Gun violence matters to Pennsylvania voters, gun law reform group says as it announces $2.1 million media buy targeting Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and governor in election mid-term.
In the case of Doug Mastriano, Everytown for Gun Safety sheds light on the Republican gubernatorial candidate’s use of the alt-right social media platform Gab, known for its virulently anti-Semitic content, and its ties to the man charged with killing 11 people in Pittsburgh. Synagogue Tree of Life almost four years ago.
“The shooter posted his manifesto on Gab, a site for extremists that advocates violence, white supremacy and anti-Semitism,” the 30 second ad says.
“Doug Mastriano paid the same site thousands of dollars to recruit supporters,” he says, referring to the $5,000 campaign that Mastriano paid the company for consulting services.
The spot also references Mastriano’s comparison of gun safety laws with Nazi Germany during his 2018 congressional campaign that was reported by The Forward, a Jewish news site.
“In Pittsburgh and across the Commonwealth, Pennsylvanians vividly remember what happened four years ago when a person filled with anti-Semitic hatred got his hands on a gun,” John said. Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
“The fact that Doug Mastriano is seeking support from the same online forum where the Tree of Life shooter posted his screed tells Pennsylvanians everything they need to know about Mastriano’s extreme and dangerous agenda,” Feinblatt said.
Every city too posted an ad criticism of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz for positions he says would make it easier for domestic aggressors to obtain guns and for opposing universal background checks for drug purchases fire arms.
Everytown accompanied its statement with a poll showing the power of gun safety among Pennsylvania voters. Among registered voters, 86% stated a candidate’s position on gun violence prevention issues in their choice of candidates.
Similar percentages said they supported red flag laws to remove access to guns for people at risk of harming themselves or others and supported the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first major federal law. gun safety for decades. And 95% said they believe a background check should be done with every firearm purchase.
Mastriano’s payment to Gab and a subsequent campaign contribution from Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba were the subject of harsh reprimandsand calls for Mastriano to renounce his affiliation with the site by Jewish groups and LGBTQ, black and Hispanic leaders.
Mastriano’s profile is no longer on the site. And he released a statement distancing himself from the site’s bigoted content and saying that Torba is not speaking for his campaign.
Coming around two weeks before the fourth anniversary of the October 27 Tree of Life shooting, the ad isn’t the first to use Mastriano’s decision to use Gab to woo supporters to clarify his far-right stance. for voters.
Galen Reed, co-founder of the conservative pro-democracy group, The Lincoln Project, said the Tree of Life shooting, the worst in recent memory in Pennsylvania, resonates with voters.
The Lincoln Project spent about $250,000 last month to run a TV spot that drew a direct line between hating Gab and Mastriano, saying he paid for subscribers on the site knowing exactly who was using it.
“It’s not just Klansmen, racists and lunatics,” the ad says. “They are his base.”
The ad performed well above average with over 90% of digital viewers watching the full 30 seconds and The Lincoln Project also aired a radio version. Online, the ad targeted “soft Republicans”, Reed said.
Reed said the Lincoln Project chose to get involved in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race after evaluating which midterm elections mattered most to the future of democracy in the United States. With Mastriano’s nomination in May, following his campaign claims that he could decertify all state voting machines and the governor’s power to appoint the secretary of state, Pennsylvania topped the list, a said Reed.
“I think he’s an incredibly dangerous person on a list of incredibly dangerous people,” Reed said.