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Mastriano outraised, outspent in homestretch

Plus, where the guv candidates stand on crime, justice.


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA

Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
September 29, 2022
Campaign funds, crime and punishment, clergy loophole, single-issue, pay days, teacher pipeline, and Beaver Stadium beer is a go. It's Thursday.
🎁 BONUS DAYS: Today and tomorrow only, all gifts in support of Spotlight PA's vital election coverage will be *DOUBLED* as a bonus to close out our Autumn Member Drive and end September strong.

Don't miss this final chance to power the best election reporting in Pennsylvania and have your impact go twice as far.


With six weeks left until voters go to the polls, Democrat Josh Shapiro has already set a state record for spending in a single governor's race.

His $42.7 million total includes a staggering $28 million spent in the past three months alone. Shapiro raised $25.4 million during that same three-month stretch, much of it from state and national groups that work to elect Democrats, as well as private and public unions.

By comparison, Shapiro's Republican opponent, Doug Mastriano, a far-right state senator from Franklin County, raised $3.1 million since June, mostly from small donors giving $250 or less, and spent less than $1 million.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Shapiro sets spending record, outraises Mastriano in final weeks of governor’s race.

THE CONTEXT: For the first time, Mastriano's campaign has attracted a smattering of support from donors outside Pennsylvania, including a $1 million donation — his largest of the latest campaign finance cycle — from "the most powerful conservative couple you've never heard of."

Shapiro's largest single donor, meanwhile, was the Democratic Governors Association, which helps elect Democratic governors nationwide.

It contributed $5.1 million between early June and mid-September. Earlier this year, the group gave Shapiro another $547,500.

The large donations to both candidates underscore the importance of this year's gubernatorial contest — the outcome of which will determine the future of abortion rights, ballot access, and public school funding here.


"I want, not only myself, but all of the residents in Towamencin, to be able to have a voice in what happens here. We just want to be heard."

—Jenn Foster on the push to block the pending sale of Towamencin's sewer system to a private Florida company by changing a local law
» THE STATE OF PA ELECTIONS: Join us TODAY at 6 p.m. ET via Zoom for a free Q&A with Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman, who oversees elections in Pennsylvania. Chapman will discuss how her agency secures and runs elections, explain the state's voting policies, and answer all of your pressing questions ahead of Nov. 8. Register for the event here and submit your questions to events@spotlightpa.org
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...

»  Crime & Justice
»  LGTBQ Rights

More issue analyses will be published in the coming weeks.

A complete listing of Spotlight PA voter guides:  

»  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 for 50+ years
»  How Spotlight PA will cover Pennsylvania's 2022 election

En Español:

»  Su guía completa de los candidatos a gobernador

Support Spotlight PA's vital election coverage by making a gift now.
» CITY & STATE: State Police endorse Josh Shapiro for governor
» INQUIRER: Struggling Mastriano turns to 'fasting and prayer' (paywall)
» MORNING CALL: Lehigh Valley state Senate debate preview (paywall)
» POST-GAZETTE: Trump stumps for Mastriano in tele-rally (paywall)
» WHYY: Abortion statements roil Montco race for the Pa. House
» YDR: U.S. Rep. Perry, challenger Daniels spar in forum (paywall)
The cavernous indoor driving range at Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center on Neville Island near Pittsburgh, as seen by me. Send us your photos, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
POLICY PRIMER: What would Pennsylvania's criminal justice policy look like under the two top candidates running for governor in November's election — Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, the state's current attorney general, and Republican nominee Doug Mastriano, a state senator? Spotlight PA breaks down their positions on issues like bail, prisons, parole, pardons, and police oversight here.
NO MANDATE: Forty pieces of legislation in Pennsylvania have included changes in mandatory child sex abuse reporting laws over the past two decades. But none has challenged an exemption from such reporting requirements for church leaders. The AP reports that comes as no surprise to child sex abuse survivors and their advocates, who have seen the power of the Catholic church's lobby in action here.

TOP ISSUE: A poll of 420 likely Pennsylvania voters found 20% saying that abortion would be the deciding issue for them in November's midterms, WITF reports, adding, "the group ranked it second only to the economy." In a similar poll taken around the 2018 midterms, only 3% of voters identified abortion as their top issue. Other polls show similar trends, and Democrats have noticed. 

PER DIEMS: State Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R., Lawrence) is drumming up support for a bill that would eliminate per diem pay for lawmakers — a professional flat-rate allowance for food, lodgings, and 50-mile-plus travel that legislators can claim without receipts — and replace it with a receipt-based reimbursement system. Spotlight PA reported on a similar legislative effort in 2021 that ultimately went nowhere.

NOW HIRING: Pennsylvania's teacher shortage didn't happen overnight. Annual certifications have been falling for years, and while educators are indeed leaving their jobs, the bigger problem remains the comparatively low number of people entering the profession. WHYY has a look at what state lawmakers are doing to grow the pipeline and the complex currents those policy efforts are swimming against.

IN MEMORIAM: Judah Samet, a Holocaust survivor who also survived the mass murder at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, has died, WTAE reports. Samet was 84 years old.

SEND HELP: Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania-Task Force 1 is being deployed to help with the Hurricane Ian response in Florida. Task force members were recently dispatched to help Puerto Rico during Fiona.

ON STRIKE: Philadelphia Museum of Art workers are on strike as contract talks continue. WHYY explains what the workers want

PARK RULES: Kennywood says it's rolling out new security protocols and a chaperone policy following Saturday's shooting, TribLIVE reports.

BEER HERE: Beaver Stadium is expanding beer sales to all eligible attendees starting with Saturday's home game against Northwestern, per WNEP.

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.

Yesterday's answer: Consensus

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Starr B., Michelle T., Barbara F., Don H., John A., Kim C., Beth T., Becky C., Judith D., Elaine C., Deb N., Wendy A., Doris T., Susan D., James B., George S., Antoinette F., Dianne K., Susan N.-Z., David W., Bill S., Joel S., Stanley J., and Irene R.
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