Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro rallies Democrats in New Hampshire
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro appeared at the New Hampshire Democrats midterm convention on Saturday behaving an awful lot like a possible future presidential candidate, a role he has said he’s not pursuing. The governor was the keynote speaker at the event held at Bedford High School in Bedford, N.H. near Manchester, the state’s largest city.
Shapiro touted his accomplishments after less than a year in office, headlines that are familiar to Pennsylvanians: How the state worked to repair and reopen a damaged portion of I-95 in Philadelphia in 12 days; how the state now has free breakfast for all students, and his recent executive order to implement automatic voter registration at Pennsylvania driver license centers.
He also offered his view of the political landscape as the country gears up for 2024. “Today, the biggest threat to our democracy comes from within,” Shapiro said. “Dangerous extremists are actively working behind the scenes and on our screens to undermine our democracy. They’re fighting to limit access to the ballot box, literally right now.” Without naming either one, the governor referenced former President Donald Trump and the Republican who Shapiro beat to win the Pennsylvania governor’s race last year, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin).
“We know how dangerous the former president is,” Shapiro said. “I know him and I know people like him. I ran against one of them last year. I beat him and won with the most votes ever in the history of Pennsylvania.” Shapiro received more than 3 million votes in the gubernatorial election, more than any previous candidate.
Shapiro referred to his administration as having a “GSD attitude,” short for “getting sh_t done.” The rebuilding of I-95 “showed that we can do big things again here in America. And look, I think that’s who we are as Democrats. That’s the attitude that we need to bring every single day across this nation. We get things done for the good people of this country.”
The opening of Shapiro’s speech on Saturday was interrupted by protesters shouting “no more gas, no more oil” during the first few minutes. He continued speaking and the protesters were reportedly removed from the gathering. It wasn’t immediately clear Saturday if the protesters represented a specific group.
But an organization calling itself the Better Path Coalition, which includes more than two dozen environmental and social advocacy groups, took out an ad in the local Bedford Bulletin newspaper criticizing Shapiro for not taking “taking swift, decisive climate action” against the fossil fuel industry.
The governor’s appearance in New Hampshire fueled speculation that he is gearing up for an eventual run for president. New Hampshire was traditionally a key state for presidential candidates with its first-in-the-nation primary, but new Democratic National Committee rules have put South Carolina as the first nominating state in the 2024 primary season.
Shapiro appeared in New Hampshire the same day Pennsylvania Democrats were preparing to gather for their fourth annual Independence Dinner in Valley Forge. U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is scheduled to be the keynote speaker, and former Gov. Ed Rendell will receive a lifetime achievement award.
It also came days after the abrupt resignation of Mike Vereb, a top aide and longtime associate of Shapiro’s. According to SpotlightPA, Vereb had been accused earlier this year of sexual harassment by a fellow employee of the administration, who reported he made inappropriate comments to the person, and later retaliated.