Trifecta status on the line in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election on Nov. 8

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), and three others are running in the general election for governor of Pennsylvania on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Tom Wolf (D) cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Shapiro was elected as attorney general in 2016 and served as Montgomery County Commissioner from 2011-2017 and state representative from 2005-2011. Shapiro’s campaign has focused on two key messages: his experience and work as attorney general and his potential ability as governor to veto legislation passed by the legislature’s Republican majority. Shapiro said his experience in the criminal justice system and on cases related to LGBTQ issues, workers’ issues, and election security are things he would continue to pursue as governor. Shapiro’s campaign website highlighted abortion and absentee/mail-in voting issues where he would veto legislation he disagreed with.

Mastriano was elected as a state senator from the Cumberland Valley in 2018. He served in the United States Army from 1988 to 2017. Mastriano also proposed a number of election policy changes, including eliminating no excuse absentee/mail-in voting and drop boxes, enacting universal voter identification, and prohibiting the use of private donations or grants for election administration. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and its overturning of Roe v. Wade, Mastriano called on the state legislature to pass a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Mastriano said he would rescind any remaining mask and vaccine mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic on his first day in office and work to pass a law banning similar future mandates.

How the state runs its elections has been one focus of each candidate’s campaign. As of 2022, the governor of Pennsylvania has the power to appoint a secretary of state charged with certifying election results, determining which voting machines the state uses, and ordering recounts and recanvasses of elections. Shapiro said, “[I will] appoint a pro-democracy Secretary of State to run our elections, expand pre-registration opportunities for young people, and implement same-day voter registration through Election Day.” Mastriano’s website said he would “Appoint a Secretary of State with experience in securing elections from fraud.”

Heading into the election, Pennsylvania has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A Shapiro win would preserve this divided government, while a Mastriano win would create the opportunity for a Republican trifecta if Republicans also hold the state legislature. A trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship and a majority in both legislative chambers. Across the country, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments.

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Christina Digiulio (G), Joseph Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania), and Matt Hackenburg (L).

Each candidate has a running mate for lieutenant governor. Shapiro’s running mate is state Rep. Austin Davis and Mastriano’s running mate is state Rep. Carrie DelRosso.