Josh Shapiro, Running for Pennsylvania Governor, Focuses on Voting Rights

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Politics|In Pennsylvania Governor’s Race, Josh Shapiro Focuses connected Voting Rights

Mr. Shapiro, the state’s lawyer wide and a Democratic campaigner for governor, has been connected the forefront of ineligible efforts to support the 2020 election.

Josh Shapiro said helium  would absorption   connected  voting rights arsenic  helium  campaigns to beryllium  Pennsylvania’s adjacent  governor.
Credit...Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Nick Corasaniti

Oct. 14, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

Thirty seconds into his authoritative run for politician successful Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro wanted to speech astir voting rights.

The recently minted Democratic campaigner announced his expected candidacy for politician successful a two-minute video that rapidly turned to the issue. It’s a taxable helium knows well: As the lawyer wide successful Pennsylvania, Mr. Shapiro has been defending against a torrent of lawsuits filed by Donald J. Trump and his allies aft the erstwhile president’s 2020 predetermination loss.

The 2022 races for politician successful Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin person been viewed by Democrats arsenic a oversea partition against a rising Republican tide of voting restrictions and far-reaching predetermination laws. All 3 states person Republican-controlled legislatures that attempted to walk caller voting laws but were blocked by the menace of a veto, and diagnostic Republican candidates who person advocated for caller voting laws.

Pennsylvania is the lone authorities with an unfastened race, arsenic existent Gov. Tom Wolf is word constricted from moving again. Mr. Wolf threw his enactment down Mr. Shapiro years earlier helium announced, helping to wide the Democratic field.

We spoke to Mr. Shapiro Wednesday arsenic helium traveled to his homecoming rally successful Montgomery County.

This interrogation has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Your announcement video focuses archetypal and foremost connected threats to democracy. How bash you tally connected that arsenic a candidate?

JOSH SHAPIRO: Voting rights volition beryllium a cardinal contented successful this election. And it surely volition beryllium a cardinal absorption of my campaign. There’s a wide opposition betwixt maine and my twelve oregon truthful Republican opponents. They’re retired peddling the large lie, and benignant of walk these far-right litmus tests with their audits. And they’re doing existent demolition to our democracy. I judge that a cardinal absorption of this run volition beryllium connected the preservation of our democracy, and the extortion of voting rights.

Do you interest astir overhyping threats to democracy, particularly arsenic nationalist Democrats successful Congress stay successful a stalemate and aren’t taking drastic steps to code it?

I deliberation our ideology is genuinely being threatened. The lone crushed Pennsylvania has not suffered the mode Texas and Georgia person with rollbacks of voting rights is due to the fact that of the veto pen of our governor. We request to support voting rights. And I’d similar to enactment with radical of some parties to grow voting rights.

What bash you deliberation Democratic candidates and you should beryllium focusing on, specifically erstwhile talking astir these threats to voting rights astir the country?

I don’t deliberation I tin talk for immoderate different candidate, I tin lone talk for me. I’m a arrogant Pennsylvania Democrat, and present successful Pennsylvania, we were the birthplace of our democracy. And we person a peculiar work present to support it. And I judge that the adjacent politician successful Pennsylvania volition person profound work to bash that work. You cognize wherever I stand: grow voting rights, support our democracy.

You notation “working crossed the aisle” successful your code Wednesday successful Pittsburgh. But with a Pennsylvania legislature you’re presently suing implicit an effort to summation backstage elector information, however bash you program to enactment with them?

I sued those Republican Pennsylvania senators due to the fact that I judge they’re breaking the instrumentality by compromising the backstage accusation of 9 cardinal Pennsylvania voters. And indeed, today, arsenic lawyer general, I’ll beryllium filing a reply little successful that case. But the crushed I deliberation I tin enactment with them and others is that I person a agelong way grounds passim my vocation of bringing sides together, uncovering communal crushed and getting things done to payment Pennsylvanians.

But is determination immoderate facet of voting rights wherever you person seen communal crushed with Republicans successful the authorities legislature?

I’ve talked to Republican commissioners, authorities lawmakers and predetermination officials who person each said to me, let’s walk a instrumentality that allows america to bash precanvassing of mail-in ballots the mode they bash successful Florida and North Carolina and Ohio, for example. That’s an illustration of wherever we tin find communal ground.

The California callback predetermination showed however rapidly allegations of “rigged elections” are formed about. How bash you presumption governing successful an epoch wherever winners are viewed arsenic illegitimate by immoderate of their constituents?

Unfortunately, Republican leaders present successful Pennsylvania person been lying to their constituents for the past 10 months, lying to them astir the election, lying to them astir the results, erstwhile the information is we had a harmless and secure, escaped and just predetermination successful Pennsylvania. So it’s not astonishing to maine that immoderate radical successful the nationalist question things erstwhile their leaders person been lying to them. Leaders person a work to talk truth. That is what I person tried to bash arsenic lawyer general. And what I surely volition bash arsenic governor. The nationalist deserves thing less.

Democrats astir the state recovered occurrence successful 2018 with a absorption connected wellness care, cause prices and jobs. Now that absorption seems mislaid amid infrastructure and a reconciliation bill. Are you acrophobic astir moving without a nationalist cohesive connection for Democrats?

I’m moving arsenic a Pennsylvania Democrat, with a wide connection of taking connected the large fights, bringing radical unneurotic and delivering existent results to the radical of Pennsylvania. That’s the absorption of my campaign.

OK, so, would that impact 2018 messages similar wellness attraction and jobs? Or has it changed to thing else?

The nationalist issues you’re talking astir are not my focus. What is my absorption is issues connected the crushed present successful Pennsylvania. I conscionable talked successful Pittsburgh, for example, astir however we request to rebuild our infrastructure, repair roads and bridges and link each Pennsylvanian to the net from Waynesburg successful southwestern Pennsylvania to West Philadelphia. Really taking vantage of our universities to beryllium capable to go centers of innovation. Making definite we woody with immoderate of the systemic inequities successful our acquisition and wellness attraction strategy present successful Pennsylvania. Those are the issues that I’m focused on, and those are the issues that I cognize are important to the bully radical of Pennsylvania.

But I believe, going backmost to the archetypal question you asked, it makes it harder to get astatine those issues if we don’t enactment up our democracy. And that is wherefore I deliberation ideology and voting rights is specified a cardinal theme. And if we tin marque definite that our ideology is shored up, past we tin enactment done these different critically important issues.

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