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First on CNN: Pennsylvania Democrat raises $25M this summer ahead of crucial governor’s race

<i>Mark Makela/Getty Images</i><br/>Josh Shapiro
Getty Images
Mark Makela/Getty Images
Josh Shapiro

By Dan Merica, CNN

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, will report on Tuesday that his campaign raised over $25 million from June to September, according to a campaign finance report provided to CNN, a sizable haul that dwarfs what Republican candidate Doug Mastriano raised over the same time.

The race between Shapiro and Mastriano is one of the most closely watched gubernatorial contests of November’s midterms, given Pennsylvania’s reputation as a presidential battleground and the impact that the governor of the state could have on a range of issues, including future election administration and access to abortion. Pennsylvania is also home to one of the most high-profile Senate contests of the cycle between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz.

Shapiro will report his campaign raised $25.4 million from June 7 to September 19, ending the three-month period with over $10.9 million in the bank. It’s an impressive sum for a gubernatorial candidate, though not a national record.

Shapiro’s haul is significant for gubernatorial campaigns in Pennsylvania, overshadowing the $7.2 million that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf raised for his reelection bid from June to September in 2018 or the $9.6 million he raised over the same time in 2014.

Much of what Shapiro has raised has gone toward blanketing televisions and computers across the commonwealth in the high-stakes race as Democrats look to prevent the GOP from flipping the governor’s mansion. According to ad tracking firm AdImpact, Shapiro’s campaign has spent $18 million in television and digital advertising in that time. He is leaning into the contrast with Mastriano on abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in late June — a decision that has generated Democratic and small-dollar enthusiasm across the country.

Shapiro, the commonwealth’s attorney general, ran uncontested for the nomination to replace Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who is term limited. Mastriano, a state representative and one of the commonwealth’s most fervent purveyors of the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, emerged from a contentious primary with former President Donald Trump’s backing and some help from Democrats who viewed him as the easiest candidate to defeat in November. His primary victory worried some Republicans who feared his views on a litany of issues were too far right for much of the commonwealth.

A CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker poll released earlier this month found Shapiro holding a double digit lead — with 55% of likely voters backing the Democrat, compared to 44% for Mastriano.

Where Shapiro has surged in fundraising, Mastriano has struggled.

On Tuesday, Mastriano reported raising $3.16 million during the same three-month period and enters the final months of the campaign with $2.56 million in the bank. The three-month haul brings his total raised for the cycle to just under $5 million, significantly less than the more than $50 million Shapiro has raised in the cycle.

A Mastriano spokesperson did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on their fundraising report.

Possibly the most striking divide between Shapiro and Mastriano is the gulf in what the two campaigns spent between June and September: Mastriano reports only spending $997,615 in the three-month period, compared to $27.9 million by Shapiro.

That is because Mastriano has largely waged his campaign on social media and in Facebook videos. The Republican candidate has so far spent next to nothing on television ads since winning the primary in May.

And there are few signs that help is headed Mastriano’s direction. Few, if any, top Republican groups have signaled a willingness to run ads on Mastriano’s behalf and Trump, who is holding a tele-rally with the gubernatorial nominee on Tuesday, has so far declined to substantially tap into his tens of millions to aid his candidate.

The Republican Governors Association has also shown little interest in the race — angering the Mastriano campaign.

“The Republican Governors Association would rather see an insane extremist Democrat win in Pennsylvania than have a Republican they can’t control,” Jenna Ellis, a top Mastriano adviser and an attorney who represented Trump during and after the 2020 election, wrote on Twitter this month. “Doug Mastriano’s race is MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER for freedom from BOTH SIDES!!” The tweet was deleted shortly after it was posted.

A spokesman for the Republican Governors Association did not respond to a request for comment.

Dana Fritz, Shapiro’s campaign manager, said in a statement to CNN that “the stakes of this race could not be higher, and this incredible and humbling support proves Pennsylvanians are ready to come together and defeat our extremist opponent.”

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