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Election 2022: Policy summary of top GOP candidates for Pennsylvania governor

By Anthony Hennen

Pennsylvania voters are less than a month away from the primaries on May 17, and some of the top Republican candidates for governor among a crowded field will appear in a televised debate on Wednesday.

As it stands from polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, the Republican field is led by five candidates: state Sen. Doug Mastriano, former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, President Pro Tempore of the state Senate Jake Corman, and former Delaware County Councilman Dave White.

All but Corman will appear in this week’s debate.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is term-limited and cannot run for reelection. Other Pennsylvania Republicans campaigning for governor are Joe Gale, who serves on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners; Charlie Gerow, vice chairman of the American Conservative Union; Melissa Hart, a former U.S. representative; and Nche Zama, a cardiothoracic surgeon. The presumptive Democratic nominee will be Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has no primary challengers.

For a policy overview of the candidates, The Center Square took a look at the candidates’ websites. The candidates are generally aligned ideologically, though emphases differ.

Lou Barletta

Barletta wants to rebuild the economy by keeping taxes low and reducing regulations. He claims to be “a champion of the production of coal, oil, and natural gas” to boost the economy and protect well-paying union jobs. He pledges to combat illegal immigration, fully fund law enforcement’s needs, strengthen election security, and rebuild the state’s infrastructure. He is also pro-school choice, pro-life, and pro-2nd Amendment, and wants to eliminate waste in state government.

Jake Corman

Corman announced five priority areas for his campaign. He’s running to defend freedom and reform emergency laws to prevent their abuse, securing elections by reviewing the 2020 election through an audit and pass electoral reforms, create new job opportunities across the state, improve education by supporting public supports and offer parents school choice, and protect communities by putting more cops on the street and defend the 1st Amendment.

Doug Mastriano

Mastriano announced four priorities for his campaign: protecting life, protecting the 2nd Amendment, protecting families, and protecting taxpayers. On protecting families, he emphasized religious liberties, parental rights, and educational choice. For protecting taxpayers, Mastriano said he “will be a constant reminder that Harrisburg has a duty to be fiscally responsible with other peoples’ hard earned money.”

Mastriano also released his goals for his first 100 days that includes leaving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, protecting freedoms by ending mandates related to COVID-19, and stimulating the state’s economy. 

Bill McSwain

McSwain focuses on criminal justice and economics. He wants to “bring back law and order” and put criminals in jail and combat the opioid crisis. He also wants to create jobs, lower taxes, improve the state’s business climate and unleash Pennsylvania’s energy, and lower gas prices. McSwain also talked about “putting a stop to out-of-control spending in Harrisburg.” He is also pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment. 

Dave White

White’s campaign platform centers on being pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment. He wants to keep school athletics programs divided by sex, not gender identity. White is a strong promoter of vocational training and wants to increase the percentage of high school students from 3% to 30% over the next decade. He’d like to expand school choice and ban Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools.

White also wants to prioritize speeding up approval times for permits and reduce regulations, leave the RGGI and fund energy infrastructure projects like natural gas pipelines, fix road infrastructure, and reduce the gas tax.

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The Center Square was launched in May 2019 to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and statewide news across the United States.

The focus of our work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting. A taxpayer sensibility distinguishes our work from other coverage of state and local issues. As a result of this approach, our readers are better informed about the focus of state and local government and its cost to the citizens whose tax dollars fund governmental decisions.

The Center Square is staffed by editors and reporters with extensive professional journalism experience. We engage readers with essential news, data and analysis – delivered with velocity, frequency and consistency.

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