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Analysis: Something very important for 2024 happened in Pennsylvania today

Analysis: Something very important for 2024 happened in Pennsylvania today

(CNN)Unless you follow politics, or Pennsylvania, or Pennsylvania politics pretty closely, you likely skipped over Wednesday’s announcement by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro that he is running for governor in 2022.

You shouldn’t, mostly because Shapiro’s candidacy — and the broader Pennsylvania gubernatorial election — could well have profound consequences on the 2024 election and its aftermath.

Shapiro is almost certain to be the Democratic nominee, as he has cleared the field and been endorsed by term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

    The Republican primary is more crowded, but the leading candidate — former Rep. Lou Barletta — was one of the earliest supporters of Trump in Congress and was encouraged to make a bid for Senate in 2018 by the former President. (Barletta lost that race.) Barletta has said he supports a statewide recount of the 2020 vote, a proposal Trump backs despite zero evidence of widespread voter fraud.

      So the choice for Pennsylvania voters next November could well come down to Shapiro, who fought subpoenas for voters’ personal information in the state, and Barletta, a close Trump ally and believer in the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

        The choice they make could determine what happens in Pennsylvania in 2024 — assuming Trump is on the ballot again.

        Remember that Pennsylvania has been one of the most closely contested states in the country over the last two presidential elections; Hillary Clinton beat Trump by fewer than 30,000 votes in 2016 and Joe Biden edged Trump by just over 80,000 (out of almost 7 million cast) last November.

          A Gov. Barletta might be willing to do Trump’s bidding when it comes to alleged problems with mail-in ballots or whatever else the former President cooks up between now and then.  

          A Gov. Shapiro almost certainly would not accede to Trump’s demands on the vote count.

            “As governor, I’ll continue to stand up to the attacks on our democracy,” Shapiro said in his announcement. “We’ll strengthen voter intimidation laws, improve the mail-in ballot process, and make sure every single eligible voter can make their voice heard.”

            The Point: Who the governor of Pennsylvania is when the 2024 election rolls around matters hugely in light of Trump’s demonstrated record of trying to lean on elected officiaIs in swing states to change the vote in order to help his chances of winning — both the state and the White House.