HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano were both endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Both won their competitive primaries, but both ultimately lost their general election campaigns.
“Certainly not helpful to the quote-unquote Trump brand,” says Pete Shelly.
It’s not just Democrats pointing fingers. Republican State Senator Dan Laughlin of Erie says if voters “wonder why we have a Democratic governor after eight years of Governor Wolf that lands squarely on Donald Trump’s desk.”
Sen. Laughlin blames Republicans’ losses on the quality of the GOP candidates, Donald Trump appointing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, and events surrounding the “big lie.”
“The whole election denier stuff, the January 6th stuff, all of it is on (Trump’s) shoulders and quite frankly that’s why we didn’t have a good midterm election cycle and I think America knows that.”
Not all Republicans completely agree with that assessment. Marc Scaringi, a Trump delegate to the GOP convention in 2016 and 20, said Pennsylvania Republicans had “two poor candidates.”
The two, Oz and Mastriano, were ultimately picked by Trump.
“That Trump endorsement ultimately hurt our chances of winning the US Senate in the general election,” said Scaringi.
Republican calls for Trump to go away are no longer whispers, getting louder and louder.
“My opinion is if (Trump) wants to play a supporting role that’s his role but it’s not gonna be as the lead guy anymore,” said Laughlin.
“Trumpism is alive and well in Pennsylvania,” says Scaringi. “Trumpism is very strong in Pennsylvania, even after Election Day.”
Scaringi believes Trump will ultimately run for President in 2024 and win a Pennsylvania primary, however, he thinks Florida Governor Ron DeSantis “has a better chance to win the general election in 2024 than Donald Trump does.”
Both Laughlin and Scaringi urged Trump not to announce his presidential plans until after the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff election, which may decide the balance of power in Washington with Trump’s endorsed candidate Herschel Walker.
Laughlin and Scaringi also advised that Trump should not attack DeSantis, who they called a rising star