Republicans are all of the sudden warming up to Doug Mastriano, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, whose extremist views previously had him a long-shot outsider for election.

Mastriano more or less crushed a nine-person field to win the Republican nomination for  in May while even some from within the party warned that his far-right views on everything from abortion to Donald Trump’s lies about winning the 2020 presidential election could hurt their chances in a critical battleground state battle for the governorship.

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Now that he’s won the primary, however, the GOP seems to be ready to back his campaign and attack his Democratic rival, Josh Shapiro.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin, former Arlen Specter staffer Craig Snyder spoke about why he supports Republicans for Shapiro in opposition to Mastriano’s campaign, which mainly seems to be because they believe Mastriano would give the states electoral votes to Donald Trump in 2024, whether he won them or not.

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Mohyeldin started by asking “What is at stake here with Doug Mastriano on the ballot in Pennsylvania, is his platform so dangerous in your opinion?”

Snyder’s response:

Thanks, Ayman. Lawrence (O’Donnell) on the show has been absolutely right, it’s not hyperbole to say that this is the most important governor’s race in the country this year, and maybe ever,” Snyder said.

“The question on the ballot, as I see, it is whether the American republican form of government, created in Pennsylvania in 1787, is going to be mortally wounded here in Pennsylvania and 2022. Mastriano is not a traditional Pennsylvania Republican, like my old boss, Arlen Specter, and some past governors, Scranton, Thornberg, Ridge — it’s that, right, he’s a radical, as you have described, he is practically Trump’s vice president for the Big Lie.

“And he believes — seems to believe, at, least that he alone will get to decide where Pennsylvania’s crucial 19 electoral votes will go in 2024. He has been cozy with 9/11 deniers, and with neo-nazis on Gab. His views on abortion make him appropriate to be the governor of Oklahoma, but not Pennsylvania. You could go on. The guy is outside the mainstream, in a way that we think significant numbers of Pennsylvania Republicans and Republican-leaning independents will reject.”

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Mohyeldin continued by pointing out the following:

“And yet, despite that, I have to ask you about what the Associated Press is reporting, Craig. Many Republicans are watching Mastriano’s efforts to mend fences with the party, raise money and broaden his appeal to swing voters. Some say they see him focusing more on standard GOP talking points, such as inflation, and trying to move away from the topic of 2020’s election denial and banning abortion. In fact, the Republican Governors Association also hasn’t ruled out supporting Mastriano just yet. Does it concern you that more Republicans, at least for now, seem to be willing to coalesce around a Mastriano candidacy?”

Snyder responded:

“Look, I think it’s just a reality of the hyperpartisan times we live in. And there’s a team loyalty on both sides of the aisle that’s extraordinarily strong. But it’s not universal. There are still ticketsplitters in a place like Pennsylvania.”

And concluded:

“We are chaired by longtime former Republican congressman, Jim Greenwood, so far our membership includes GOP representatives from the Pennsylvania state house, State Senate, a former lieutenant governor, a former Senate pro tem, cabinet members from the last three Republican governors and administrations. So there is significant Republicans who are trusted voices, and we think if we bring those trusted voices to the true swing voters in the state, that we can convince those folks to do what I think they already know.

“Which is, that they can’t vote for Doug Mastriano.”

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Christopher Powell