The race for Pennsylvania's governor is neck and neck, and GOP candidate Doug Mastriano said Saturday on Newsmax that's because his campaign's message of restoring freedom and reopening the state by protecting its residents is resonating with voters.
"Democrats have a penchant for calling all their opponents wherever they live in America radical extremists," Mastriano, a state senator campaigning against Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro, said on Newsmax's "America Right Now."
"They're the extremists."
Shapiro has been the state's attorney general for six years, Mastriano continued, but "crime has gone up by 37%, including record numbers of homicides in Philadelphia."
"We have the fourth highest fentanyl death rate," he said. "We have sex trafficking, and he's done nothing. On top of all this, instead of doing his job, he sued to keep parents' businesses shut down.
"He stoops to keep the kids masked up … people just see a stark contrast here between tyranny and freedom, so I think that's the key reason why we're seeing record crowds now."
Mastriano said he's fighting to make sure Pennsylvanians' votes count.
"We need to have elections in Pennsylvania that are better than what I saw in Afghanistan when I was there as a soldier," he said.
Mastriano also said he'll fight to make sure Pennsylvania is a "law and order state on day one" and no longer a sanctuary state.
"We're going to make sure we do fund the police," he said. "Unlike my opponent who stands with the BLM [Black Lives Matter] and the defund the police crowd, my law enforcement will know that I have their backs so they won't be looking over their shoulders constantly wondering if this decision here is going to get them kicked out of the force."
Mastriano also said that he wants to reform education in Pennsylvania.
The school union despises me for this," he said. "We want the parent to decide where they send the kids, and the money goes to the kids, not the failing institutions. Eighty-eight percent of Philadelphians want school choice. I stand with the parents."
Meanwhile, Mastriano said he's offered Shapiro several formats for debates, but the attorney general has refused.
"He's not used to being held accountable," said Mastriano. "He's never had a serious race before until now. He's been kind of, you know, mentored for this position, and he's ducking and hiding. You're talking about, you know, retired army colonel top secret access for 30 years standing before presidents and prime ministers and generals on critical issues. You got to be quick on your feet here."
Mastriano added that he's even willing to have a "Stephen Douglas-style debate, like, you know, from Abraham Lincoln's day where we go back and forth, but he refuses to do that."
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