Pennsylvania GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Seems to Have Paid Off-Brand Social Network Beloved by Nazis for Followers, Endorsement

Mastriano, a stocky bald man wearing slacks and a button-down shirt, holds a microphone and speaks to an audience in a dark room bathed in a pinkish glow by a large screen behind the stage.
Doug Mastriano in Warminster, Pennsylvania on May 14. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

What’s going on with Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, the Jan. 6 and QAnon enthusiast who believes that state legislatures should be able to overrule voters in presidential elections? Here’s Media Matters:

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano said in a filing that he paid $5,000 in “campaign consulting” fees to social media platform Gab.

That’s cool. According to Slate.com, Gab is “a Twitter clone” with “a far-right user base.” The man who killed 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 was a major Gab user; a Guardian piece about the service is headlined “Data breach appears to show neo-Nazis among investors.” It was founded by a person named Andrew Torba. What kind of political issues is Andrew Torba concerned about? Let’s check with the New York Times:


The day after a mass shooting in Buffalo, where a white man was charged with killing 10 Black people after posting a racist screed online, Mr. Torba posted on Gab, “The best way to stop White genocide and White replacement, both of which are demonstrably and undeniably happening, is to get married to a White woman and have a lot of White babies.”

Great—that’s great stuff. But what is Doug Mastriano getting for the money he gave Andrew “Hitler” Torba? Over to HuffPost:

Every new account currently being created on Gab automatically follows Mastriano. HuffPost created five new accounts on Thursday. Each one automatically followed the same seven accounts: those belonging to Torba, a handful of far-right media outlets, and Mastriano.

A scroll through Mastriano’s recent followers on the site shows many of them to be anonymous accounts created this month. Moreover, an archived version of Mastriano’s page from early April, before his campaign paid Gab, shows him with only 2,300 followers. He now has nearly 37,000.

Pittsburgh NPR affiliate WESA notes that Torba also interviewed and endorsed Mastriano on Gab in the days after the payment.

How is Mastriano doing in the latest poll of his race, conducted by the Pennsylvania AARP?

Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) narrowly leads State Senator Doug Mastriano (R), 49% to 46%. 

That’s not much. It might not even be outside the margin of error!

The margin of error for the 500 statewide sample is ±4.4%

Great. Great. Great!

Ha ha, that’s great.