Trump effectively ended Bill McSwain’s campaign, Jake Corman withdrew – then un-withdrew, and Lou Barletta made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago.

PENNSYLVANIA — The Republican primary for Governor was already the “Trump Primary,” and that’s even clearer after Trump’s rampage this week — and now, the far-right candidates are scrambling to pick up the pieces as they continue to fight for the Florida resident’s endorsement. While Trump’s “whiplash-inducing day” still has Republicans’ hearts racing and Pennsylvanians’ heads spinning, the damage is already done: Bill McSwain’s campaign is effectively over, Jake Corman withdrew — and then un-withdrew, and Lou Barletta trekked over 1,000 miles from Pennsylvania just for a handshake from the former president.

“Just when Pennsylvanians thought the ‘Trump Primary’ couldn’t get any messier, the former President descended on the Commonwealth — crushing the hopes and dreams of extreme and unelectable far-right candidates in his wake,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa Nahem. “The GOP candidates have made fools of themselves for months, begging for Trump’s support and going all-in on the MAGA agenda and election conspiracies. The race to the bottom received a jolt and this week was yet another ugly reminder of what we’ve already known: this race is all about Trump. If only the GOP candidates cared as much about Pennsylvania families.”

Despite McSwain, Corman, and Barletta spending the week focusing on Trump, they can’t beat insurrection participant Doug Mastriano, who is once again leading in a newly released poll. In case you (somehow) managed to miss the last 48 hours, let’s recap the “hot mess” that is Republicans’ historically crowded and ugly primary for Governor.

Donald Trump issues long awaited (anti) endorsement:

Given Trump’s sway among Republicans, Bill McSwain’s campaign ended this week when Donald Trump issued an “anti-endorsement” of his own former U.S. Attorney. McSwain has spent months championing non-existent voter fraud — even embarrassing himself with a desperate letter to Trump over the summer pedaling the Big Lie. The infamous letter was debunked by Bill Barr and made McSwain a laughing stock across the country — and McSwain began his campaign dodging questions about it. But despite McSwain’s best efforts, he wasn’t able to secure his former boss’s endorsement with Trump instead calling McSwain a “coward” and making sure Pennsylvanians know: “do not vote for Bill McSwain.”

Now, McSwain’s left to pick up the pieces of his crumbling campaign. While McSwain attempted to clean up his mess highlighting his prosecutorial record (yes, this one), he can’t paper over the fact that Trump hates him and his biggest backer is reconsidering their support. While McSwain’s team is no stranger to messes, good luck cleaning up this one.

Jake Corman withdraws from the GOP race – then un-withdraws:

If you blinked you might have missed it, but it is true that Jake Corman finally admitted what we all already know: despite his “MAGA makeover” and decision to hire Kellyanne Conway, he isn’t equipped to win the race-to-the-far-right. Corman filed to withdraw from the GOP primary for Governor Tuesday, but apparently he had another change of heart thanks to none-other-than Donald Trump who reportedly told Corman to “keep fighting.”

If only Corman cared about the 9 million Pennsylvanians’ personal, private information that he’s risking with Harrisburg Republicans’ sham election audit as much as he does about Trump’s opinion of his doomed campaign for Governor.

Lou Barletta makes the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago:

Lou Barletta was one of Trump’s earliest endorsers in Congress — and that loyalty extended into 2020, when Barletta signed on as an “alternate elector” as part of a nationwide scheme to help Trump overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Now, despite losing by double digits the last time he tried to run for statewide office, voting repeatedly in Congress to strip away health care from Pennsylvania families, and leading Hazleton to financial ruin as Mayor, Barletta thinks he’s got the record to earn Trump’s support — and he traveled to Mar-a-Lago to try to get it. Instead, he got a handshake — but hey, at least he didn’t get an “anti-endorsement.”

Unfortunately for Barletta and the entire GOP field for Governor, it might be impossible to predict what the former President will do, but one thing is clear: his eyes are on the Commonwealth — and the candidates know it.