The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association on Wednesday threw its support behind Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro in a midterm election cycle that’s seen crime emerge as a major campaign issue.
In a statement posted on its website, the association calls Oz “a strong champion for law enforcement officers and their families in Pennsylvania.”
“At a time when the law enforcement community is facing its greatest challenges, we need people who will advocate for the tools and resources that will keep the men and women of the Pennsylvania State Police safe as they serve our commonwealth,” said David Kennedy, the group’s president.
The group voiced its support for Shapiro in a separate statement posted on its website, lauding his experience as attorney general.
“His leadership, experience, and knowledge of Pennsylvania’s laws will best serve our Troopers as they continue to provide the citizens of Pennsylvania a safe and secure environment to live and work,” Kennedy said.
The contrasting endorsements come as the issue of combating crime continues to be a top campaign issue for candidates on both sides of the aisle and takes a leading role in Pennsylvania’s elections.
Shapiro’s opponent, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), has included the issue in his campaign platform, as has Oz. Earlier this week, Oz was endorsed by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of the Police.
Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman has also zeroed in on the issue, rolling out an ad on Tuesday featuring the sheriff of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
“Here’s the truth. John gave a second chance to those who deserved it,” Sheriff Sean Kilkenny says in the 30-second spot. “He voted with law enforcement experts nearly 90 percent of the time. Dr. Oz doesn’t know a thing about crime, he only knows how to help himself.”
The endorsements come as Shapiro and Fetterman lead Mastriano and Oz in the polls. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Shapiro leads Mastriano by 9 points, while Fetterman leads Oz by 4.5 points. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has rated both races as “lean Democrat.”