Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Outside spending targets Mastriano, SCOPA to weigh undated ballots, and Proud Boys at PSU

Plus, a ‘QAnon-friendly’ road show comes to Pa.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
October 24, 2022
Political spending, King's Bench, cannabis rules, Proud Boys, ReAwaken America, siege sentence, and strike reporting. It's Monday and Diwali.

Campaign finance records show outside groups have spent a combined $2.5 million since the start of the year on Pennsylvania's governor's race: most of it against far-right Republican nominee Doug Mastriano.

The spending presents another obstacle for Mastriano, who has struggled to gain traction with establishment GOP donors and whose campaign has complained about the lack of institutional support.

His political fundraising trails Shapiro's by more than $45 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports, as outside groups — some Republican-aligned — spend millions more against him.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Most outside spending on Pa. governor's race has one aim: to defeat Doug Mastriano.

THE CONTEXT: Gunner Ramer is political director of the Republican Accountability Project's political action committee, which has spent roughly $850,000 and counting on anti-Mastriano ads this year. 

That includes showcases of Mastriano's Republican critics.

"Our target is suburban, college-educated voters," Ramer told Spotlight PA, adding that the goal is "showing them who Doug Mastriano is."

This year, anti-Mastriano groups from outside the state have spent $2.5 million combined on the race. Some outside groups have countered with ads on his behalf, but they total just under $135,800.

Spending by outside groups, called "independent expenditures," is unaffiliated with campaigns but typically benefits one.

WESA's Chris Potter noted they can move the needle in a given race: "... in part because they often are meaner than ads candidates put out themselves. Oftentimes the more expensive the buy, the cheaper the shot."


"They want to impeach our ideas."

—Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner saying he expects to face an impeachment vote in the state House as soon as this week
Read our complete coverage, plus key dates, campaign finance data, sample ballots & more at our Election Center 2022 website.

Spotlight on the Issues: Where Mastriano and Shapiro stand on:

»  College Funding & Student Debt
»  Energy & Environment
»  Crime & Justice
»  LGTBQ Rights
»  Abortion, Medicaid, & Opioids
»  Rural Health Care & Broadband

More issue analyses will be published in the coming weeks. 

A complete listing of Spotlight PA voter guides:  

»  Your complete guide to voting in the Nov. 8 election
»  Everything you need to know about mail ballots
»  Your complete guide to the candidates for governor
»  How to vet the candidates on your midterm ballot
»  No constitutional amendments on the ballot, but big ones loom
»  How to serve as a poll worker on Nov. 8
»  These Pa. voters haven't missed a Nov. election in 50+ years
»  How Spotlight PA will cover Pennsylvania's 2022 election

En Español:

»  Una guía básica para investigar a los candidatos
»  Cómo trabajar como trabajador electoral el 8 de noviembre
»  Todo lo que necesita saber para votar por correo
»  Su guía completa de los candidatos a gobernador
»  Una guía completa para las elecciones del 8 de noviembre

Support Spotlight PA's vital election coverage by making a gift now.
» LARRY SABATO: Rating for U.S. Rep. Doyle's seat 'likely Democratic'
» NBC NEWS: What Pa. voters really care about in the US Senate race
» PA.GOV: Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election
» PENNLIVE: Mastriano falsely says CHOP 'grabbing homeless kids'
» WITF: State Rep. Guzman vows complaint over rival's newsletter nod

Correction: A Friday headline here confused the maker of a vow to send migrants to Biden's home state if elected. It was GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, not Mehmet Oz. The linked article had it right.
An aerial shot of Toon Town (aka Altoona) and the Tuckahoe Valley, courtesy of pilot DeeBee C. Have an interesting image of your own to share? Email PA Gem submissions (including Halloween and voting pics) to us here, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
BALLOT BENCH: Pennsylvania's Supreme Court will invoke its extraordinary King's Bench power to weigh in on whether undated or misdated mail ballots should be counted here, a question very much hanging over the Nov. 8 election. The case will move quickly — litigant briefs are due today and tomorrow. In a ruling delivered on Friday in a separate case, the high court said yes to "ballot curing."

FINAL VERSION: A final version of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law was adopted last week after six years of temporary rules. PennLive reports the most contentious issue involves an added layer of lab testing to prevent labs and growers from working in "cahoots" or growers from favoring labs that produce more desirable results, an issue in other cannabis markets around the country

PSU PROTEST: Penn State hosts Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right Proud Boys, for a "comedy event" today. Students have protested and urged the university to intervene, which it didn't, citing First Amendment issues. "My friends and I are pretty disgusted," student Sam Ajah told The Guardian. "The university can't just abdicate all responsibility. They're giving him a platform."

'ARMY OF GOD': HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias has an illuminating Twitter thread from inside the ReAwaken America tour's weekend stop in Lancaster County, where a coterie of election deniers, vaccine deniers, and QAnon "truthers" assembled as a right-wing "Army of God." Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano was slated to address attendees but ultimately didn't show.

THREE YEARS: Alan Byerly of Berks, 55, was sentenced on Friday to nearly three years in prison for assaulting an Associated Press photographer and attacking police officers with a stun gun during the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Byerly, a carpenter by trade and father of four, has remained in custody since his arrest more than 15 months ago. Byerly said, "I should have never gotten involved."

HIGH HOLIDAY: Today is Diwali, and while a number of schools will be closed for the Hindu holiday, statewide recognition in schools remains elusive.

STRIKE NEWS: Striking Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers have launched their own online news site called Pittsburgh Union Progress.

DEBT CLOCK: A federal court has paused President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness program, but applications are open during the review.

THE PHILLIES: With Philadelphia's light poles preemptively greased, the Phillies won a trip to the World Series on Sunday, their first since 2009.

DANCE BATTLE: "Dancing on My Own" is the anthem of the Phillies post-season. But Billy Penn says it's the wrong version of the song.

YOU'RE INVITED: Join us for an in-person "Meet the Reporters" event on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 3 Dots Downtown in State College! We'll share how we find, report, and write stories. We'd also love to hear your questions and coverage ideas. RSVP for free here.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Friday's answer: Relinquish

Congrats to our weekly winner: Debra P.

Congrats to our daily winners: Becky C., Michelle T., Joel S., Barbara F., Kimberly D., Jody A., Kim C., Don H., Hugh M., Connie K., Mike B., Susan N.-Z., Starr B., Irene R., John P., Patricia M., George S., Chuck M., Steve D., Susan D., Jane R., Deb N., David W., Elaine C., Ted W., Eddy Z., Stanley J., Janet C., Craig W., Wendy A., Cameron T., and Jim A. 
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Chip in to support local journalism.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
228 Walnut St., #11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.