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Guv candidates raised $12.8M in April alone

Plus, Trump looks to curb Barnette's momentum.


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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
May 13, 2022
Fundraising reports, end run, order of appearance, political steer, Fetterman island, effective date, and awkward gifts. It's Friday ... the 13th.
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In the month of April, six- and even seven-figure campaign donations routinely flowed into the coffers of leading Republicans competing in the nine-way primary race, as well as the campaign account of Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running unopposed on May 17.

Spotlight PA has a breakdown of the huge sums fueling the contest, which both parties view as a must-win at a time when voting and reproductive rights stand to be dramatically reshaped in state capitols.

Democrat Josh Shapiro raised just under $3 million in April, spent $3.1 million, and had $15.8 million on hand — the most of all 10 candidates for governor. Among his top donors for the month: two prominent labor unions and the director Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw.

Republican Lou Barletta, a former congressman and mayor, raised $683,003, spent $790,438, and had $248,857 on hand. His top donor for the month was a political action committee favored by NEPA businessmen. 

Republican Doug Mastriano, the state senator from Franklin County, is leading in the polls but raised the least among the GOP frontrunners. He collected $191,845.14, spent $490,723.86, and held $792,490.92 on hand. Most of his donations were under $250, Spotlight PA found.

Republican Bill McSwain, a former U.S. attorney, raised $6 million in April — the most out of all the candidates — spent $7.2 million, and had $473,779 on hand. He received $4.9 million from a political action committee that's bankrolled by a billionaire school-choice advocate. 

Republican Dave White, a Delaware County businessman, raised nearly $2.4 million — spent nearly all of that — and had $282,054 on hand. White's top donor was a Philadelphia real estate developer/charter school founder. White also donated $1 million of his own money to his campaign.

Find more detail on the donations and donors here.

THE CONTEXT: In all, the 10 gubernatorial candidates have raised more than $44 million since the start of 2021. That amount is expected to rise sharply after the primary and in the months leading up to November.

Shapiro's vast donor base and his lack of a primary opponent will help him enter the general election campaign season flush with cash.

But expect huge infusions from deep-pocketed interests (both in- and out-of-state) to continue on both sides of the aisle in the months ahead.

In related news: The GOP field narrowed by one on Thursday as state Sen. Jake Corman (R., Centre) ended his lagging bid. More on that below. 


"My concern is we have unelected bureaucrats who are at-will employees who seem to think they are in positions to direct elected officials who are elected by the people. They should stay in their lane."

Westmoreland County Sheriff James Albert continuing a back-and-forth with county officials who told him deputies couldn't work last week's Trump rally in Greensburg; Albert ultimately ignored the directive

» A last-minute guide to everything you need to know to vote May 17

» How to make sure your mail ballot is counted in the primary

» A guide to the overlooked race for Pa. lieutenant governor

» Your guide to the Democratic and GOP candidates for governor

» Big donations to GOP guv hopefuls: Who gave and how much?

» See how much cash Josh Shapiro has raised in the governor's race

» More election coverage

Support Spotlight PA's public-service election and voting coverage now.

Eyes on the sky with PA Poster Robert N. Have a cool pic to share? Send us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.
CLOSING BID: State Sen. Jake Corman (R., Centre) exited the Republican race for governor on Thursday, as forecasted, and he's throwing his support behind another GOP hopeful: Lou Barletta. With days left before the May 17 primary, Republican insiders are worried that hard-line frontrunner Doug Mastriano will win. If he does, they're confident he'll wind up losing in November, the AP reports.

UNDER ORDERS: The U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is no longer asking U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) to come in for questioning — now it's ordering him to. Perry, who was extensively involved in Trump's push to overturn the 2020 election, is one of five GOP lawmakers recently ordered to appear for interviews before the Democrat-led panel, Capital-Star reports. Perry has previously dismissed the panel as "illegitimate."

PAST FORWARD: Former President Donald Trump is questioning the electability of "ultra-MAGA" U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette, who is neck and neck with Trump's pick in the crucial primary, Mehmet Oz, and whose past statements are coming under increased scrutiny. In a statement on Thursday, Trump said Barnette "has many things in her past that have not been properly explained or vetted." He didn't offer specifics. He also didn't close the door to future support.

'LONE WOLF': The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is less neck and neck, with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman well ahead of his nearest rival in the polls. But The Inquirer probes a "striking lack of support" for Fetterman from other Democrats, including those inside the Capitol where he's presided over the state Senate since 2019. Not one Democrat in the state House or state Senate is publicly behind him.

WAGE SCALE: New rules meant to boost pay for tipped workers in Pennsylvania will take effect in August, per WESA. Currently, tipped workers here can be paid as little as $2.83 an hour if they've made at least $30 a month in tips. The new rules would increase that threshold to $135, meaning more time under the state's comparably high minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Workers say it's far from a panacea. Wholesale efforts to raise the state's minimum wage have gone nowhere.
ROLL CALL: The owner of the Chambersburg-based Martin's potato roll empire gave more than $100,000 to Doug Mastriano's gubernatorial campaign. Billy Penn reports some "sandwich slingers" are taking issue

BIG OOPS: St. Anselm's Catholic School in Philadelphia is apologizing after it sold fake Mother's Day flowers to students with thong underwear inside, ABC27 reports. One mom, at least, seemed to take it in stride.

PA Q&A: Which is harder to answer: "Pennsylvania has its own version of one of the seven natural wonders of the world, what is it?" or "What Pennsylvania town has been on fire for 60 years?" Here's Twitter's take.

MINE RESCUE: A man who fell 25 feet into a mine shaft in Westmoreland County is lucky to have emerged with only "bumps and bruises." The local fire chief told TribLIVE all former coal towns "should be concerned."

DOWNWARD DOG: In State College, an "extremely friendly" and curious corgi named Frederick had to be rescued from a sinkhole that opened up in his family's backyard. But first he posed for some action shots.
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