Campaigns & Elections
Millions are pouring into PA’s race for governor – here’s where the money’s coming from
More than $28 million was donated to the Republican and Democratic candidates over the last few months.
Pennsylvania’s latest batch of campaign finance reports surfaced this week, offering a glimpse into the finances of the state’s leading gubernatorial candidates.
The figures brought good news to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro, who currently serves as the state’s attorney general, and raised a whopping $25 million from June through September. The news was a little less positive for Shapiro’s opponent, GOP gubernatorial nominee and conservative state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who was not only outraised, but outspent by large margins.
So much information can be gleaned from campaign finance figures, including who is supporting a particular candidate, the level of grassroots support a politician has and – perhaps most importantly – the financial health of a campaign. City & State combed through the latest round of campaign finance reports to see how each candidate is faring in the battle to bulk up their war chests ahead of the November general election.
Shapiro vastly outraised Mastriano in the months following the primary.
Shapiro has a clear financial advantage heading into November, due in large part to the $25 million his campaign raised from June through September. Shapiro also spent more than $27 million, which covered staff salaries, consulting costs, media services, travel, political contributions and advertising, among other expenses. He finished the reporting period with $10.9 million in the bank, giving him a sizable financial cushion as the November general election nears.
The bulk of Shapiro’s money came from contributions over $250, with the Democrat pulling in $11.5 million in individual contributions over that figure, and $9.7 million from political action committee donations that were over $250. Still, Shapiro raised more money from smaller-sized donations than did Mastriano, with Shapiro raising $2.7 million from donations between $50 and $250.
Mastriano reported raising approximately $3.2 million during the reporting period, the majority of which came from donations over $250. Mastriano raised about $2.4 million from individual donations over $250, and $174,000 from PAC donations over $250.
He also brought in roughly $420,000 from individual donations between $50 and $250, as well as about $500 from PAC donations within that same range. Mastriano spent just under $1 million during the reporting period, reporting expenses worth $997,615.50, much of which went toward consulting, communications services and media. He finished the reporting period with just under $2.6 million in his campaign account.
Notable donors in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race
What do GOP megadonor Richard Uihlein, filmmaker J.J. Abrams, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and conservative radio host Wendy Bell all have in common? They donated to Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial candidates, of course.
Pennsylvania’s race for governor has attracted political donations from across the country, including from actors, public officials, businesses, investors and sports teams owners as donors look to give their preferred candidate a financial leg up heading into Election Day.
Shapiro received $20,000 from Abrams and his wife, Kathleen McGrath, and also brought home some bacon – $1,000 – from actor Kevin Bacon. Owners and executives from several sports teams also donated to Shapiro’s cause, including Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton ($50,000), Pittsburgh Penguins President David Morehouse ($10,926.91), Philadelphia Eagles co-owner Christina Weiss Lurie ($10,000) and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II ($5,000).Shapiro also pulled in donations from business leaders and owners, such as $15,000 from Jeff Shell, CEO of NBC Universal; $2,500 from Nike executive Larry Miller; $500,000 from Mike Bloomberg; and $65,000 from Michael Dubin, founder of Dollar Shave Club.
Shapiro also received hefty donations from the Democratic Governors Association, which contributed a total of $5.1 million to him. He also raised $120,000 from relatives of Democratic megadonor George Soros.
Mastriano didn’t have the same success as Shapiro, but he did still bring in some high-profile donations: Republican donor Richard Uihlein, who gave $900,000 to Mastriano’s campaign and is a prominent contributor to Women Speak Out, an anti-abortion organization tied to Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, as well as former President Donald Trump and other conservative causes. Uihlein’s wife, Elizabeth, also donated $100,000 to Mastriano’s campaign.
Notable donors to Mastriano also include conservative talk show host Wendy Bell ($1,000); Eric E. Kendle, general manager of Keystone RV Center ($50,000); and Andrew Torba, founder and CEO of the far-right social media platform Gab ($500).
PAC man: political action committees enter the fray
Both Mastriano and Shapiro received thousands (and in Shapiro’s case, millions) of dollars from political action committees. Mastriano brought in more than $420,000 from political action committees, while Shapiro raised nearly $10 million from PACs. PACs that donated to Mastriano include the Pennsylvania Opportunity PAC ($35,000), the Range Resources Energy Independence PAC ($10,000) and the Northeast Leadership Fund ($25,000). Some of Mastriano’s colleagues in the Pennsylvania General Assembly also contributed to his campaign. His running mate, state Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso, donated $50,000 from her political committee, while state Sens. Mike Regan ($10,000), Judy Ward ($5,000) and Gene Yaw ($1,000) also gave money to the GOP nominee.
Shapiro received money from PACs belonging to Home Depot ($5,000), Wawa ($10,000), the Pennsylvania Sierra Club ($37,500), Highmark ($25,000) and Comcast ($50,000). He also received two separate $250,000 donations from the Committee for a Better Tomorrow, a PAC tied to the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.
However, Shapiro’s biggest PAC contributions came from labor unions, with millions of dollars flowing in from labor unions and related organizations. He received $500,000 from the Laborers' International Union of North America PAC, another $500,000 from the AFSCME People Public Employees Organized to Promote Legislative Equality and more than $150,000 from the Pennsylvania State Education Association Political Action Committee for Education for State Elections.