Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) conceded to his Democratic opponent for the state’s gubernatorial race Sunday, five days after he was projected to lose by multiple news outlets.
“Difficult to accept as the results are, there is no right course but to concede, which I do, and I look to the challenges ahead,” Mastriano said in a statement Sunday. “Josh Shapiro will be our next Governor, and I ask everyone to give him the opportunity to lead and pray that he leads well.”
The concession is notable for Mastriano, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and has long spread unfounded claims of election fraud while questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election that elevated Joe Biden to the White House.
In November 2020, Mastriano tried to push through a resolution in the state’s GOP-controlled legislature that would have overturned Biden’s win. The plot would have appointed alternate electors who would have then declared Trump the winner. Mastriano also chartered buses for Trump supporters ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021 “stop the steal” rally that preceded the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Governor-elect Josh Shapiro spent his campaign painting his Republican opponents as an extremist. He said earlier Sunday he hadn’t yet heard from Mastriano but remarked that he didn’t really mind.
“I mean, who cares if he calls, right?” the governor-elect told CNN. “He doesn’t get to pick the winner, the people pick the winner.”
In his statement Sunday, Mastriano called for reforms to Pennsylvania’s electoral system, saying residents deserved to “have faith in our elections.” Election officials worked to bolster the voting system ahead of the midterms amid unfounded GOP attacks and lies about fraud. They’ve since said their efforts, including more transparency and better communication, have worked.
“In my role as a State Senator, I will do my very best to help Josh Shapiro deliver that to Pennsylvanians and, if he does, I will be the first to acknowledge and applaud his achievement,” Mastriano said Sunday, adding that he wanted election results to be “more quickly decided.”