Political Expert Dave La Torre on Pennsylvania Midterms
Dave La Torre of La Torre Communications talks about Pennsylvania races & more on the latest episode of First Right.
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[EWALT]: Welcome to the First RIght Podcast, a weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I'm your host Jerry Ewalt, Chief Marketing Officer for Restoration of America, and today we are privileged to be joined once again by one of our favorite guests, Dave LaTorre, a Pennsylvania political expert. Dave is founder of LaTorre Communications and radio host of LaTorre Live. Dave, like all of us, is watching things closely as the 2022 midterm election nears. All right. Well, Dave, welcome back to the show.
[LaTorre]: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
[EWALT]: Yeah, no, we're excited. And so, as usual, we find your state is back in the, the center of the political universe with two near dead heat races going on in both the governor race and the Senate race. Do, do the voters of Pennsylvania really comprehend the magnitude of what they're about to do on November 8th? Because it doesn't have just an impact on, on Pennsylvania, but it's gonna have an impact across the country.
[LaTorre]: I think a large number of the voters do. Pennsylvania, just like you just pointed out from 2020, even 2016 when Trump won Pennsylvania, you pretty much knew he was gonna be the next president. Likewise, when he lost in 2020, you knew that he was probably done. So Pennsylvania is used to being in the political cross hairs or the eye of the storm, however you wanna tag it When it comes to politics, I think you're starting to see, at least from my perspective and experience a lot of interest now. We just had a debate between our US Senate candidates, the Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, and the Democrat, John Fetterman, that clearly generated national and international headlines. And in fact, that debate took place here in Harrisburg at the local ABC affiliate ABC 27. And I will tell you that they had media outlets from not just all over America, but
00:02:19:15 all over the world in their parking lot, trying to cover that debate.
[EWALT]: Well, yeah, and I, I'm, I'm glad you jumped to that right away because that, that, obviously everyone was watching that, or, or at least have seen clips, right, of the video. So it's really fascinating that you have this, Well, he calls himself America's doctor, this nationally recognized, you know, he's a doctor, smart guy, he's a business, he's a successful business person. He's a personality going against, you know, John Fetterman, which everyone wants to talk about. Like, is this guy even fit to serve office? Right? I mean, how, how do you think that went?
[LaTorre]: You know, I've, I've gone through a myriad of emotions related to John Fetterman running for Senate. In May when he had a stroke. I think a lot of people felt bad for him, but pretty quickly a lot of people realized that they severely underplayed the depth of his health problems. And it was evident to everybody who pays attention to politics in Harrisburg. So then you got a little mad. But I tell you, watching him the other night, I, I was just, I was really sad for him. I, I felt bad for him in a lot of ways because somebody should have stepped up and told him a long time ago to get out of this race. People around him should have done the brave thing and said, This isn't the time for you to run. And I think you can't come away with any other conclusion after Tuesday night's debate.
[LaTorre]: I'm not sure I've ever seen a disaster like that. And yeah, and I'll tell you that I've had multiple conversations with democratic insiders all across Pennsylvania, and quite frankly, they're worried about the ticket now. They worry that that could depress turnout for Democrats. It could lead to fewer people showing up because they are downtrodden about, about John Fetterman. If I'm Josh Shapiro who's running for governor on the Democratic ticket, I, I'm pretty upset by the performance in that debate because that could impact me. Every close congressional race in Pennsylvania, if you're a Democrat the next morning, you're nervous. So there's a lot of people here who think the people around John Fetterman should have stepped up and gotten him out of the race, but sometimes it's hard to tell who's calling the shots there, whether it's him or family members or DNC trying to get to that magic number 51.
[EWALT]: Well, look, you, you're not trying to kick a guy when he's down. I mean, we all want John Fetterman to get better, right? There's no doubt about that. But when you're running for one of the highest offices in, obviously in the country and maybe even the world, we can say, You, you, you've gotta be fit to run for office. And you know, it's, it's surprising that, to your point, that it's allowed to continue this far. And, and I'm even surprised they allowed him to debate because that really puts him on a national stage.
[LaTorre]: Well, I think he didn't have a choice at the end about the debate, because there had been so many questions swirling about his capabilities, mental acuity, on and on and on. Lack of transparency. He still won't release his medical records. Yeah. Last week he released a, what a, the equivalent to a doctor's note saying he was healthy and on the road recovery, and there's no nothing holding him back. We find out a day later that that note was written by a donor. That's right. As a doctor who donated to his campaign, but he won't release his medical records. I, I think anybody who is objective, especially independent voters and undecideds right now, who really weren't sure who to vote for, I don't know how you come away with any other decision, but Dr. Oz is your guy who's very smooth during a debate. They're trying to pick apart his answer on abortion, which is predictable. But really, when you're looking for somebody who looks the part, it was Dr. Oz, He pivoted easily. He brought specifics to the table and he countered on Fetterman a lot. And Fetterman, obviously for anybody who saw the debate or the subsequent highlights could tell that he was just not up to the task. And I don't know how he could serve in the US Senate.
[EWALT]: Yeah, no, I mean it's, again, it's unfortunate and it's, it's, it's a strange position that we find ourselves in. And I, I find it even stranger that the race is as close as it seems to be at this point. But,
[LaTorre]: Well, the problem really about the closeness is Fetterman really dominated the primary. He was never in question he was gonna win that. But the Senate primary, between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick and, and independent businessman, it was brutal. They spent millions of dollars and he really started behind Dr. Oz immediately after the primary. And it took a while for him to start to raise money to get back into the game. And, and I think that's where he fell behind. But as time has gone on and people started to pay attention to the race, his numbers have really started to tick up and get a lot closer. He's within the margin of error and a lot of polls right now. We still have two weeks to go. He's tracking in the right direction.
[EWALT]: Yeah. So, so Dave put, put aside again, you know, health issues and let, let's say it's an even playing field, which, which we know it's not, but let's say it was, right. What do Pennsylvania voters care most about? Cuz that's really what we should be talking about. Not if you know someone's mentally or, or prepared to be able to do this type of job. What do they care about?
[LaTorre]: Well, that's just it. John Fetterman ran on a real far left wing agenda, which is great to win a primary, but that's not where Pennsylvanians are right now. They're vote, they're gonna vote as, as we always say, right? They're gonna vote with their pocket books. Right now inflation is crushing Pennsylvania, just like every other state across the country. And that's reflective in the polls. People care about, number one in Pennsylvania, they care about the economy. Number two is jobs. Number three is gas prices. And so when you look at gas prices, they're starting to tick back up again here in Pennsylvania. And that's a big problem for Fetterman. And he's on the wrong side on all of these issues. He's flip flopped on fracking, which is energy jobs and, and, and the economy in Pennsylvania, he's, he supported every Biden policy and legislative win in Washington over the last two years. He was happy about the decisions that were being made, about our energy needs. They, they've, they've, we've gone from an energy independent country, as you know, to one that is very dependent upon the charity of others. And John Fetterman applauded that the whole way. So you add up people focusing on the issues, his positions on everything being the opposite of what people really care about right now.
00:09:32:17 And it's easy to see and his performance in a debate. And it's easy to see that why Dr. Oz has gained so much steam.
[EWALT]: Yeah. And, and Dave, you're, I know you're in media and, and so, you know, a lot of your peers on the democratic side wanna focus in on January 6th, insurrection and abortion. Right? They hammer this over and over and over again. And what you just told me is that that's not what the citizen of Pennsylvania cares about. And, and I would venture across the country, they care more about the economy and, and where things are going with inflation and how they're gonna pay their bills. And yet we continue to see that narrative being pushed over and over again. What is that backfiring on the media? Well,
[LaTorre]: It, it is backfiring. And quite frankly, Oz rightly calls it out as as scare tactics, especially when it comes to abortion. Pennsylvania voters are educated. I know plenty of women who are Republicans but are pro-choice that believe that that's an issue that'll be solved on the state level. Exactly. They don't have an issue with Oz in the federal government being pro-life. They're more focused on the economy and what Joe Biden's doing in Washington DC So they're able to draw that line, so to speak, when it comes to Oz. But yeah, the media, I think the, the media's coverage of, and, and I tweeted about this earlier this week after the debate, the media about the Fetterman race, they've done an another injustice to, to Pennsylvania voters. Yeah. They have known how bad this candidate was, his physical condition, his mental condition. And they basically didn't ask tough questions of this candidate. And they allowed it to fester. And here we are. And I think that media deserves a lot of the responsibility when it comes to parties getting free passes. And I really actually, I should say party, because the Republican party never gets a free pass.
[EWALT]: Yes, that's so true. Alright, well let's, let's shift gears now to the governor race, cuz that's also a big deal, obviously. And so we have very different candidates here, right? So we have an attorney general Josh Shapiro, very polished politician, and then going against Doug Mastriano, who is, you know, an anti-establishment Republican, really associated with the grassroots, a lot more. Two very different candidates. Does Mastiano have a shot at winning this?
[LaTorre]: I think any Republican has a shot of winning any election in this country come November. I think the odds for Mastriano are much longer than Dr. Oz. And the reason I say that is, is I think Doug Mastriano has wasted a lot of opportunities. I draw, I, I like to draw a comparison to Kari Lake in Arizona who has been out there tangling with the media, putting them in uncomfortable positions, really being prepared counter attacking. Doug Mastriano does not do interviews. I cannot tell you the last time Doug Mastriano did an interview in Pennsylvania, I'm sure he's done one, but he's had media events where he's requiring television stations to allow them to review all videotapes so they won't come to his events. I, I, I look, he won an eight way primary with 43% of the vote, which is incredibly impressive in such a, in such a wide, widely competitive primary. He just dominated it. But it was very clear coming out of that primary that he needed to reach out to moderate republicans and independents and really make some headway with them. And I just, I hate to tell you this and it's disappointing, but he hasn't done that. He has, he stuck to his base and you don't hear him talking about jobs, You don't hear him talking about the economy because he doesn't communicate with anybody. It's literally like he's running a campaign in hiding. And it's been frustrating for a lot of Republicans and some of his diehard supporters here in Pennsylvania. Look, Dr I'm sorry, Doug Mastriano, his supporters, his, his core of supporters, they're passionate, right? Really, really passionate. Josh Shapiro's supporters are not passionate about Josh Shapiro. They're passionate about the issues, but nobody's gonna go to the poll saying, I can't wait to vote for Josh Shapiro. He's the greatest thing ever. Right? Doug Mastriano's core supporters will absolutely, they cannot wait for him to, they cannot wait to vote for him on election day. And I truly believe they think he's going to win, but I just think he's blown it. I I think he's blown the opportunity he needs to get out there tangle. He's a Trump candidate. I mean, what's the Trump playbook? Everybody knows it. It's, it's do as many interviews as you can and if you get in fights with the media, Well, that's great.
[EWALT]: That's a positive for you. Yeah, exactly.
[LaTorre]: Yes. And it's a pos it's been a positive for Kari Lake. Her opponent in Arizona won't debate her and is very sheepish on interviews. Lake is all over the place. And if she wins, it's gonna be a great lesson on Kari Lake versus Doug Mastriano because Doug Mastriano, even with, even as insular as he has been in his campaign, I can't tell you that he's gonna lose in a red year. He could pull it out. Yeah, he
absolutely could pull it out. But he's not made it easy on himself.
[EWALT]: Well let, yeah. So let's go down that path and see what he needs to do. So I guess one of the things that come to my mind, right, just looking at Shapiro, right? Attorney General, right? I see in the news all the time about the crime explosion in Pennsylvania, right? It's not the only state, there's many states out there that are having the same issue, but it's in the same mold of these attorney generals that are soft on crime. Aren't people in Pennsylvania tired of that? And why do they want more of that and, and allow someone to become a governor That's, that's been soft on crime as an Attorney general. Isn't that something that he can
[LaTorre]: He can't capitalize on it because he's not raising money. And then when he does do commercials he won't work with any established political consultants or strategists. And what's frustrating is his first ad is all about him and his and his service in the military. Well, that's great if you've got 40 million to spend like Josh Shapiro does, but he is, he's not, he's not defining Josh Shapiro. Nobody else is going to do that. That it's Doug Mastriano's job to say, this is the guy you're voting for. Right? Because let's face it, we all know those ads work. And I, I wish I could tell you why this isn't happening. And look, you know, another thing working against Mastriano too is he was very focused on election integrity in 2020. And the polls here in Pennsylvania show people ready to move on from 2020, they wanna look ahead to 2022. A lot of people think he's a one issue person, but here I come back to the fact that he's not raising money. Republican Governor's Association isn't jumping on board, RNC isn't jumping on board. He's really got an uphill battle. And then when he finally does an ad, it's about his service in the military. Yeah. Well, who cares about that right? Now
[EWALT]: We got that.
[LaTorre]: Yeah. Who cares about that? Like, I have to tell you, like, I wish I could tell your viewers, I wish I could give him some good news. The only good news I can give you in Pennsylvania is people don't know that there's a choice and, but it's a Republican year and you never can't tell what can happen in a, in a Republican year. And people could just start show up and, and just start hitting buttons, hitting red buttons left and right. So that's why I, that's why I give him a chance. But it's really been frustrating for a lot of people. Oh, another thing is Doug Mastriano won't debate him, won't debate him unless he gets to pick the moderator. The moderator who just did Oz and Fetterman's debate was gonna do the same thing for the governor's race. And Mastriano rejected it because he said the moderator was too partisan. I can tell you, I had that moderator on my radio show. He is not too partisan. His name's Dennis Owens ABC 27. He is not too partisan. He is the perfect moderator, and he would've been extremely fair to Mastriano. But he said no, it, it boggles the mind. It really boggles the mind.
[EWALT]: Well, I hope he watches this podcast because he's, Its not too late. I do too. We got two weeks left. Right? And it
[LaTorre]: I do too. Yes. Yes.
[EWALT]: So, so that, yeah, no, that, that is, it's unfortunate. Again, two weeks left. So hopefully that he gets a chance to really push it into overdrive those last two weeks. And you said something earlier too that I'll, I'll, I'll bring back in. You mentioned that because of what's happening with Fetterman and Oz, that's actually damaging Shapiro, so you have one more thing that could help push him Mastriano over, just as, just because of the Senate race,
[LaTorre]: All Doug Mastriano had to do in May was come out and say, Thank you. I'm so excited that I won this nomination. I'm gonna get to work, create when I'm governor, creating jobs, bringing, bringing our economy back, et cetera, et cetera. And he didn't do that. But you're right, there are some built-in advantages. And I, and, and I've said that I think Fetterman is a drag on the ticket at this point, and it's a red year. And he definitely has those advantages. And that's why I can't rule out it.
If this was not a red year, you and I would not be having the same conversation I would. He would lose by double digits. It it, that's my experience here in Pennsylvania. And I understand and respect your question and agree with you. You, it is right to question Shapiro's performance during the lockdowns, the draconian lockdowns by current Democratic governor Tom Wolfs. We were all upset about it. A lot of Pennsylvanians
were upset about it. Wolf's polling numbers currently are pretty bad as a result. Mm. But you know, when there's a vacuum on the other side and nobody to really go after him, it just makes it really, really difficult for, for people to line up in at line up against Josh Shapiro. There's a void on the other side.
[EWALT]: Yeah, well it's, you know, it's like you said, I mean, we're, we're hearing stuff across the country like Red Tsunami and look, we got a lot of work to do between now and then. It sounds like in your opinion, we, we would see a, a very positive outcome maybe on the Senate race that that governor's race is right there for the taking, but maybe not enough gas left to get it done. But so thoughts on the red wave in, in Pennsylvania?
[LaTorre]: Well, I think the red wave is very real. I think the abortion issue peaked a couple months ago for Democrats. I think as the economy continues to worsen, people are looking at who's in charge. And that's Democrats in Washington, DC you know, for Joe Biden to say, if we have control of Congress in, you know, after these elections, I'm going to introduce legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. Well, why aren't you doing that now? And I think people see that. I think people see the silliness of his press conferences and how they constantly contradict one another in that administration. The press secretary is just very poor at her job. So all that translates into I think, people realizing that the, you know, the whole defund the police thing that they've been trying to, they've been trying to dial back now for two years. That's another big issue in Pennsylvania crime. Philadelphia setting new
records, as you indicated earlier, for murders over a thousand carjackings this year alone. People are very smart here in Pennsylvania. They look at, they look at who's in charge of those things. And they try and, and I think they're gonna try and vote for Republicans by and large problem in the governor's race, unfortunately is, you know, what are candidates doing. But it's still there for the take. And I expect strong majorities from the State House and Senate in Pennsylvania. I expect all the close congressional races to lean toward Republicans in Pennsylvania. It should be a very, very good year. And look, if we come close to hitting a hundred percent, like if we do 90%, 92% in, in winning these offices and these contested races, I think we'll all be very happy here in Pennsylvania come November 9th.
[EWALT]: Yeah, that's a big year. No,
[LaTorre]: Although we won't, Although we won't know the results by then, unfortunately. We used to know our results right away, so it could actually take several days.
[EWALT]: You can guarantee that. Right, right. Well, well, Dave, this has been fantastic. We really appreciate your insight. And look, we're praying for your state, praying for the country. I got a lot of work to do. But again, thank you for coming on the show.
[LaTorre]: Always love being on. Thanks for having me.
[EWALT]: All right, well, that's our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in and supporting conservative media. Don't ever forget that by working together and staying diligent, we conservatives can bring our country back to true greatness. Until next week, let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America.