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Mastriano, gubernatorial nominee accused of trafficking in antisemitism, will not run for US Senate

Republican leaders in Pennsylvania had discouraged the far-right candidate from entering the race

Doug Mastriano, the GOP nominee for Pennsylvania governor who trafficked in antisemitism and flirted with a run for U.S. Senate in 2024, said he will not to enter the race.

“We have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate, but to continue to serve in Harrisburg,” said Mastriano, a state senator who made the announcement on Facebook Live Thursday night with his wife, Rebbie, to 624 live viewers.

Mastriano had long teased a challenge to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat. But Republican leaders in Pennsylvania had discouraged Mastriano, who lost the 2022 governor’s race to Democrat Josh Shapiro by 15 points.

Mastriano, a self-described Christian nationalist loyal to former President Donald Trump, has denied the 202o presidential election results and joined the crowd at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. According to Politico, even former President Donald Trump had privately worried that Mastriano would drag down other Republican candidates on the 2024 ballot in Pennsylvania, a swing state. Trump had backed Mastriano in the governor’s race.

During the gubernatorial campaign, Mastriano associated with antisemites and conspiracy theorists. He repeatedly drew analogies to the Holocaust that offended Jews and others, likening Democratic gun-control proposals to Nazi policies and referred to abortion as a “barbaric holocaust.” He compared his unsuccessful  2022 bid two weeks ago to Jews failed by churches that did not stand up to the Nazis.

Mastriano, 59, has also 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. He closed his gubernatorial 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.

Casey, who seeks a fourth term, could be hard to oust. An April poll from Franklin & Marshall College showed Casey leading Mastriano in a hypothetical matchup 47% to 31%. But it also showed Mastriano leading hedge fund CEO David McCormick — the other Republican widely mentioned as a challenger to Casey — by 42% to 28%.

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