Republican voters will see nine names on the ballot for governor, even though two — Jake Corman and Melissa Hart — say they have ended their campaigns and endorsed former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta as part of a last-ditch attempt to help defeat Mastriano.

As Pennsylvania Republicans prepare to choose a nominee for governor Tuesday, some party officials are twisted in knots over the possibility of a primary victory by a candidate many see as too far to the right to win statewide this fall.

Doug Mastriano, a retired U.S. Army colonel and state senator since 2019, has led polls while spending a fraction of the money that some of the other eight candidates listed on the Republican primary ballot have spent.

Mastriano recently won the endorsement of Donald Trump after working with the former president to overturn his loss in 2020′s election in the presidential battleground state and helping spread Trump’s lies that widespread voter fraud cost him victory. Many party officials urged Trump not to endorse Mastriano, fearing he cannot win over the moderate voters necessary to prevail in politically divided Pennsylvania.

Democrats, meanwhile, are united behind the state’s two-term elected attorney general, Josh Shapiro. He is uncontested on the primary ballot after wrapping up the endorsement of the state party and its top allies, including the AFL-CIO, and raising more than $20 million since early 2021.

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