Doug Mastriano, the far-right state senator who was blown out in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial contest last fall, announced Thursday that he will not run for Senate in 2024.
“At this time we have decided not to run for Senate, but to continue to serve in Harrisburg,” Mastriano said in a video posted on Facebook Thursday.
“So I know for some, that’ll be disappointing. For others, it won’t be disappointing, because you’re like, ‘Who’s going to fill his seat? Who’s going to be our voice in Harrisburg?’ … Whoever is that nominee, I will support them,” he added.
Mastriano had been openly considering a Senate bid, much to the consternation of some party leaders who didn’t want a repeat of the losses in 2022.
Republicans are trying to knock off Sen. Bob Casey, whose re-election bid in the battleground state will play a key role in Democrats’ effort to keep their slim majority in the Senate next year.
Many Republicans are looking to Dave McCormick, a businessman who narrowly lost a GOP Senate primary last year to celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.
After Mastriano’s announcement, McCormick put out a statement saying he was still keeping the door open to running.
“I am seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate because Bob Casey has consistently made life worse for Pennsylvania families over the past 18 years, and our state deserves better,” he said.
Mastriano was first elected to the state Senate in 2019 but only rose to prominence after the 2020 election when former President Donald Trump sought allies in state Legislatures to help him reverse his loss.
On Jan. 6, 2021, Mastriano was outside the Capitol as pro-Trump stormed Congress in hopes of keeping the then-president in office, though Mastriano said he did not go inside the building. His state Senate campaign had also paid to bus people to the rally that preceded the riot.
Mastriano, a former Army colonel, sought to take advantage of his rising profile and launched a bid for governor, during which he emerged victorious over a deep primary field, aided at the finish line by Trump’s endorsement.
Throughout his run, Mastriano centered culture-war issues and wove themes of Christian nationalism into his campaign. He also took a hardline stance against abortion rights. (In 2019, he said that women who violated a proposed six-week ban should be charged with murder, NBC News reported.)
Democrat Josh Shapiro, then the state attorney general, was able to capitalize on Mastriano’s history and positions, framing him as the most extreme candidate running nationwide last fall and soaring to a more than 14-point win that was the largest margin of victory for any nonincumbent governor in Pennsylvania since 1946.