In what should be a major relief for fans of American democracy, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro will be the state’s next governor, NBC News projects. Shapiro’s victory Tuesday over Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano keeps a key swing state’s election infrastructure out of the hands of a 2020 election denier for the next four years.
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While most eyes focused on the fight for the U.S. Senate seat in the state, Shapiro’s win seemed likely for weeks as he maintained a comfortable lead in the polls. Shapiro likely benefited from ticket-splitters who planned to vote for Republican Mehmet Oz in the Senate race but were unwilling to support Mastriano. (One GOP outside group went so far as to run an ad in September telling voters that Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is “way more radical” than Shapiro, all but endorsing Republicans’ crossing over on their ballots.)
In the closing weeks of the election, Mastriano’s brand of Christian nationalism in particular seemed to turn off Pennsylvania voters, especially his attacks on Shapiro’s sending his kids to a Jewish day school. His win also acts as a roadblock to state legislators — like Mastriano — who would roll back Pennsylvanians’ access to abortion.