Below, we compile quotes from campaigns’ ads, websites, social media posts, and statements reported in the media that illustrate endorsement or opposition to election denial — claims that the process or result of the last presidential election was illegitimate. Each of the candidates is running for an office that will play a role in administering future elections in Pennsylvania. Information about the financing of these campaigns and those in other battleground states can be found here.
Lou Barletta (lost primary)
Lou Barletta (R), a four-term member of Congress, has said that mail ballots allowed fraud in the 2020 election. He has called for a “full forensic audit,” implying that the state’s administration of election has something to hide. He signed the false Electoral College certificate that attempted to assign Pennsylvania’s electors to Trump.
Joe Gale (lost primary)
As a Montgomery County commissioner, Joe Gale (R) voted not to certify Biden’s win in the county, alleging “irregularities” and “unverified mail-in ballots.” In a January 2022 debate, he said there is “no way” Biden received the most votes of any presidential candidate.
Charlie Gerow (lost primary)
Charlie Gerow (R), a public relations executive and political commentator, signed the false Electoral College certificate that attempted to assign Pennsylvania’s electors to Trump. January posts from the “Charlie for Governor” Facebook page say “Mail-ins are RIPE for fraud, ” and that Gerow’s priorities include “Election Integrity because if we can’t get people to trust the vote we have no democracy.”
Doug Mastriano (won primary)
State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) convened public hearings about claims of widespread election fraud, talks about the power to “decertify” voting machines, and held an event with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — an active spreader of false conspiracy theories — where attendees were asked to sign a petition to decertify the result of the 2020 election. Mastriano has said that, as governor, he “can decertify every single [voting] machine in the state,” claiming that machines from certain companies are “compromised.” Mastriano has claimed that there were more votes counted in the election than there are registered voters in the state and called for an audit. His campaign launch event featured Trump Administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Jenna Ellis, who worked on lawsuits to overturn the 2020 election.
Josh Shapiro (won primary)
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) has framed his campaign as opposing “people who tried to overturn the last election.” Shapiro put out a Facebook ad about attempts to challenge the 2020 vote, saying, “Democracy is on the ballot.” He posted on Facebook in January that Trump attempted to “overturn the 2020 election and undermine our democracy.” He also posted: “Lying about the outcome of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election . . . is actively damaging our democracy.” In an interview published in February, Shapiro said, “state actors, like a governor, are going to be critical to defending our democracy. . . . And Pennsylvania, I believe, will be at the epicenter of that fight.” He vowed to appoint a secretary of state “who will respect the rule of law.”
John Ventre (withdrew)
Former UPS executive John Ventre (R) claimed in a Facebook post from January that “Biden stole the 2020 election.” His campaign website features the claim that Pennsylvania’s Act 77 — which made voting easier by allowing no-excuse mail voting and other changes — cost Trump the election in the state.
Dave White (lost primary)
In a campaign ad from former Delaware County Council Member Dave White (R), the candidate says, “If there wasn’t any fraud in the Pennsylvania election, why every time we call for an audit do the Democrats cry like a little baby?” He claims Gov. Tom Wolf was “caught cheating” in the election, referring to the governor having his wife drop off his marked ballot in violation of state law. Another ad ends with White saying: “Every fraudulent vote steals a vote from someone like you.”