Two GOP hopefuls ask for Mastriano; running mate Daniels to be civil in 2022 primary

Daniels responded that he ‘never even once uttered their names’ and that they are ‘desperate to get attention in this race’

By: - March 24, 2022 4:49 pm

Lieutenant Governor candidates Chris Frye, left, and Jeff Coleman, right, speak in a video asking for civility in the 2022 GOP primary. (Screenshot)

Two Republican statewide hopefuls have asked for a controversial GOP gubernatorial candidate and, in particular, his brash running mate, to cut-out the name calling, and be civil in the ongoing GOP primary.

In a Thursday video, lieutenant governor contenders Jeff Coleman and Chris Frye called on fellow aspirant Teddy Daniels to stop making personal attacks against his opponents in online videos.

Although Pennsylvania’s governor and lieutenant governor are elected in separate primaries, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, vying to be the commonwealth’s chief executive, has named Daniels his running mate.

In the video, which runs a little under two minutes, Coleman, a former state House member turned political consultant, and Frye, the first Black mayor of New Castle, Lawrence County, called out Daniels and Mastriano by name, a likely first among Mastriano’s political opponents.

Taking turns speaking, they argued that the Mastriano-Daniels ticket was “using slogans and borderline slander to pit one group of conservative Republicans against another saying one side is right, but implying the rest are somehow enemies of the people.”

“This has to stop. We’re never going to win an election against the Democrats this fall if we keep acting and talking like this,” Coleman added.

The rebuttal, delivered by two candidates competing for the same office, comes after Daniels attacked his opponents in a string of brash Facebook videos, often referring to his opponents with nicknames.

For instance, in a 30-minute Facebook video posted last week, Daniels, before and after showing off a “Teddy 15” custom made semi-automatic rifle for raffle, referred to another candidate as a “swamp creature,” “Paddy Cake Man” and “Mr. Rogers.” 

The candidate was not named, but Coleman’s campaign claims it is a reference to him, citing Coleman’s penchant for referencing the Pittsburgh children’s show host in stump speeches and campaign literature.

“Never before in Republican politics have I heard somebody quote Mr. Rogers,” Daniels said in the video posted to his Facebook page. 

Daniels then compared himself to World War II Gen. George Patton, who was also known for his aggressive actions and profane speech, and argued that his campaign was “plowing ahead and steam rolling. We are taking names and kicking a**.”

Turning to candidates who cited their ability to win over Democrats, Daniels said that Democrats “are coming at us with brass knuckles and baseball bats,” and that he was “not going to sell out my values to kiss the a**es of the Democrat Communist party.”

“So when you hear ‘I won my seat in a Democratic district,’ — maybe you lean that way politically,” he concluded.

The latter attack, Coleman and Frye argued, was directed partially at Frye, as mayor of a historically Democratic city in western Pennsylvania.

Frye and Coleman asked Mastriano, who often references his Christian faith and frequently quotes the Bible during speeches, and his running mate Daniels to not make personal attacks aimed at “destroying reputations of fellow Republicans, people made in God’s image.”

“Let’s give voters something better than cursing, sarcasm, name calling that have come to define modern campaigns,” Frye concluded. “You’re both good men with good families and good reputations. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

In an email, Daniels once again did not reference Coleman or Frye by name. But using nicknames, he said that the two “are so desperate to get attention in this race they’ll stoop to throwing baseless accusations of ‘borderline’ slander against the guy they admit is the leading candidate, when I’ve never even once uttered their names, and that’s all you need to know.”

The Mastriano campaign did not reply to a request for comment, but the two campaigns appear close.

“It’s fairly rare that someone teams up so early on. It’s considered risky, there’s so many candidates out there,” Mastriano said at a Wednesday event. “We all have baggage. I have baggage. Something will come up here and drag you down here. But there’s no wavering by Doug Mastriano and Teddy Daniels.”

Coleman told the Capital-Star that he repeatedly attempted to contact Mastriano privately before he and Frye made the video.

Daniel’s most recent video, Coleman said, was “probably the fifth night he has included me in one of the screeds, and I thought ‘this was silly.’”

The GOP statewide races are wide-open affairs. The state party has not endorsed for governor, lieutenant governor, or Senate, and 25 candidates in total are running for the three open seats.

Republicans have privately expressed concerns about Mastriano, who has finished near the top in most polls of the race., But the video Thursday is one of the first public criticisms from another Republican of the state senator.

First elected in a 2019 special election, Mastriano rose to prominence in 2020, first as a vocal opponent of Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic policies.

After former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, Mastriano also began to share false or misleading info about the election, including confusing the number of mail-in ballots requested in the primary and the general elections, and spoke at rallies of Trump supporters who doubted the results.

When Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to stop the certification of the 2020 election results, Mastriano was outside the building, though he claims he did not go inside.

Since, he has championed vaccine hesitancy in the General Assembly and also was set to run a legislative review of the 2020 election. However, Mastriano feuded with rival gubernatorial candidate, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, over the scope and direction of the review, and was relieved of his committee chair.

The primary is May 17.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.