Josh Shapiro
Josh ShapiroBastiaan Slabbers via Reuters Connect

Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano on Sunday conceded defeat to his Democrat opponent, Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, in the state’s gubernatorial race, five days after news outlets called the race against him.

“Difficult to accept as the results are, there is no right course but to concede, which I do, and I look to the challenges ahead. Josh Shapiro will be our next Governor, and I ask everyone to give him the opportunity to lead and pray that he leads well,” Mastriano said in a statement quoted by The Hill.

Mastriano conceded hours after Shapiro said that Mastriano had not called to concede the race after major media outlets projected his loss on Tuesday night.

However, Shapiro seemed unfazed by this fact, telling CNN’s Dana Bash, “I mean, who cares if he calls, right?”

“He doesn’t get to pick the winner, the people pick the winner,” Shapiro added. “And in a resounding way, they made clear that they wanted me to lead this commonwealth forward.”

“We had an historic win, more votes than any gubernatorial candidate in history, so I could care less if the guy calls me,” Shapiro said on CNN. “What matters is the people chose me, and I look forward to getting to work for them in January.”

Shapiro led Mastriano by 14 percentage points, or roughly 755,000 votes, as of Sunday morning, with nearly all votes counted, according to The Hill.

Mastriano was endorsed by former US President Donald Trump and attracted criticisms for his being in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

Part of Mastriano’s platform included eliminating ballot drop boxes and no-excuse mail voting as well as passing universal voter identification requirements.

Mastriano’s wife, Rebecca, made some headlines during the campaign, when she suggested, during a press conference that her husband “loves Israel more than a lot of Jews do”.

In July, the Republican Jewish Coalition called on Mastriano to stop promoting his campaign on Gab, a social media network favored by extremists. Mastriano later made clear he rejected antisemitism.