Trump Gives Last-Minute Endorsement to Defender of Big Lie in Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Race – Mother Jones

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Far-right Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano speaks to supporters in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Friday. Aimee Dilger/ZUMA

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donald trump is coverage your bets Your candidate in the US Senate race from Pennsylvania, celebrity physician Mehmet Oz, looks set to lose to a political nobody in Tuesday’s primary. So on Saturday, Trump backed up State Senator Doug Mastriano, the leading far-right candidate in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary.

The move appears to be a way for Trump to save face and pretend his endorsement is more powerful than it really is. Last month, Trump surprised many of his supporters when put your weight behind Oz, which really isn’t anyone’s idea of ​​a MAGA warrior. Since then, “ultra mage” Candidate Kathy Barnette has arose in the polls and has now joined another candidate, David McCormick, within the margin of error behind Oz, according to a recent Fox News Poll.

Barnette’s far-right rhetoric and story of how she overcame the adversity she faced as a black girl in rural Alabama has resounded with Trump supporters. It is an embarrassing development for Trump, who is testing the loyalty of his base by urging them to vote for a TV doctor.

In interviews with Pennsylvania Republicans, the New York Times found Oz’s deep skepticism and admiration for Barnette. To Dolores Mrozinski, 83, he told Times reporter Jennifer Medina that Barnette was “meaningless and real.” Her daughter said of Oz, “He looks like he’s had a face lift.”

Barnette is now near the top of the polls, despite having far less money and institutional backing than his competitors. His followers don’t seem to care about his history of anti-muslim and anti-gay Comments Instead, they seem inspired by her message of how she became a Senate candidate after growing up in a home without insulation or running water. The closest she came to elected office before this year was losing a 2020 House race by nearly 20 points.

In the gubernatorial race, Mastriano accumulated approximately 10 point lead over his rivals before securing Trump’s support. He was central to Trump’s efforts in Pennsylvania to nullify the 2020 election. Hello organized bus trips to Washington, DC, for the January 6 “Stop the Steal” rally and was outside the Capitol that day, though there is no evidence he entered the building and he has not been charged with breaking any laws. “There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for electoral integrity than state Sen. Doug Mastriano,” Trump said in his endorsement of Mastriano. “He has revealed the cheating, corruption and outright theft of the 2020 presidential election, and he will do something about it.”

Earlier this week, Trump’s preferred candidate in the Nebraska governor’s race, Charles Herbster, lost his primary. Herbster had impeccable Trumpian credentials, but he too was accused of sexual assault by eight women, including a Nebraska state senator. Despite the accusations made by Herbster deniedTrump traveled to Nebraska to campaign on Herbster’s behalf. Trump’s loss in the Nebraska contest came just after he played a key role in securing a victory for JD Vance in the Ohio Republican Party Senate primary.

Pennsylvania will provide another test of Trump’s influence. Fox News host Sean Hannity, a close Trump ally, has gone out of his way to stroke Barnette in the pre-primary period. Trump has said in a statement that she “can never win the general election against radical left Democrats.”

The problem for Trump is that many of his supporters are making their own decisions, including Mastriano himself, who has endorsed Barnette and been campaigning alongside her. Michael Testa, Army Veteran and Handyman interviewed for him Times, drives a minivan with “Trump Won” bumper stickers. But Testa, who has not yet decided who he will vote for in the Senate primary, said: “I’m not going to be someone who does something just because one person says so, even if that person is Trump.”

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