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Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro speaking at a rally on Nov. 5, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang , Anna Vazhaeparambil

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro sat down with the DP to discuss the role of Penn students in the upcoming midterm election three days prior to Election Day. 

Shapiro, who has served as Attorney General of Pennsylvania since 2017, will face Republican candidate Sen. Doug Mastriano in the race for governor on Nov. 8. As Attorney General, Shapiro defended the outcome of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania, revealed patterns of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and defended reproductive rights. If elected, Shapiro intends to prioritize protecting abortion rights and voter integrity. 

Here are some of the highlights from the interview.

1. What do you believe can happen if Mastriano is elected as governor?

“My opponent has been working for years to undermine our democracy to take away our rights, our fundamental freedoms, including the most critical freedom, and that is our right to vote. So he needs to be defeated. We need to protect our democracy. I think Americans need to be concerned [about the state of our democracy,]" Shapiro said. 

Shapiro added that he thinks Americans are "a light to the world," citing the "strength of [American] democracy" as a key factor in why he holds this belief. He said he believes is the strength of American democracy is being undermined by "people like Doug Mastriano."

2. Why should Penn students care about this election?

Shapiro said that he believes Penn students should care about this election because people's rights "are on the line." 

“It’s all on the line for students, whether it’s your right to equality education, whether it’s your right to make decisions over your own body, right to marry who you love, your right to vote," Shapiro said. "We’ve got to do our part to protect people’s rights." 

He said he believes the group that will make the difference in this election will be the Gen Z demographic. 

"If Gen Z gets out to the polls, I think we can do some great things in this commonwealth and in this country," Shapiro said. 

3. Why should students vote in this midterm election?

Shapiro noted that while he believes every election matters, he thinks that this election "probably [represents] the most important governor’s race of our lifetime."

He also said that in this governor's race, "all of the freedoms and opportunities" are on the ballot. 

4. Why should Penn students vote for you? 

Shapiro said that he believes Penn students share an interest in "a lot of the issues" he cares about, citing climate change, economic opportunity, the right to vote, the right to make decisions over your own body, and the right to be able to marry who you love. 

"My opponent is against all of those fundamental rights," Shapiro said. 

"[Mastriano] was part of the violent mob that stormed the capitol on January 6 to take away your right to vote. And he says he wants to charge women with murder who have life-saving medical procedures. I believe abortion is healthcare, and he wants to ban that in Pennsylvania," Shapiro added. "There are so many reasons why he’s out of step with where Penn students are and where most Pennsylvanians are."

5. Do you believe Penn students can make a difference in this election?

Shapiro said that he believes Doug Mastriano "is the most extreme and dangerous candidate" in the nation. 

"If Penn students show up and vote, we can stop him," Shapiro said.

This fall, a group of students formed Penn for Shapiro to work to support Shapiro and his running mate Austin Davis ahead of the election. The group has since amassed to over 60 members. 

Shapiro is likely to win the race, according to recent polling from Politico. The Senate race, however, is considered a toss-up between Republican nominee Mehmet Oz and Democratic nominee John Fetterman.