Jul 5, 2022 - Politics

Pennsylvania GOP's culture war agenda hinges on 2022 governor's race

Illustration of a small blue donkey hiding behind a large red elephant foot.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Pennsylvania is a purple state, but Republicans in Harrisburg are trying to push an agenda through the General Assembly that's straight out of the MAGA playbook.

Why it matters: Term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is his party's only bulwark against the GOP, so the race to name his successor has become one of 2022's most-watched contests nationwide.

State of play: Pennsylvania Republicans, who control both houses of the General Assembly, took action last week on a full slate of issues at the center of America's ongoing culture wars.

The big picture: Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano will face off in November to occupy the governor's mansion. Whoever wins will have the final say on all of the issues above in 2023 — and, likely, the right to abortion access in the state.

  • Shapiro is a full-throated supporter of abortion rights and has vowed to protect them if elected.
  • Mastriano has proposed legislation that would ban abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy, but has also said he believes life begins at conception, which could signal his eventual support for a total ban on abortion.

The bottom line: For millions of Pennsylvanians on both sides of the aisle, November's gubernatorial face-off is about as consequential as it gets.

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