A major issue—maybe the major issue—in the Pennsylvania Senate race has been Republican candidate Mehmet “Dr. Oz” Oz’s history of having lived, until recently, in northern New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. As Democratic opponent John Fetterman’s social media accounts have enjoyed pointing out, this is not only not in Pennsylvania—it’s not even that near Pennsylvania.
On Friday, New Jersey political operative and blogger David Wildstein reported that Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, was himself registered to vote in the Garden/Snooki State until 2021. Come on, right?
Well, not really. While it may be true, as Wildstein writes, that Mastriano was registered in New Jersey until last year, he also registered to vote in Pennsylvania in 2012, when he moved there.
Per Wildstein’s article, Mastriano hasn’t voted in New Jersey since 2010, and his registration information shows he voted in Pennsylvania in 2020. Prior to 2012, he moved frequently as a commissioned officer of the Army, so it wouldn’t have been unusual for him to have voted absentee in the place where he grew up, which in his case is New Jersey’s Mercer County. Nor it is unusual—despite the claims of “fraud”-obsessed MAGA Republicans like, uh, Doug Mastriano—for voters not to inform election officials that they’ve moved away from a given location. A lot of Americans are registered in more than one state. (In 2017, Donald Trump said that this was “voter fraud.” It is not.)
What’s more, the municipality Mastriano is from—Hightstown—is fewer than 20 miles from the Pennsylvania border and is arguably part of “South Jersey,” which is often considered part of Philadelphia’s cultural orbit. (Your author lives in “North Jersey” in a shipping container on top of a landfill.)
In addition to highlighting once again that Donald Trump’s supporters often participate in the same banal voting practices that feature in their own conspiracy theories about stolen elections, Wildstein’s article is also worthwhile for having unearthed an apology that Mastriano’s mother, Janice, a registered Democrat who served on a local school board, made after being criticized for homophobic remarks in the year 2000:
”I wouldn’t want a known homosexual camping with my boys, because you know most of them are pedophiles too,” she said in an interview with the Trenton Times.
Later, she issued a statement apologizing “for not understanding that there are lifestyles other than my heterosexual normal one that are possibly as legitimate as my lifestyle.”
There are possibly legitimate lifestyles besides her normal one. Possibly. Janice!