LEHIGHTON, Pa. — He's leading in the polls and rallying his base just four days ahead of the election. Self-proclaimed anti-establishment candidate Senator Doug Mastriano made two stops in northeast Pennsylvania.
Mastriano stopped for a public appearance in Wilkes-Barre before a meet and greet and rally in Franklin Township near Lehighton. Hundreds waited to hear their candidate on one of his last stops before polls opened.
"The man is strong. He's got broad shoulders," said Glenn Rubendall of Tower City. "He can take the weight. He's taking a lot of flack right now, and I don't think they're going to sway him, I think Doug's going to do alright."
Christine Moser Higgins, from Bethlehem, has been following Mastriano since the early days of the pandemic.
"He was very relaxed, told us what to do, what to look forward to, what to look for through the Covid pandemic," she said. "When he stood up for the election audit and really pushed for that, is really what hooked me."
"I've been a voter for over 30 years, and I've never seen a movement like what we have," said Arthur Gillespie, owner of Archery Addiction, the business that played host to the Mastriano event.
Several republican gubernatorial candidates dropped out of the race in recent days and endorsed Mastriano's opponent Lou Barletta.
"They can drop out. They can get behind Lou, because everyone that they get, we're going to get two more because people see it, people know," Gillespie said.
It's a topic Mastriano addressed as he worked the crowd during a 30-plus-minute speech.
"Now suddenly you see candidates dropping out," Mastriano said. "I wonder if it's like, 'okay, I'll make you secretary of education, I'll make you secretary of labor.' That's going to be like having Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation."
Mastriano railed against Governor Wolf and former secretary of health Dr. Rachel Levine's handling of the pandemic. The Republican frontrunner promised to cut property taxes and address education if elected, saying as governor he would "get the government off your back and out of your wallet."
Despite Newswatch 16's request for an interview, Mastriano swiftly exited the event.
Mastriano said his Republican opponents can conspire to take him down, but he believes they can't win the primary. Some polls have Mastriano leading Lou Barletta by more than ten points, with days to go.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube page.