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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), who will face a Republican opponent in the gubernatorial election in November, is currently running an ad to boost GOP primary candidate Doug Mastriano based on the perception that he would be the easiest to defeat, the New York Times reports.
As Breitbart News reported last week, Shapiro dropped a new ad titled “Win for Trump” which closely tied Mastriano to former President Trump, although the president has not endorsed in the primary race.
The pro-Mastriano ad portrays the Pennsylvania state senator as a fierce advocate of election integrity laws and calls him “one of Donald Trump’s strongest supporters” in a ploy to GOP primary voters.
“If Mastriano wins, it’s a win for what Donald Trump stands for,” the ad states. The ad does not audibly state that it was paid for by Shapiro’s campaign but rather includes a chyron at the bottom of the screen labeled “Paid for by Shapiro for Pennsylvania.”
The New York Times on Friday reported that the pro-Mastriano Shapiro ad “appears intended to help one of his opponents in the Republican primary” in an effort to ensure that he runs against the weakest Republican opponent in November.
“Some Shapiro advisers had been toying with the ad maneuver for months, although the leadership of the campaign did not discuss the idea until it was clear that Mr. Mastriano was ahead,” the Times reported.
The ad comes as an Osage Research poll of 600 swing voters in Pennsylvania shows Mastriano is losing in a head-to-head matchup with Shapiro.
While swing voters, by a three percent margin, say they prefer a Republican to a Democrat for governor, 49 percent said they would vote for Shapiro if Mastriano is the GOP nominee. Mastriano trails in the matchup with just 41 percent.
“This is an unsustainable number for a general election nominee for a party,” the pollsters note. “Mastriano’s image is already upside down with swing voters with only 16 percent having a favorable opinion of Mastriano while already 22 percent have an unfavorable opinion.”
The Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial primary election is on May 17.