Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Pennsylvania’s Mastriano, accused of antisemitism in run for governor, now eyes Senate seat

Doug Mastriano said the name recognition he built last year could propel him to the Senate

Doug Mastriano, a Christian nationalist who trafficked in antisemitic tropes in last year’s race for Pennsylvania governor, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2024. In an interview with Politico, published on Tuesday, Mastriano said he’s “praying” about whether to compete in a Republican primary to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

“What do you do with a movement of 2.2 million?” he said, referring to the number of votes he received in the 2022 gubernatorial election. “We’re keeping it alive.”

In his campaign last year against now-Gov. Josh Shapiro, who is Jewish, Mastriano took heat for his divisive rhetoric and association with antisemites and conspiracy theorists. But the Pennsylvania state senator, who likened Democratic gun-control proposals to Nazi policies and referred to abortion as a “barbaric holocaust,” declined to distance himself from extreme views and extremists. He welcomed support from the founder of Gab, a social media platform for far-right extremists and an echo chamber for antisemitism, and attacked Shapiro for sending his kids to a “privileged, exclusive, elite” Jewish day school.

Mastriano offended Jews in particular when he closed his campaign with a prayer from a Messianic rabbi and a woman who played a tribute to the tune of “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof.

Shapiro beat Mastriano in November by 15%, the largest margin for a non-incumbent since 1946 and the most votes in a Pennsylvania gubernatorial election. In the Politico interview, Mastriano said he believed he was going to win the race, even as polls showed him trailing, based on turnout at his campaign rallies. “I’d go to these rallies and people would say, ‘We’ve never seen this,’” he said.

Mastriano said his wife Rebecca, whom he calls “Rebbie,” will have the final word on a potential run. She received criticism during the campaign for saying that “we probably love Israel more than a lot of Jews do.”

Mastriano said it doesn’t matter that much of the attention he attracted running for governor skewed negative, because it made him a household name. “How do I beat the Casey name? ‘Mastriano’?” he told Politico with a grin. “At least they know who I am now.”

Mastriano recently hired Dan Cox, the defeated Republican nominee for governor of Maryland, who was an active user on Gab before he won the GOP primary last year, as his chief of staff. He is holding a rally titled “Walk as free people” in Franklin County on Saturday. 

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.