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Photo: Josh Shapiro Twitter
Photo: Josh Shapiro Twitter

AG to Governor? Josh Shapiro launches bid to lead Pennsylvania

The Attorney General is viewed as a shoe-in on the Democratic side of the state gubernatorial race.

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May 27th, 2022

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On Wednesday, Oct. 13, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro officially launched his long-awaited campaign for governor.

In a two-minute video announcing his bid, Shapiro labeled himself as a contender running against a field of Republicans he believes will worsen the existing divides in the state and nation. 

“Already, there are Republicans running for governor who want to lead us down a dark path, undermine free and fair elections, strip away voting rights and permanently divide us. That’s the kind of divisive politics that gets in the way of solving real problems,” Shapiro said. 

The video also features endorsements from state Rep. Ed Gainey, the Democratic nominee for mayor of Pittsburgh, sexual abuse survivor Mary McHal and former Montgomery County Director of Finance Brian Regli. 

Shapiro’s work as Attorney General produced a monumental grand jury report on child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy members, which he said revealed a “conspiracy and coverup” that went from local dioceses in Pennsylvania all the way to the Vatican. 

The investigation took off shortly after Shapiro was sworn in. The report found that more than 300 priests had been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims in six Pennsylvania dioceses over the past seven decades, 

“Finally, someone who had the guts to take on the Catholic Church,” McHale said in the video, referencing the 2018 report that detailed the decades of abuse. 

In his first time, Shapiro also succeeded in a lawsuit filed to preserve in-network access to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facilities for patients with Highmark insurance, and vice versa. 

It received mixed results in courts, but four months after Shapiro filed the suit, the two health care organizations agreed to a 10-year extension of that agreement in 2019. 

“[UPMC and Highmark] have pledged directly to me and to each other that they will no longer act as adversaries, but instead work as allies and we will all be better off for it,” Shapiro said at the time. 

In his campaign kickoff speech in Pittsburg, Shapiro said that Republican gubernatorial candidates are perpetuating the “Big Lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump and are damaging democracy.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Oct. 12, Shapiro called out Republicans for peddling the lie about voter fraud, saying that he took them to court several times as they “tried to undermine and overturn the 2020 election,” and that he is not afraid to continue. 

Gainey applauded Shapiro for striving to build a more just society and always fighting to protect everyone’s voting rights. 

“From defending democracy to taking on UMPC and protecting patients' access to their doctors, Josh will always fight for Pennsylvania,” Gainey tweeted on Oct. 13. 

In his speech, Shapiro pledged to make the government more structured and productive and called for investments in state healthcare, education and infrastructure. 

"As a Commonwealth, we're facing some serious challenges right now, many of them laid bare by Covid -- from health care to education to the workforce," he said.

As a governor, Shapiro said has no hesitation in using his veto power to protect voting rights, reproductive rights and the right to organize. 

Due to his support for reproductive rights, he earned the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. 

“Josh has stood up for our communities. Whether it was to protect our right to vote from extremist politicians or filing an injunction to protect our care, he has exemplified true leadership. He is the leader we need in the Governor’s mansion,” said Signe Espinoza, the executive director of Planned Parenthood PA PAC. 

“I have never wavered in my defense of a woman’s right to choose and I never will. Abortion rights are on the ballot in 2022,” Shapiro tweeted on Wednesday. 

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