GOP blame game erupts in Pennsylvania governor’s race

Kulback’s provincial party supported both former Representative Lou Barletta and businessman Dave White.

If Mastriano wins the nomination, “the PA GOP, to say the least, should be held responsible for this catastrophic disaster,” agreed Val Biancaniello, a Pennsylvania-based Republican organizer and former Trump delegate who backs White.

She added that Tabas must resign, and that calls for him to do so are “very widespread among insiders.”

Tabas’s allies were quick to defend him. “He cannot resign. I support him,” said Rob Gleason, himself a former chairman of the state party.

Vonne Andring, a senior adviser to the Republican Party, responded to a request for comment sent to Tabas by saying that “The Republican State Committee voted overwhelmingly against — to give the candidates and their advisers every opportunity to do their best.” to do for the voters.”

Some Republicans fear the already bubbling complaints could turn into a full-blown battle within the party if Mastriano were to block the nomination on Tuesday.

“You’ve got the old Harry Truman quote: ‘The buck stops here,'” said a top Republican official in the state, who was given anonymity to discuss the dynamics within the party. “When you’re at the top and what people might like consider a mess, it stops with you.”

Some prominent Republican individuals and donors from Pennsylvania are even considering publicly supporting Josh Shapiro, the presumptive Democratic governor candidate, if Mastriano wins the primary, several party sources told POLITICO.

Mastriano has risen steadily in the polls in recent weeks, jumping to the front of a field with Barletta — who supported Trump for the Senate in 2018 — and former US Attorney Bill McSwain and White.

A new independent survey by Pennsylvania Republican retailer Susquehanna Polling and Research found the same. The poll found Mastriano at 29 percent, with 18 percent for McSwain and 15 percent for Barletta. The investigation was in the field from Thursday to Sunday.

Whoever wins Tuesday’s primary will face Shapiro, the state’s attorney general who has faced no competition on the road to his party’s nomination and is pooling money for the general election.

Mastriano, whose campaign did not respond to a request for comment for this story, has already started to defend the state party’s handling of the primaries.

“This is the first time in 44 years that the state party has not approved a candidate for governor,” he said in an interview with Newsmax Monday morning. “And so true, we have an opportunity in Pennsylvania where the people can vote without the influence of the state party apparatus. So hats off to the party leadership for actually taking that bold stance.”

Last week, prominent Republicans in the state began efforts to get rid of Mastriano by trying to push candidates out of the race in an effort to consolidate support around a single, anti-Mastriano choice. Shapiro’s campaign also aimed to increase Mastriano’s chances of winning by showing TV ads throwing red meat at a MAGA base. Republicans opposing Mastriano were alarmed, taking it as further evidence underscoring that the state senator was the easiest candidate to beat in the general election.

While some lower-ranking poll candidates agreed on the plan to consolidate the GOP field — State Senate President Jake Corman and former Rep. Melissa Hart both stopped to support Barletta – admitting none of the senior poll candidates Mastriano was chasing, despite considerable pressure to do so.

That was especially true for McSwain, whose campaign has repeatedly confirmed he would stay in the race. Commonwealth Partners, an outside group that has flooded the airwaves with pro-McSwain advertising, said on Sunday that McSwain should pull out and that the organization was turning over its approval to Barletta. The New York Times also reported that Jeffrey Yass, a prominent Republican mega-donor, directly asked McSwain last week to consider quitting.

But many Republicans felt the effort came much too late, even if some of the leading non-Mastriano candidates went along with it. Those so-called statements of support “do not conflict with an endorsement from Donald Trump,” a senior aide grumbled to one of the candidates, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. “Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.”

Several Republicans also pointed out that it was far too late to remove the names of the candidates from the ballot. “Frankly, I think that – strategically – the time for party leaders to force consensus is certainly not May 11-16,” said an aide to a second candidate.

It is unclear if the field will return to hug Mastriano if he wins on Tuesday. Assistants to some of the remaining candidates said they were unaware of talks about a unity meeting, which often takes place after controversial primary elections.

Mastriano’s imminent victory also seriously calls into question the Republicans’ investment in the state. In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declined to commit to allocating Republican Governors Association funds to Pennsylvania, should Mastriano come forward as the nominee.

“That candidate, whoever gets elected in Pennsylvania, will have to show that they’re going to make it a good race,” he said on the show. “And if it’s a good race, the Republican Governors Association will be there to support our Republican candidate.”

A Republican aide familiar with the committee’s plans, who was given anonymity to speak freely about the decision-making process, said that while the RGA wouldn’t rule out spending in the state, “Mastiano gives us less reason to keep the Republican in the state than other candidates would do” because he would be a weak candidate for the general election.

That Republican was also skeptical that the belated efforts to stop Mastriano have any chance of success. “The only way it can really happen is that” [the rest of the field] all of them stopped yesterday and this morning there is a $10 million ad purchase,” the assistant joked.

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