Pa. Governor-elect Josh Shapiro (R) embraces his family on election night, next to Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis Credit: Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Josh Shapiro, a Democrat and current attorney general of Pa., won the race to be the commonwealth’s next governor, riding broad-based political establishment support and a robust fundraising machine to victory over Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano. Joining Shapiro in Harrisburg will be Austin Davis, who’ll become state’s first Black lieutenant governor.

Shapiro won by a 55% to 44% margin, as called by the Associated Press at 12:16 a.m. Following Gov. Wolf’s two victories in 2014 and 2018, this marks the third consecutive gubernatorial victory for the Democratic Party — a feat which hasn’t happened since 1844.

“Let me begin by simply saying, thank you, Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said to a packed crowd of supporters. “We value our freedom, we cherish our democracy, and we love our country.”

Said Davis: “Pennsylvanians have chosen unity over division, love over hate, and progress over extremism.”

Mastriano initially declined to concede, saying his campaign would wait until “every vote is counted.” He asked supporters to have faith and pray for “the lord to intervene,” according to reporters at the party.

The race has drawn national attention since the May primary.

After Mastriano emerged from that election as the Republican nominee, pundits and commentators started to talk about the race as pivotal to “the future of American democracy.” They pointed to Mastriano’s plan to clear the state’s voter rolls, and expressed concerns he’d appoint a secretary of state inclined to alter election results in the next presidential election. More recently, national reports centered on concerns about antisemitism, as well as Mastriano’s connections to far-right social media platform Gab, whose founder has made public antisemitic statements.

Shapiro had no Democratic opponents in the primary, during which he won the support of not only his own party, but some Republican groups as well. Some believe his run for governor is another stepping stone on a path toward larger political ambitions.

Shapiro, the commonwealth’s attorney general since 2017, previously served in the Pa. House of Representatives and then as a Montgomery County Commissioner.

As AG, he gained renown for releasing a report that exposed clergy sexual abuse and serial coverups in Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses. After the 2020 presidential race, Shapiro filed multiple lawsuits against the Trump administration to defend against attempts to overturn valid election results in Pennsylvania.

He has pledged to veto any abortion restriction bills that end up in front of him — his predecessor, Gov. Tom Wolf, did the same several times when the majority-Republican state legislature passed bills limiting abortion access.

Shapiro has said he wants Pa. to have 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050. He also supports making stricter gun safety laws and he wants to raise the minimum wage.

The new governor will take office on Jan. 17, 2023, with a four-year term. There is a two-term limit for governors in Pennsylvania.