports, But Will It Translate to Victory in November? “The top outside group that works to elect and re-elect Democratic senators walloped its Republican rival in the latest fundraising quarterly reports.The Senate Majority PAC reported on Monday that brought in $48.8 million in the April-June second quarter of 2022 fundraising, which it says is its largest monthly haul so far this cycle. The group, which shared its fundraising figures first with Fox News, topped the pro-Republican Senate Leadership Fund by over $11 million.” (Fox News)
Regional Spotlight: Central PA
- Wolf Administration Reveals Multi-Year Plan to Address Educator Workforce Shortage. “The strategy, developed by the Department of Education through feedback sessions with educators across the state, includes 50 steps to address the staffing crisis, which the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated, and outlines diversity and professional development goals to be achieved by August 2025.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)
- IRS Complaints Filed Against Church for Screening Movie Featuring Mastriano. “A complaint filed with the federal Internal Revenue Service is asking the agency to examine whether a West Shore church’s overstepped tax rules for non-profit entities by hosting a film premiere Saturday night that featured in-person appearances by Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano.” (PennLive)
- Reading’s Mayor Retains Authority to Fire the City Managing Director and Key Department Heads. “Reading’s mayor will retain the authority to fire the city managing director and key department heads. City Council shot down two proposed referendums that would have allowed city voters to amend the city charter to require council approval for the terminations of top city management. If approved, the bills would have placed two questions on the 2022 general election ballot.“ (Reading Eagle)
- What’s It Really Like Down on the Farm? Congressmen Visit Franklin County to Find Out. “Congressmen from across Pennsylvania as well as from Louisiana, California and Tennessee visited Burk-Lea Farms in Chambersburg. Friday’s round table discussion and farm tours was to give the elected officials a perspective of the American dairy farmer and their needs in preparation for new legislation to be introduced in the coming months. (Waynesboro Record-Herald)
- Lancaster County Businesses Rightly Reject Mastriano Documentary and Other Propaganda Related to Christian Nationalism (LNP)
- The Supreme Court’s Abortion, EPA Ruling Could Open The Door To More Democracy (Bruce Ledewitz)
- A Tale of Two Scoundrels in the Pennsylvania GOP (Tony Norman)
- Westmoreland County Handles Elections Office Like an Afterthought (Tribune-Review)
- Hold Elected Officials Accountable for Gun Safety Votes (Peggy Walsh)