Pa. Rep. Russ Diamond draws primary challenger

Rachel Moyer, who has support from state Sen. Doug Mastriano, is slated to make her formal announcement on Thursday evening.

By: - November 9, 2023 3:29 pm

State Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, speaks at a Capitol rally of anti-lockdown activists on June 5, 2021. (Capital-Star photo)

A school board director in eastern Lebanon County is joining the race for the 102nd state House District, setting up a primary challenge for the seat held by state Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon).

Rachel Moyer, a school board director and grassroots organizer, announced her campaign launch Wednesday on social media.

“I am running for State Representative because the people of the 102nd District deserve a voice in Harrisburg who shares their values and concerns,” Moyer said. “As a state representative, I will advocate for the right to life, parental rights in education, school choice, and pursuing election integrity throughout the state. Lebanon County deserves a representative who will never waiver [sic] in putting the conservative values of the people at the forefront of every legislative vote.”

Rachel Moyer is challenging Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) in the primary election.

Moyer added in her Facebook announcement that she is “fully supported” by state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) and his wife, Rebbie. 

Mastriano shared Moyer’s announcement Wednesday on social media, and touted a scheduled launch event for Moyer on Thursday in Schaefferstown, where he is a scheduled speaker. 

Diamond has a history of criticizing Mastriano in public forums. He wrote an open letter ten days before the 2022 primary election urging Republicans to not support Mastriano’s bid for governor, calling him Democrat Josh Shapiro’s “dream opponent.” Diamond was running for lieutenant governor. 

Mastriano won the Republican Party primary in 2022 by more than 20 points but lost to Shapiro in the general election by double digits. Diamond finished in seventh place in the crowded 2022 GOP primary for lieutenant governor that year.

In May, Diamond wrote another op-ed calling on “all level-headed Pennsylvania Republicans to join” him in “requesting that Doug Mastriano abandon any plans he may have to run for U.S. Senate in 2024.” 

Mastriano brushed off concerns by fellow Republicans calling on him not to join the race, but he ultimately announced in late May that he wouldn’t seek the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa). 

In an email to the Capital-Star on Thursday, Diamond accused Moyer of “mischaracterizing” their conversations, and questioning his work ethic. His campaign clarified that he referred to social media posts from Moyer, including one where she “photographed his Capitol office on a non-session day in an attempt to infer something is wrong with his work ethic.”

Diamond also noted that Moyer had chosen Thomas Houtz as her campaign committee chair. Diamond beat Houtz in the 2016 GOP primary. And he questioned why Moyer was touting Mastriano’s support.

“After getting utterly shellacked in the governor’s race and playing an instrumental role in Republicans losing the US Senate race and the PA House majority in 2022, Doug Mastriano is not someone I’d pick to be the poster boy for any campaign,” Diamond said in the email. “Sour grapes, spite, and deceptive public pronouncements do not constitute a recipe for success.”

Mastriano did not immediately reply to a request for comment from the Capital-Star on Thursday.

Diamond is currently in his fifth term in the state House, representing the district that includes parts of Lebanon County. Diamond has cruised to reelection for the 102nd House District in recent years, without GOP opposition in the primary.

He currently serves as the Republican Chair of the House Gaming Oversight Committee.


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John Cole
John Cole

John Cole is a journalist based in Philadelphia. He's worked for various outlets such as The Northeast Times, PoliticsPA, and PCN. In these previous roles, he covered a wide range of topics from local civic association meetings to races across the commonwealth. He earned a degree in journalism from Temple University.