Last Updated on October 3, 2022
GOP megadonor Jeffrey Yass has refused to support Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. Yass, the richest man in Pennsylvania, has contributed over $35 million to PACs in support of state Republicans since 2017. He has opted not to support Doug Mastriano’s campaign, however, after vehemently opposing his candidacy this past spring. Yass allies have claimed that Mastriano is unelectable and that he “wouldn’t be able to govern” if he defeats Shapiro this November. A number of GOP establishment entities have refused to get behind Mastriano, leaving a far-left candidate in Josh Shapiro with a sizable fundraising edge.
Yass built substantial wealth as an options trader and has given millions to GOP candidates and groups since 2015. In 2002, became a member of the board of directors of the Cato Institute, where he now serves as a member of the executive advisory council.
Over the last half decade, Yass has become one of the biggest political donors in the county. He donated $3.8 million to Club for Growth in 2018, followed by another $27 million to Republican candidates in 2020, placing him within the ten largest donors in the nation.
Now a Haverford, Pennsylvania resident, Yass has been quite active in state politics in recent cycles. Between January 2021 and September of this year, Yass has donated $22 million to the Students First PAC. While the Students First PAC does fund a handful of candidates and GOP organizations — including a $300,000 donation to the House Republican Campaign Committee — $16 million was transferred to the Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund.
The Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund supported former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain for governor with a donation of $4.5 million. The PAC also gave $1.5 million to State Rep. Carrie DelRosso’s successful campaign for lieutenant governor.
Despite the fact that DelRosso is now Mastriano’s running mate, Commonwealth Children’s Choice has not made a donation to Doug Mastriano’s gubernatorial campaign, not has the Students First PAC. The lack of support in the gubernatorial race stands out, as Commonwealth Children’s Choice has donated $165,000 to the Senate Republican Committee, as well as an additional $200,000 to the House Republican campaign committee.
Yass was very much opposed to Mastriano’s candidacy in the primary cycle this past spring. Just days before former President Trump endorsed Mastriano, Yass told the New York Times that he urged McSwain to drop out and endorse former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, as polling indicated a two-man race between Mastriano and Barletta.
“This is about the cause, not about you,” said he told McSwain over the phone. “If you drop out, we have a better chance of beating wealthy Democrats like Josh Shapiro.
A day after Trump endorsed Mastriano for governor, the Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a Pennsylvania organization that manages both the Yass-affiliated Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund and the Commonwealth Leaders Fund.
“It’s become abundantly clear in recent days that nominating Lou Barletta for governor is Republicans’ best chance to defeat Josh Shapiro in November,” Matt Brouillette, the CEO of Commonwealth Partners and manager of the PACs, told the New York Times.
Brouillette urged McSwain and another candidate, former Delaware County Commissioner Dave White, to drop out of the race and rally behind Barletta. “We’ve determined mathematically he can’t win because he won’t appeal to key swing voters, given some of his extreme behavior,” Brouillette said of Mastriano.
Brouillette went on to claim that Mastriano “wouldn’t be able to govern” even if he won, pointing to his presence at the January 6 Capitol protests. “He wouldn’t get anything done.”
Yass-affiliated PACs have opted to stick with Brouillette’s April analysis, as the Mastriano campaign has yet to receive their support. Lack of support from establishment Republicans has been a common theme for Mastriano’s campaign in the current cycle, which has left Josh Shapiro with a sizable funding edge down the stretch.
Shapiro raked in more than $25 million from June 7 through September 19, while Mastriano raised just $3.2 million over the same three-month period.