HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - Nine former and current Republican officials endorsed Democrat Josh Shapiro for governor on Wednesday.
As political editor Jon Delano reports, that includes two from western Pennsylvania.
At age 85, former state Sen. Bob Jubelirer of Altoona was a leader in the Republican party for decades, serving as Republican Senate leader, Senate president and lieutenant governor.
On Wednesday, he endorsed Democrat Josh Shapiro for governor, saying the alternative Doug Mastriano was "dangerous."
"I think he is very dangerous, in my opinion, and I hope he loses," says Jubelirer.
Jubelirer joined eight other Republicans in endorsing Shapiro, praising him for getting things done rather than being an ideological extremist.
"He's a very bright guy. He's a moderate Democrat. Like I did, he works across the aisle with Republicans, and he will do not what is best for the political world, he'll do what is best for Pennsylvania," says Jubelirer.
Joining Jubelirer with endorsing Shapiro are former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, former U.S. Rep. Jim Greenwood, former state Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman (the first woman on the Court), former state House Speaker Denny O'Brien, former state Rep. Dave Steil, former state Rep. Lisa Cohen and former Montgomery County GOP chair Ken Davis.
While Jubelirer has had a long career in the Republican party, at age 24, Lawrence County Commissioner Morgan Boyd, a Republican, is just starting his career. But he, too, endorsed Shapiro.
Boyd says he likes Shapiro's policies for rural counties.
"They're really targeted, in my mind, in bringing back rural communities like New Castle, like Lawrence County. I find his experience, his vision, the plan that he's laid out, is the best path forward for Pennsylvania," says Boyd.
As for Mastriano, the Republican nominee, Boyd says he is just not qualified to be governor and far too extreme.
"I think that the positions put forth by Doug Mastriano are too extreme for Pennsylvania. I think he is a divisive figure, which is the last thing that we need right now in office, " says Boyd.
Both say plenty of Republicans will vote for Shapiro over Mastriano this November.
"I also think you're going to have a large number of Republicans - I talked to a few today - who, while they won't come out openly in supporting Josh Shapiro, they will go into the ballot box, and they will check the box for Josh Shapiro," says Boyd.
And watch for more endorsements, predicts Jubelirer.
"There's a lot of people, a lot of Republicans. Many Republicans are going to do just what I did, some of my former colleagues from the Senate," says Jubelirer.
Jubelirer says Mastriano is too extreme to be a Republican governor in the image of Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge.
"A Governor Mastriano, and I hope I never have to say that, is extremely, extremely right-wing. I can't call him a Republican because I don't believe a Republican, at least that I knew, would fit him," says Jubelirer.
"At the end of the day, this is the right choice," says Boyd. "This is the only choice, and it's a choice that I'll stand by."
Republican Boyd says Shapiro is not an extremist and has sound policies to help rural counties like his.
Both Republicans dismiss claims they are RINOS, a Republican in name only.
Delano: "Are you a RINO?"
Boyd: "No. I still hold the same values as a conservative as I did yesterday before the announcement was made, that I did a year ago, that I did when I was elected commissioner."
Jubelirer: "I am a Republican as far as I know in the finest sense of the Republican party, and the history of the Republican party. I don't know who this guy is."
KDKA has reached out to both the Mastriano campaign and the Republican party for reaction to these endorsements, but received none so far. The election is in 18 weeks.
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