(WHTM) – Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano holds a double-digit lead in the Pennsylvania Governor’s race, according to a new Fox News poll.
The poll of 1,001 Pennsylvania Republican primary voters found Mastriano with 29% support.
Lou Barletta, who was tied with Mastriano in a March Fox News poll, remained steady with 17% and Bill McSwain received 13% despite a vocal un-endorsement from Donald Trump.
Dave White received 11% and Jake Corman received 5%, while 15% remain undecided in the Fox News poll. Melissa Hart, Joe Gale, Charlie Gerow, and Nche Zama each received less than 5%.
More than 80% of voters said they will definitely vote in the May 17 primary and 89% of those who are “very conservative” say they will definitely vote.
Mastriano received majority support from voters who identified themselves as Republicans, moderates, conservatives, and very conservative, as well as rural and suburban voters. Twenty-five percent of moderate voters say they are still undecided.
An April WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania primary poll showed Mastriano and Barletta tied with each just over 19%.
Some Pennsylvania Republicans are concerned and reportedly working to prevent Mastriano, who has supported unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and COVID-19 vaccine theories, from taking the nomination.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wednesday that there is a push to get several of the other candidates out of the race and have them endorse one who would give a stronger challenge to Mastriano.
The problem? Many Republicans feel Mastriano can win the primary but would then get trounced by the unopposed Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro in the fall.
Mastriano spoke with abc27’s Dennis Owens amid the reports that Republicans are working to keep him off the November ticket.
“It helps us,” said Mastriano. “In the end, it confirms so many people’s suspicions that there is a political establishment that tries to pick winners and losers sadly in the republican establishment they tend to pick losers.”
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Republicans have been shut out of the governor’s office since 2014 and some worry that Mastriano is too toxic to win the moderate Republican voters and swing voters in the heavily populated suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh while endangering down-ballot GOP candidates with a lackluster top-of-the-ticket turnout.
“So many people have downplayed our movement and ridiculed it and thought it wasn’t possible. The old chestnuts: can he raise money, can he win Philadelphia? Now they’re like, ‘Oh crap he’s gonna win this primary.’ I think it’s gonna be pretty resounding in a race of nine,” Mastriano said in his conversation with Owens.
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In recent days Democrats launched digital ads and flyers attacking Mastriano while Shapiro is airing a statewide TV ad portraying Mastriano as extreme because of his support for a ban on abortion, vow to repeal mail-in voting, and conspiracy-driven attempts to investigate the 2020 election.
Their closing line is if Mastriano wins, “it’s a win for what Donald Trump stands for.”
“Doug Mastriano will drag our commonwealth backward with an extreme agenda; he belongs nowhere near the governorship,” Shapiro’s campaign said in a statement.
When asked if he thinks he can beat Shapiro in the fall, Mastriano said, “we’re gonna beat him so bad. Smoke him like a bad cigar.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report