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Doug Mastriano Weighs Senate Run

State of the Union: The Pennsylvania Republican will have to change his approach if he wants a shot at the 119th Congress.

GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Mastriano Campaigns In Pennsylvania
(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

It’s all but confirmed: Doug Mastriano is a Mennonite. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It'd hardly be worth mentioning if he hadn't been so cagey on the question of his religious affiliation. In any case, the presumed Italian-Anabaptist uncharacteristically granted a sit-down interview with Politico, which reports that Mastriano hired the gubernatorial candidate from Maryland Dan Cox to be his chief of staff. The profile concludes:

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Toward the end of the interview, Mastriano said Cox was part of his “A team.” As it happens, Cox’s hiring is also a reason political insiders think he might want to run for higher office again.

“Hmm,” he said, laughing. “Gute erkennung. As the Germans say, ‘Good deduction.’”

Mastriano’s comments in the profile and other data suggest that he’s a gentleman, a man primarily focused on remaining faithful to his understanding of Christianity: Voters in his part of the country don’t make a habit of electing jerks. But if he beats Bob Casey next November, it won’t be because of his knowledge of Pennsylvania Dutch.

And he’ll also have to get smarter about his tactics. As these pages have documented again and again, Mastriano lost his gubernatorial race last fall in large part because he stopped campaigning after he won his primary. Shapiro beat him by 15 points in a race that could have been competitive but wasn’t because Mastriano decided it didn’t have to be.

When given the opportunity to be reflective in his Politico interview, he blamed his party’s reluctance to get on board with mail-in voting as an explanation for his loss: not meager advertising, inside baseball Facebook memes, or his refusal to engage with the media.

One thing is for sure: The current competition will go full steam ahead with old guard talking points. Bridgewater alum and former candidate Dave McCormick, for example, is coming out with a new book next week titled Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America. Do with that what you will.

If Mastriano's campaign-that-wasn't had not taken on the defensive attitude of battling from the fringe, he could have been a mainstream candidate: that is, a successful candidate.