State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, a Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, in Chambersburg, Pa., May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Doug Mastriano

As the controversy has grown, groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition called on GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano to distance himself from the Gab site and its CEO, Andrew Torba.

By JNS

The GOP nominee in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race is distancing himself from the anti-Jewish statements of one of his prominent supporters.

In recent weeks, State Sen. Doug Mastriano has been under fire from both Democrats and Republicans after it was revealed that his campaign paid $5,000 in advertising consulting to the far-right microblogging platform Gab, which is known as a haven for antisemitic content.

His Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is Jewish.

Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba, who is an outspoken supporter of Mastriano, responded to the controversy with an antisemitic rant during a live stream, where he defended his donation and called for an exclusively Christian movement.

“These people aren’t conservative. They’re not Christian, right? They don’t share our values. They have inverted values from us as Christians,” he said. “So don’t fall for the bait, right? Don’t fall for the bait of Populism Inc. Don’t fall for the bait of this pseudo-conservatism, big-tent nonsense.”

“This is a Christian movement,” he added, “and this movement needs to be centered on the gospel and truth of God’s word and of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and King. That is the only way that this is going to work.”

Torba continued to clarify that the Christian Nationalist movement was exclusive only to Christians, saying: “We don’t want people who are atheists. We don’t want people who are Jewish.”

Earlier in the live stream, Torba said that he and Mastriano only speak to Christian media.

As the controversy grew and groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition called on Mastriano to distance himself from Gab and Torba, Mastriano released a statement on Twitter.

“Andrew Torba doesn’t speak for me or any campaign. I reject antisemitism in any form. Recent smears by the Democrats and the media are blatant attempts to distract Pennsylvanians from suffering inflicted by Democrat policies,” he wrote.

“While extremist speech is an unfortunate but inevitable cost of living in a free society, extremist policies are not—and the only candidate in this election who wants to impose extreme policies on Pennsylvania—inflation, crime, lockdowns and mandates—is Josh Shapiro,” he added.

Along with the statement, Mastriano’s account was also removed from Gab. The account had approximately 38,000 followers and new users to the platform would automatically follow Mastriano’s account according to the Huffington Post.

A recent poll of registered voters in Pennsylvania conducted between July 22 to 26 by Fox News shows Mastriano trailing Shapiro by 10%.