Pa. election updates: Mastriano wins GOP nomination for governor

The latest on the 2022 Pennsylvania primary election.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

What you should know

McSwain concedes to Mastriano for Pa. governor GOP nomination

Bill McSwain takes part in a forum for Republican candidates for governor of Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Camp Hill, Pa., Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Bill McSwain takes part in a forum for Republican candidates for governor of Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Camp Hill, Pa., Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

With 15.5% of the vote before 10 p.m., Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain conceded to Doug Mastriano in Tuesday night’s primary election.

He opened his concession speech, to a room full of his supporters at Barnaby’s in his West Chester hometown, by congratulating Mastriano.

Anybody can be a good winner. What matters is how we conduct ourselves when we face adversity,” said McSwain. “When that happens, we have to accept the disappointment, but we hold our heads high, we remain true to ourselves, we stick with our principles, and we act in dignity and honor. And that’s what I think we need in politics.” 

McSwain’s odds were stacked against him after former President Donald Trump declared him a “coward,” and he lost the backing of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a Harrisburg conservative group. 

Commonwealth Partners endorsed Lou Barletta on Sunday. In a last minute effort to beat Mastriano, they called for McSwain and Dave White to pull out of the race and endorse Barletta.

In recent months, McSwain has also received criticism from West Chester families and community members for tweeting a photo of a Gay Straight Alliance club flyer hung in Fugett Middle School, of West Chester Area School District. He wrote, “this ends when I’m governor.” 

McSwain’s main talking points on the campaign trail were lowering the gas tax, ensuring veterans acquire marketable skills, and supporting law enforcement

“And while I wish I were giving a different speech tonight, the people of Pennsylvania have spoken, and I will always respect the will of the great people of Pennsylvania,” McSwain said.

Doug Mastriano wins GOP nomination for Pa. governor

State Sen. Doug Mastriano

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano has emerged as the winner from a crowded Republican primary for governor, according to a race call from The Associated Press.

A retired Army colonel, Mastriano has risen to prominence espousing far-right views directly to a homegrown network of online supporters. He’s also known for his support of a lie that widespread election fraud led to former President Donald Trump’s loss in 2020. For that, Mastriano received Trump’s endorsement.

The lawmaker from south-central Pennsylvania campaigned using a mix of stand-by Republican positions like lowering taxes and publicly funding private schools, as well as more extreme stances on issues like abortion. Mastriano supports banning the procedure after six weeks and introduced a bill to that effect in the state Senate.

He will face Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the fall.

Videos sourced by online sleuths months after Jan. 6, 2021, showed the state senator marching alongside protestors past an abandoned police barricade near the U.S. Capitol. Mastriano released a statement shortly after the videos were released affirming his attendance at the rally for Trump and subsequent march to the U.S. Capitol that day, but insists he followed the law in doing so.

Mastriano is among the sitting lawmakers who have been subpoenaed by a U.S. House committee that is investigating the U.S. Capitol attack.

Kenyatta concedes Democratic primary for U.S. Senate

Malcolm Kenyatta concedes the democratic nomination in Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race and vows to help John Fetterman beat the Republican nominee at his watch party in Philadelphia on May 17, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Malcolm Kenyatta concedes the democratic nomination in Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race and vows to help John Fetterman beat the Republican nominee at his watch party in Philadelphia on May 17, 2022. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta’s bid for U.S. Senate fell short on Tuesday.

With nearly half of the votes counted, the 31-year-old Democrat sat in second to last place behind U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and Lt. Governor John Fetterman, who bested the four-person field. This is despite notable endorsements from the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union of Pennsylvania.

Speaking inside the Divine Lorraine Hotel in Philadelphia, Kenyatta told supporters he was proud of his campaign, in part because of the history it made.

“Today, because of you, this is only the second time an African-American has even stood up to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate,” said Kenyatta.

He said his campaign also helped push progressive issues forward.

“We stood up for a Pennsylvania where you have a good job, a good school for your kid, good healthcare, an affordable prescription. We fought for that to be the norm, not the exception,” he said.

Kenyatta, the first openly gay person of color to serve in Harrisburg, faced an uphill battle from the start, lacking the kind of name recognition and campaign fundraising needed to top his competitors.

His progressive campaign was rooted in social justice. His platform included calls to raise the federal minimum wage, end mass incarceration, and eliminate or reduce student loan debt.

With 36% of the votes counted in the county by 10 p.m., Kenyatta was ahead in Philadelphia.

Despite the loss, Kenyatta’s political career is still very much alive. He will remain a state representative unless a Republican bests him in November’s general election.

Kenyatta did not have a Democratic challenger in Tuesday’s primary election.

John Fetterman wins Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Pa. primary election

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, who is running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania, greets supporters at a campaign stop, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Greensburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman, who is running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania, greets supporters at a campaign stop, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Greensburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has won the state’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate just days after suffering a stroke.

The 52-year-old Fetterman defeated U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta on Tuesday to advance to November’s general election. He will face the winner of a hotly contested Republican primary that includes Dr. Mehmet Oz, ex-hedge fund CEO David McCormick, and community activist Kathy Barnette.

Fetterman suffered a stroke Friday, injecting uncertainty into the Democratic primary race that for weeks had been shaping up as a runaway. He said he is on his way to a “full recovery” but will remain in the hospital for a while. He underwent a procedure to receive a pacemaker implant earlier today.

Fetterman, a former mayor of Braddock, is a progressive who has vowed to be a reliable vote for organized labor and liberal causes in Washington. Democrats see the seat being vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey as among their best pickup opportunities in the country.

Shapiro wins Democratic primary for Pa. governor

Pennsylvania candidate for governor, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks after receiving endorsements from environmental advocates at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Pennsylvania candidate for governor, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks after receiving endorsements from environmental advocates at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Pennsylvania Democrats have made their choice for governor official, handing the nomination to second-term state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The incumbent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, is term-limited.

Shapiro, 48, from the Philadelphia suburb of Abington, spent the primary campaign season raising money and working to boost his pick for lieutenant governor ahead of what is expected to be a grueling fall campaign.

He is a former state lawmaker and county commissioner whose record as attorney general includes the production of a 2018 report into child sexual abuse among the state’s Catholic churches.

Shapiro’s advertising in recent weeks has included spots introducing him to voters, but he also has targeted state Sen. Doug Mastriano as the Republican gubernatorial candidate who emerged from the large primary field as a frontrunner.

With all eyes on Oz, national media descends upon Bucks County

Inside Dr. Oz’s watch party, where only ''red badge'' media are permitted to shoot the main event. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Inside Dr. Oz’s watch party, where only ''red badge'' media are permitted to shoot the main event. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Polls are closed and all eyes are on the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat left open by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

In the past week, it has heated into a tight race between three frontrunners: famed TV doctor Mehmet Oz, former hedgefund CEO David McCormick and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette. Oz won former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, and the race is seen as a test of the power of the former president’s backing.

By 8 p.m., the national media had already descended upon the Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County, where Oz is holding his watch party. A stage was set up with American flags, and a small group of invited guests — family and supporters — gathered around cocktail tables. Reporters set up equipment on risers in the main room, while others (including WHYY News) were restricted to an “overflow” room to watch the party on television screens.

Around 9 p.m., a small crowd of family and supporters watched the results trickle in on Fox News, including an easy win for Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the Democratic primary race for Senate.

Oz has generally led polls among the crowded field of GOP primary candidates — but not by much. He has also struggled with likability, with some polls showing more Republican voters holding an unfavorable opinion of him than a favorable one.

Results Tuesday evening showed Dave McCormick neck and neck with Oz.

In the 8th District, faceoff between Sen. Anthony Williams and newcomer Paul Prescod heats up

The Grand Yesha Ballroom, a polling place for the May 17, 2022 primary election. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The Grand Yesha Ballroom, a polling place for the May 17, 2022 primary election. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

In South and West Philadelphia on Tuesday, one of the most contentious races on the ballot is for the state Senate’s 8th District.

Former public school teacher and union organizer Paul Prescod is challenging longtime incumbent Anthony Hardy Williams — and at least once, things got heated at the polls between volunteers for the two campaigns.

At the polling place at Grand Yesha Ballroom in South Philly, just down the street from one of Williams’ district offices, volunteers for Prescod were concerned Williams’ volunteers were electioneering too close to the polling places, something political operatives aren’t supposed to do.

A shouting match ensued and the Prescod workers called the District Attorney’s office, which handles election malfeasance — though a spokeswoman said no official complaint was ever filed, and noted that polling place disputes are often settled at the scene.

Anton Moore, the ward leader for this section of South Philly and a dedicated Williams supporter, confirmed he was involved in the altercation, and said he thinks it followed lines of tension he’s seen throughout this race. There’s a perception among some Williams supporters — common in Philly politics — that Prescod’s progressive supporters are all people who don’t have history in the district.

48th Ward Leader, Anton Moore. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Moore said he felt disrespected. “I don’t go in and tell people, ‘this is what you should think,’” he said. “We must remain respectful in what we’re doing. No one is better than anyone.”

Dino Guastella, who is director of operations for Teamsters Local 623 and has a long history with Philly’s chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), calls that “typical shenanigans.” He was at the polls supporting Prescod, and said he sees the race very differently from Moore: not as a case of interlopers, but as an opportunity for positive change.

“Hardy Williams has been there a long time, and he’s not done a lot, especially for the unions and for a lot of the working people,” Guastella said. “We’re supposed to have a trolley barn in this district, which would have been a lot of SEPTA jobs. Those are all union jobs. Those are good, career-long jobs for people to have for many, many years. And Hardy Williams supported making them Amazon jobs. Those are bad jobs, non-union jobs.”

The race is a bit of a David and Goliath battle. Williams is one of the most powerful Democrats in the Senate, and in his 23 years in the chamber — he won the seat in an uncontested election after his father, Hardy Williams, retired from it — he has never had a serious primary challenger. He has the backing of the city Democratic Committee, as well as building trades like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 98, and pro-charter school groups.

Prescod is new to politics, but has raised a competitive campaign chest of around $300,000 and developed a formidable ground game thanks to several of the organizations who are supporting him — chiefly, Teamsters Local 623, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, progressive group Reclaim Philadelphia, and Philly DSA.

As workday comes to an end, voter lines are growing

Poll workers at North Light Community Center in Manayunk. LIZZY MCLELLAN RAVITCH / BILLY PENN

Poll workers at North Light Community Center in Manayunk. LIZZY MCLELLAN RAVITCH / BILLY PENN

With the workday over for many in the region, voters may see longer lines at their polling places from now until they close at 8 p.m.

There’s been a steady stream of people filing into the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City, Philadelphia, where Davoren Chick was casting her vote. She said she prefers voting in person over submitting a mail ballot. 

“I like the civic experience of coming out and interacting with other voters and people volunteering their time to set up ballot boxes, and the energy around the voting sites. I just love voting,” Chick said. 

Davoren Chick outside the Museum of the American Revolution in Old City, Philadelphia. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

Ruth Kelly made sure to come out to cast her vote in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. She ended up voting for Lt. Governor John Fetterman, even though she thinks Congressman Conor Lamb may fare better in the general election. 

“I think it’s important to vote for who you think represents you,” Kelly said. 

“Don’t love Fetterman’s outfits,” she added. 

Ruth Kelley. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

The winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary will face one of five candidates vying for the seat in the Republican primary

Bucks County resident Susie Maguire cast her ballot for Dr. Mehmet Oz, who led a recent poll of likely Republican voters conducted by Emerson College. She sees Oz as patriotic –– a political outsider ready to change things. 

“Democrats, they’ve done nothing,” said Maguire. “Absolutely nothing, except taking us down.” 

Fellow Republican Rich Velucci voted against Oz, calling the celebrity doctor an “opportunist.”

“I think he wants power…I don’t think he really has the people in mind,” said Velucci. 

Philly has finished counting nearly 50K mail ballots

Chester County election workers process mail and absentee ballots

File: Chester County election workers process mail and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election in the United States at West Chester University, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in West Chester. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

Philadelphia has finished counting the roughly 47,000 mail ballots it was slated to process today. Results from those ballots will start going live at 8 p.m., when polls close statewide.

Starting Wednesday afternoon, city election workers will begin counting whatever mail ballots were received after last week’s application deadline. That effort should wrap up sometime on Friday, said Nick Custodio, a spokesperson for the City Commissioners, who oversee elections in Philadelphia.

Custodio said he expects the final tally to contain more in-person ballots than mail ballots. In 2020, the split was roughly even. Since then, mail ballots have accounted for roughly a third of the overall tally.

“Roughly speaking,” Custodio said.

Lancaster County reports problem scanning ‘significant number’ of mail ballots

Polling judge Frank Kosek, right, Elaine Rhone, left, guide her ballot into a voting machine during the Pennsylvania primary election, at Mont Alto United Methodist Church in Alto, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster)

Polling judge Frank Kosek, right, Elaine Rhone, left, guide her ballot into a voting machine during the Pennsylvania primary election, at Mont Alto United Methodist Church in Alto, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster)

The Lancaster County Board of Elections reported issues scanning a “significant number” of mail ballots that arrived before Election Day.

When election staff started opening and scanning the ballots at 7 a.m. Tuesday, “it became immediately apparent that a significant number of the mail ballots did not scan,” according to a county press release.

“Upon further inspection of the ballots, the county identified the ballots were printed by the mail ballot vendor, NPC, with the wrong identification code,” the release continued. “This error prevents the ballots from being scanned on the county’s central scanners.”

The county board said there was no way to know about the issue before scanning the ballots this morning. Test ballots scanned without a problem, and under current state law, election staff cannot legally open mail ballots before polls open on Election Day.

The board said it would re-mark all of the affected ballots by hand and then scan them — the same process it used in the 2021 primary election, when a previous vendor also printed the ballots incorrectly.

“The county subsequently fired [that vendor] and replaced [it] with this current vendor, which serves many Pennsylvania counties,” the press release said. “These types of errors are unacceptable and we hold the vendors responsible.”

At an afternoon press conference, county officials said about two-thirds of the 21,000 mail ballots received as of Tuesday morning were affected by the error, and that the process to re-mark and count the ballots would likely take several days.

GOP County Commissioners Josh Parsons and Ray D’Agostino said that in addition to the mail ballot vendor, they placed blame for the issue on Act 77, a 2019 state law that allows voters to cast mail ballots without needing a legally-approved reason. Republican lawmakers have objected to no-excuse mail ballot voting, and the state Supreme Court is currently weighing its constitutionality.

John Fetterman receiving pacemaker implantation after stroke

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman posted a video from the hospital. (6abc)

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman posted a video from the hospital. (6abc)

Lt. Governor John Fetterman will undergo a “standard procedure” to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator, the Democrat’s campaign announced this afternoon.

“It should be a short procedure that will help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation (A-fib), by regulating his heart rate and rhythm,” reads a short statement released around 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Fetterman, who is running to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by Republican Pat Toomey’s retirement, suffered a stroke on Friday.

In a statement released afterward, the 52-year-old said he wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital at the insistence of his wife, Gisele.

“I hadn’t been feeling well, but was so focused on the campaign that I ignored the signs and kept going,” said Fetterman. “On Friday, it finally caught up with me.”

Fetterman is considered the frontrunner in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and community organizer Alexandria Khalil are also vying for the open seat.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday evening that President Pro Tempore of the Senate Jake Corman will “temporarily assume the duties of acting lieutenant governor.”

“We continue to wish the lieutenant governor the very best as he continues to focus on his health and recovery. However, as the lieutenant governor undergoes a standard procedure, there is a process in place to ensure that our government remains fully operational,” Wolf said in a statement.

“This is a short-term transfer of power, and we hope and expect the lieutenant governor to resume his duties very soon.”

Slow pace for primary voting is picking up at the polls

Clara Boyer is seen wearing a mask outside her polling station

Clara Boyer, 73, of Jenkintown, said that her choice to fill the U.S. Senate seat is state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

After an extremely slow start this morning at the polls, the previously nonexistent lines have grown.

With foot traffic picking up, many voters said the contest that motivated them to cast their ballot is the U.S. Senate race.

William Harrison, 66, of Jenkintown, feels that his candidate is not getting a fair shake from her critics.

“I’m concerned about Kathy Barnette in that — all of a sudden, just before the election — a lot of accusations come out without enough time for her to disprove them,” Harrison said.

He categorized himself as anti-abortion and “strongly pro-religious freedom,” so he expects his U.S. Senate choice to support U.S. Supreme Court nominees who reflect his conservative ideals.

William Harrison stands outside his polling station.
William Harrison, 66, of Jenkintown, feels that his Republican candidate for U.S. Senate is not getting a fair shake from her critics. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

Clara Boyer, 73, of Jenkintown, said that her choice to fill Pat Toomey’s Senate seat is state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

One issue that she hopes her ballot selections address is gun violence.

“There is too [much] gun violence. There is too [much] gun violence. So I knew I needed to vote,” Boyer said.

From gun control and inflation to gas prices and abortion rights, there are many issues on the minds of voters.

“It’s just a lot of stuff going on,” said James Ke, 71, of Jenkintown. “Sometimes scary, even politically. But, I think [if] we all come out and do what we are supposed to do. We’ll work it out.”

Philly DA’s office launches Election Task Force

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks during a news conference

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia, Monday, March 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

As voters head to the polls today, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office is activating its election task force, to review concerns at polling places.

“People out to steal Philly votes go to jail,” DA Larry Krasner said in a statement ahead of the primary. “We will hold accountable those who are caught intimidating or threatening voters and election workers.”

More than 30 assistant district attorneys and detectives will be monitoring and responding to voting-related complaints about issues like intimidation and unlawful electioneering throughout the day. The task force will stay active until election results are certified.

Voters looking to report issues outside polling places can call the election task force hotline at 215-686-9641.

For issues inside polling places, voters can call the county board of elections at 215-686-1590.

Have a health emergency on Election Day? Here’s how to cast your ballot

Election workers, left, check in voters before they cast their ballots in the Pennsylvania primary in Philadelphia

Election workers, left, check in voters before they cast their ballots in the Pennsylvania primary in Philadelphia, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Health issues have thwarted Election Day plans for two prominent Democratic candidates. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who’s vying for U.S. Senate, suffered a stroke on Friday and is currently recovering in the hospital. Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who’s running uncontested for governor, tested positive for COVID-19 last night and is isolating at home.

All this has raised a question for voters: what do you do if you become sick on Election Day?

In Pennsylvania, voters who fall unexpectedly ill or have a last-minute emergency and can’t go to the polls in person can apply for an emergency absentee ballot and authorize a representative to pick up and return that ballot.

A campaign spokesperson confirmed that Shapiro will vote by emergency ballot.

On Tuesday afternoon, Fetterman tweeted that he had just cast his vote from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital using an emergency ballot.

The deadline to submit an emergency absentee ballot is 8 p.m. on Election Day, the same time the polls close.

Josh Shapiro tests positive for COVID-19

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Josh Shapiro, the lone Democratic candidate for governor in the Pennsylvania primary, has tested positive for COVID-19.

The state attorney general tweeted that he took a precautionary test last night before heading to Johnstown and Pittsburgh for Election Day, and is experiencing mild symptoms. He’s isolating at home.

Shapiro had planned to cast his ballot in his hometown of Abington this morning, then make remarks in Johnstown before attending an Election Night party for Lt. Governor candidate Austin Davis in Pittsburgh. Those plans have been called off, and a campaign spokesperson confirmed that Shapiro is voting by emergency absentee ballot.

He said he plans to get back on the campaign trail next week, and to kick off the general election in Johnstown.

“After these few days at home, I’m going to go win this race for Pennsylvania,” he tweeted.

» READ MORE: Josh Shapiro, Dem. candidate for Pa. gov., tests positive for COVID

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