Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, speaks with attendees on the Capitol steps of a rally for gun rights on September 29, 2020 (Capital-Star photo).
When they head to the polls this fall, six in 10 American voters, including right here in Pennsylvania, will have an election-denier on their ballot, according to an analysis by the politics data website FiveThirtyEight.
In Pennsylvania, home to marquee fights for the governor’s office and U.S. Senate, 10 Republicans, including GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, and most of the Republican members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation have denied the validity of the 2020 election results that saw President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis.
Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, has spread false claims of election fraud. He was at the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He was called before the U.S. House committee investigating the insurrection, but cut his interview short. He has since sued the special panel, contesting its legitimacy and arguing that it cannot compel him to testify.
He faces Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, whose office defended the state in alleged cases of voter fraud.
Celebrity physician Mehmet Oz, the Republican contender for Pennsylvania’s nationally watched U.S. Senate race has “raised questions” about the results of the 2020 contest, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis.
Earlier this week, in an interview with Fox News, Oz, who has Trump’s endorsement, said he believes “lots more information” is needed to determine whether Trump won the 2020 election, Yahoo News reported.
Asked whether he believed the 2020 contest was stolen, Oz told Fox News that he’d been “asked that question many times.
“I’m a doctor, I’m very precise with the words I use,” Oz said, according to Yahoo News. “There’s lots more information we have to gather in order to determine that and I’d be very desirous of gathering some. I think it would improve the process in general.”
During an appearance with U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in Philadelphia Oz said that if he were in office, he would have voted to certify Biden’s win — defying Trump’s push at the time, which later led to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“I would not have objected to it,” Oz said, according to Yahoo News.
“By the time the delegates and those reports are sent to the U.S. Senate, our job was to approve it. That’s what I would have done.”
Oz faces Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November.
The list of election deniers among the ranks of Pennsylvania’s GOP congressional delegation is a roster that will be familiar to political observers.
It includes U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, the chairman of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, whose cell phone was seized by the FBI as part of the agency’s investigation into “fake electors” in the 2020 election.
Like Mastriano, Perry also has elevated Trump’s false claims of election fraud, and he joined with unsuccessful legal efforts to try to overturn election results in his home state.
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District, who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decertify Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results, also is listed as a “full denier” in the FiveThirtyEight analysis.
He’s joined by U.S. Reps. Dan Meuser, R-9th District, Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District; John Joyce, R-13th District; Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District, and Glen ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, has accepted the results “with reservations,” according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis.
GOP congressional hopefuls Aaron Bashir and Jim Bognet, respectively running in the 2nd and 8th Congressional Districts, are listed as full deniers. Christian Nascimento, who is running in the 4th District, has “accepted with reservations.”
GOP hopefuls David Galluch, Lisa Scheller, and Jeremy Shaffer, respectively running in the 5th, 7th, and 17th Districts, have declined to comment, according to FiveThirtyEight. Guy Ciarrocchi, who’s running in the 6th District, has “raised questions” about the results, according to FiveThirtyEight.
All told, of the 529 Republicans running this year, 196 candidates have fully denied the results of the 2020 contest, according to FiveThirtyEight. Those candidates either explicitly stated Trump won, or took legal action to overturn the results.
That compares to the 73 Republicans who have fully accepted the results, and the 87 who have accepted the results “with reservations,” according to FiveThirtyEight. The gulf further highlights how in thrall Republican incumbents and aspirants remain to Trump and the myth of the stolen election two years after Election Day.
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