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Trump-backed Doug Mastriano concedes in Pennsylvania governor's race

The far-right Republican acknowledges Democrat Josh Shapiro's victory and asks people "to give him the opportunity to lead and pray that he leads well."
Image: Doug Mastriano
Doug Mastriano, shown during a September campaign stop, on Sunday conceded his loss in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race to his opponent, Democrat Joshua Shapiro.David Dermer / AP

Doug Mastriano, the far-right Republican backed by Donald Trump, doesn't believe the former president lost in 2020. But on Sunday, he conceded his own defeat for governor of Pennsylvania with humility.

"Difficult to accept as the results are, there is no right course but to concede," Mastriano said in one-page statement Sunday. "Josh Shapiro will be our next Governor, and I ask everyone to give him the opportunity to lead and pray that he leads well."

Mastriano conceded nearly five days after Election Day, a delay his opponent saw as insignificant. The race was one of two major contests in the state that tested the temperature of the nation amid speculation that Trump will run again in 2024.

Democrats won in both races in a state that has sizable populations of Black and Latino Democrats, as well as an aging white working class that the GOP has targeted for support.

In the other contest, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, bested Trump-supported celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz for a Senate seat.

The win flipped the seat from red to blue and contributed to the Democrats' continued control of the Senate after midterm elections that had been widely expected to reverse Democrats' tenuous hold on Congress.

In his statement, Mastriano didn't doubt the veracity of the results in his own loss, saying, "In all, we received votes from almost 2.2 million Pennsylvanians, and I thank every one of you, from the bottom of my heart."

Mastriano, a former Army colonel known for extreme stances — he says violators of a proposed ban on abortion for women who are six weeks pregnant should face murder charges — sounded relatively moderate on paper Sunday.

But he continued to doubt the American election system.

"Pennsylvania is in great need of election reform," he wrote. "We can and must do better to make our elections more transparent, secure, and more quickly decided."

NBC News called Mastriano's race Tuesday night.