DREXEL HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- With just 54 days to go until November 8, Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano stopped in Drexel Hill, Delaware County Thursday, campaigning with former US Senator Rick Santorum.
"As your governor, my focus will be to restore freedom, to rebuild our state, and put the power back in the people and the parents," said Mastriano.
His speech made the 2020 lockdowns a sticking point, calling the restrictions economically devastating, tyrannical and unacceptable.
"Have you been to the supermarket? Have you put gas in your car?" asked Carol Impriano of Ridley Park. "What I care about is the economy. I care about personal freedom. I care about all the mandates that were implemented, the businesses that were shut down."
State Senator Mastriano of Franklin County is known as a firebrand candidate, taking a hard stance on ending mask and vaccine mandates, outlawing abortion, and prosecuting crime.
"What's going on in Pennsylvania generally and also Philadelphia is very difficult right now," said Joe Finio of Broomall. "Look what's happening with the DA in Philadelphia."
Mastriano received national attention for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and attendance at the Jan 6 rally. He's running against Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is making abortion rights the bedrock of his campaign.
"The suburbs are full of people that don't have extreme views, that understand the struggles that families are facing and don't like the direction the Republican Party has gone," said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D).
If Mastriano wins the governor's race and Republicans retain control of the state legislature come November, the GOP will have full control of a critical swing state.
"Governor Mastriano would be able to really achieve what the Republicans from the legislature have been thwarted at for a number of years," said Dr. John Kennedy of West Chester University. "So you would see a real move on issues such as, most notably, of course, abortion policy."
Mastriano emphasized the importance of this election as we look ahead to the 2024 presidential race.