March 7 – State Senator Doug Mastriano sat down with Politico recently where he hinted at possibly considering a run for the United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania in a challenge to Bob Casey.
Mastriano didn’t fully commit to running, but he discussed why he believed he would be viable for the position.
When asked if he would consider a seat in the US House of Representatives, Mastriano said he would not challenge Representative John Joyce.
In the last few weeks, Dave McCormick – former Republican candidate for the US Senate seat who went up against Mehmet Oz last year – has already said he’s likely going to make the run against Casey as well.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “These are very expensive races. So if Doug is going to run, he does have that base of support built in. He would need to start ramping this up I would think sometime this summer, so keep an eye on it.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “Doug was making an argument that it was a difficult run against the Shapiro bank and it was a constant bell ring of there’s no way we can combat against the money there. You think you’re going to be able to get that kind of dough put together. Doug started it here with NewsTalk 103.7FM. You’ve got to be realistic here when it comes to a statewide US Senate seat here and the dough is a big difference when it comes to a Casey versus the bank that Doug could put together.”
Barkdoll predicted, “Money will be a huge factor here.”
McCormick is quite wealthy in his own right and was in Florida last week where Mitch McConnell’s PAC and other key Republicans have said they are going to back him.
Barkdoll said, “Some of those groups said we don’t want to make the same mistakes we’ve made before. We’re going to get behind one candidate and bank roll them and we’re already saying it’s Dave McCormick.”
Mastriano will have a rally this weekend in Harrisburg – could it lay groundwork for a Senate run?
Barkdoll wondered, “Does he maybe see an angle if there’s all this what I would call the McConnell, traditional Republican money going to McCormick, does Doug think there’s an equal amount of money that he might be able to peel off from the Trump wing or the harder right wing of the party? This Senate race I think would even be more expensive than the governor’s race. Casey will have endless resources. It would not be out of the question for a Senate candidate to spend $40 to $50 million on a race like this.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “And control of the Senate. They’re going to pour money into this. This isn’t just a Pennsylvania thing. This is country-wide thing. Unfortunately Senators really don’t represent their states anymore. They represent their parties. They’re going to absolutely pour on the money. Why Politico? They’re not exactly friendly. In fact, you can already see some of the talking point narratives they’re going to be dumping on Colonel Doug. They, of course, brought up January 6. They of course brought up other controversial ideas that are used against Doug. Very interesting that he volunteered. He was the one that wouldn’t talk to any of the media who was not always honest and Politico is not always honest. I’m just a little curious as to why that was the media outlet he decided to talk to about this.”
Ryan asked, “Why not Congressman Joyce? You think about the district that Doug and John are in, we’re thrilled to have John on the radio all the time, but if you think about a race that would be a competitive race, it seems like this district would be the one.”
“I would agree,” Barkdoll said, “And I think that’s why this reporter specifically asked him about that seat, but Doug rules that out. He says enjoys his friends and he would not run for the seat.”
A trend in the last month or so has shown rather conservative Republicans doing interviews with CNN. Prior to that, they would go nowhere near these outlets.
Barkdoll said, “I can only surmise that there’s some strategy here. They know they need to peel off these middle-of-the-road, independent, swing type voters and going to these outlets maybe is opening them up to a broader audience.”
In the Politico interview, Mastriano contends that Republicans must embrace mail-in voting and early voting. Donald Trump said the same thing in a speech this weekend at CPAC, telling Republicans to stop criticizing mail-in voting.
Jansen said, “It’s interesting because there was just a story out about Hakeem Jeffries was asked by somebody saying well why don’t you forbid your members from going on Fox News? He said he wouldn’t do that, which I think was smart. Also, maybe for different reasons, not necessarily for the strategy that I don’t maybe know about that they’re looking at, I think that’s great that Doug talked to Politico and that these other guys are going more on CNN and MSNBC. I think it’s stupid to not have our media getting people from all political spectrum and ideas being on the airwaves. That is actually what media’s supposed to do and what they’re supposed to be for is to expose their listeners to all the different points of view politically. We moved away from it too much. I’m happy to see it come back more.”
Barkdoll agreed, “I like seeing these different views coming on to these different outlets. I think it’s good that Doug did this sit down, long interview with Politico. It’s not behind a paywall. This is on their website. At the end of the interview, the reporter asked Doug about the hiring of Dan Cox, his new chief of staff, who had run for governor of Maryland. The reporter says is this a sign you’re thinking of running for higher office again? Doug gave an answer in German, which translates to ‘good deduction.’ That’s as close to saying I’m running without saying I’m running I think as you could get. I think it was a really interesting interview.”
Jansen said, “I get the feeling that they will never let up on trying to paint him as extreme, but maybe he’s just finally embracing it and saying they’re going to do that anyway. I’m just going to put myself out there.”
Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery said, “The Colonel’s got great moral values. He’s got some notoriety and popularity now in the state. This is an interesting run. Could he help us? Absolutely. Could he make the right decisions? Absolutely. I’ve supported Doug from the beginning. I love the guy. I consider him a good friend of mine. I would definitely support him. This is going to be a big uphill battle for him.”
Ryan pointed out, “If state Senator turns into Senator Mastriano, you think about 81 and how this part of Pennsylvania has been forgotten by the transportation folks.”
Jansen said, “We said this is an uphill battle, it really is. If Doug thought he had to raise money to run for governor, the money you’re going to have to raise to run for this Senate seat is going to be astronomical because they are going to fight for every seat to the hilt. Maybe the thought is we’re going to have two races coming up for Senate because I doubt Fetterman is going to stay there and someone will be appointed and then we’re going to have another election. Of course, Casey’s coming up for election. Maybe that’s part of the strategy, thinking if we’re dividing between two Senate seats you don’t have to raise as much money because the Democrats are going to have to try to defend two Senate seats in Pennsylvania. We don’t know all the strategy behind the scenes.”
Flannery noted, “No publicity is bad publicity. Your name’s out there. This gubernatorial run that Doug just finished up really got his name not just around the state, but nationally. People know who Doug Mastriano is and that’s a good thing for him. So I think that’s one advantage he does have, but it is an uphill battle.”
“And we’re a blue state, let’s face it,” Jansen said.