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Democrat Josh Shapiro boasts Republican Jewish support in close race for Pennsylvania governor

10 former and current Republican state officials called Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor, ‘extreme’ and ‘dangerous’

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Jewish attorney general and a Democrat, announced Wednesday that he had been endorsed by 10 prominent Republicans, demonstrating crossover appeal to his bid to become the state’s governor in the fall. 

The former and current Republican state officials called Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for governor, “extreme” and “dangerous.” Mastriano, a far-right state representative, has compared the Jan. 6 riot to the 1933 Reichstag fire and gun control to Nazi policies, and hired as a campaign aide Jenna Ellis, a Trump attorney who has compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. 

The group that broke away to endorse Shapiro in the competitive race includes Sandra Schultz Newman, a former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice who came under fire in the 2008 presidential election for signing an email to Jewish voters that likened a vote for Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, to ignoring warning signals that led up to the Holocaust. Newman, who is Jewish, apologized and blamed the language on a Republican consultant. 

Also on the list of endorsers is Lita Indzel Cohen, a former member of Pennsylvania’s state house, who claimed in 1998 to be the only Jewish Republican official in the legislature. 

“I think it’s important to note that these prominent officials represent all corners of our Commonwealth,” Shapiro said in an interview on MSNBC. “They’ve all come together largely for two reasons. Number one, they fear the dangerous extremism of my opponent. And number two, they know I’m a guy with a long track record of bringing people together to actually get things done, which is what people want now more than ever.” 

The FiveThirtyEight forecast model ranked the race as “leaning Democrat.” A recent poll showed Shapiro leading by Mastriano by 4 points, with 13% undecided. 

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