Doug Mastriano says he’ll announce next week whether he’ll run for U.S. Senate, teasing ‘crazy good news’
Mastriano described himself as a "once-in-a-lifetime" candidate for the U.S. Senate seat, but wouldn't yet say whether he plans to run.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano plans to make an announcement next week about his decision on whether he will run for the U.S. Senate, in what he teased as “crazy good news.”
Mastriano (R., Franklin), an ultra-conservative who lost his 2022 gubernatorial bid to Democrat Josh Shapiro by 15 percentage points and 800,000 votes, said Saturday at a Lebanon County event that he will disclose his decision about entering the 2024 primary on Facebook Live.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) is up for reelection next year, and at least one other Republican, former U.S. Senate candidate and financier Dave McCormick, is angling to challenge Casey. Mastriano has been considering a run in recent months.
“If we do run for U.S. Senate, it’s ours to lose in the primary,” Mastriano said in an Inquirer interview at the “Walk as Free People” event in Lebanon County. “I don’t think we can be stopped,” noting his ongoing grassroots support around the state.
Mastriano made a surprise appearance at the event and was met with cheers from an audience of 20 to 25 people.
“Our teams are alive and well in all 67 counties,” Mastriano added Saturday. “People are ready to go. So we’ll see you next week.”
However, several of his core supporters at the potluck event Saturday said they were unsure whether Mastriano should run in another statewide race, especially one that would take him out of Harrisburg. But they will support him in whatever he decides.
Others were more excited to support Mastriano in another statewide election. After Mastriano addressed the group from the Millcreek Township barn filled with American flag decorations, one supporter yelled, “Now U.S. Senate!” to claps from the group.
Mastriano noted that he and former President Donald Trump were front-runners — up by 18 points — in a March poll of Pennsylvania Republicans conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democrat-affiliated polling firm.
A Franklin and Marshall College Poll from April shows McCormick as a more competitive candidate than Mastriano in a general election against Casey, though both poll behind the incumbent Democrat.
Some Republican party officials say they believe that a Mastriano run for U.S. Senate would end any chance they have at flipping Casey’s seat and, potentially, controlling the U.S. Senate. Even Trump has privately expressed concerns about Mastriano potentially appearing on the top of the Pennsylvania ticket with him in the 2024 primary, Politico reported last month.
Trump is reluctant to endorse Mastriano this time around, after going against the Republican establishment last year to endorse him just before Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary, three people close to Trump told Politico.
Mastriano said he’s spent time with McCormick and his wife, former Trump adviser Dina Powell. He likes McCormick’s military experience and Powell’s life story.
“I like his background, but for us, and I hate to say it this way, but no one else is gonna beat my drum. It’s going to have to be myself,” Mastriano added. “I’m a once-in-a-lifetime candidate for this.”
Mastriano also referred to his top-secret clearance as a U.S. Army colonel and his 30 years military experience, at least 10 of which he spent abroad, which he said uniquely prepares him to work on international foreign policy.
» READ MORE: Casey has announced he's running for another term
“I’ve spent a lot of time developing plans with our Baltic allies — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania — to defend against Russian aggression, even before [the invasion] of Ukraine. ... To have that kind of depth and understanding, I think, would be beneficial to have in the U.S., but you’ll find out what’s going on next week,” said Mastriano, who retired from the Army in 2017.
No matter his decision on a U.S. Senate run, Mastriano said he wants to use his grassroots movement to “give birth to a new generation of leaders” and “make sure that the [next] generation can live life how you want to and not how some governor or some president says you should.”
“I’m not an opportunist. I didn’t want to do politics. I did it out of necessity,” Mastriano added. “Whether I think I’m more effective in Harrisburg right now, I’ll stay in Harrisburg. If I can be more effective in D.C., then I’ll go to D.C. So my heart is: Where can I best serve the people of Pennsylvania?”