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Doug Mastriano

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Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano is once again under fire for making what critics are saying were anti-Semitic comments after he attacked his Democratic rival, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, for attending private schools as a child.

Reporter Jacob Kornbluh of The Forward tweeted video of Mastriano saying at a campaign event on Wednesday: "This is something Josh Shapiro can't relate to. He grew up in a privileged neighborhood, attended one of the most privileged schools in the nation as a young man — not college, I'm talking about as a kid — sending his four kids to the same privileged, exclusive, elite school ... we talk about him having disdain for people like us. We saw that."

While Mastriano didn't mention specifically in the speech that the schools Shapiro attended are Jewish, critics say the references act as dogwhistles for Mastriano's audiences.

"Josh went to a Jewish school. This is Mastriano screaming 'Jew' at him," tweeted journalist David Sirota.

University of Chicago Divinity School scholar of Judaic studies Joel Swanson noted: "This 'privileged, exclusive, elite school' to which Josh Shapiro sent his children was a Jewish day school. We all know what Doug Mastriano means by this."

Shapiro attended two private Jewish day schools in suburban Philadelphia, and he and his family are practicing Conservative Jews, members of one of a number of branches of Judaism, following kosher dietary laws and observe other Jewish practices.

Mastriano is a Christian nationalist who has a long history of making anti-Semitic comments.

On multiple occasions, Mastriano has compared political issues in the United States to the Holocaust, the genocidal slaughter during World War II of 6 million Jews and millions of other members of social groups considered unworthy of living by the Nazi regime in Germany.

Mastriano has shared posts on social media that say abortion is "so much" worse than the Holocaust. He reacted to the firing of an actor from a television show over her own comparison of abortion to the Holocaust by posting on Feb. 11, 2021: "Mandalorian star Gina Carano is absolutely correct. The Cancel Culture mob is behaving like its [sic] 1930s Germany." In June 2020 he posted a meme comparing the preservation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as a memorial and a reminder to refusing to remove statues honoring Confederate soldiers that were erected long after the Civil War.

Mastriano has also as recently as last month falsely accused George Soros, the Jewish philanthropist whose family survived the Holocaust, of working with the Nazis during the war.

Mastriano paid thousands of dollars to recruit campaign supporters through the social media website Gab, a haven for anti-Semites and neo-Nazis, including the man who will stand trial on charges of carrying out the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

Jewish leaders have condemned Mastriano for his anti-Semitism, and Shapiro has featured those criticisms in campaign ads.

Mastriano has tried to blunt the criticism by noting that he had a man who goes by the name "Pastor Don" blow a shofar, a ram's horn trumpet used in Jewish rituals, at one of his campaign events. That in itself drew criticism from Jewish groups, who decry the appropriation of Jewish ritual and symbolism by some Christians for their own purposes.

The Pennsylvania governor's race is drawing national attention as Election Day draws nearer.

Mastriano is vying to take back the governor's mansion for Republicans from term-limited Democrat Tom Wolf in this swing state, which voted for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and President Joe Biden in 2020.

Despite the race being close at the presidential level, polling shows Shapiro with a clear lead with less than two months of campaigning left.

Shapiro has led every public poll in FiveThirtyEight's tracker, giving him an 11.3-point average lead over Mastriano.

Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race Tilt Democratic.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

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Abe Hamadeh

The Trump-backed GOP candidate for Arizona attorney general has in the past disseminated anti-Semitic tropes, called for cutting U.S. funding to Isreal, and seemingly admitted to voter fraud, the Phoenix New Times reported Tuesday.

Abraham Hamadeh, a 31-year-old first-timer in the political sphere, emerged victorious in Arizona’s crowded GOP primary after his advocacy for the Big Lie — that widespread voter fraud derailed former President Trump’s “victory” in the 2020 election — won him Trump’s “complete and total” endorsement.

Hamadeh embraced many of Trump’s baseless allegations about the 2020 election and said, were it up to him, he would not have certified Arizona's 2020 general election results. Hamadeh vowed during his campaign that he would use the attorney general's office to “prosecute crimes of the rigged 2020 election.”

“Abe Hamadeh knows what happened in the 2020 election, and will enforce voting laws so that our elections are free and fair again,” Trump said in his endorsement.

According to the Phoenix New Times, in a slate of posts starting in October 2008, Hamadeh, then a 17-year-old aspiring WWE wrestler, allegedly admitted that he illegally voted and altered his mother’s vote on her absentee ballot for then-Senator Barack Obama for President.

“Obama is getting all of this crap simply cause hes black, he has an Arab name, hes the only senator who is black in the Senate, he is successful, and he is a Harvard Law graduate, they're scared they might have a smart man in the white house,” Hamadeh wrote.

In a follow-up post, he admitted, “No, I cannot vote. I just submitted my mother’s absentee ballot, she votes who I vote for, she voted for Ron Paul, and I’m saddened that I had to vote for Barack Obama, but it was the right thing I had to do.”

“Under Arizona law, it's a felony for a person to knowingly mark a ballot "with the intent to fix an election for that person's own benefit or for that of another person" or to possess anyone’s early ballot other than your own. It's also illegal for anyone younger than 18 to cast a ballot,” the New Times noted in its report

Hamadeh also proposed radical, eugenics-like ideas for election reform: that only educated Americans who passed an intelligence test be allowed to vote, “not people who just go to a DMV and sign up to vote,” per the New Times.

“Based on Barack Obama's intelligence I casted my vote for him yesterday through absentee,” Hamadeh wrote, seemingly admitting to underage voting.

Besides calling John McCain a “radical fascist,” Hamadeh peddled anti-Semitic talking points in 2007 and advocated for the United States to stop funding Israel a year later.

"If you think Jews arent big in america (2%) how come 56% of them are CEO'S ... Jews are influential and for the most part rich," Hamadeh wrote in a post. "its good we're targetting Arabs now, next will target Jews."

Hamadeh’s campaign did not deny the substance of the New Times’ allegations but said that Hamadeh made the comments at issue in his youth, “well before their minds were even fully developed,” so it should not be an issue in 2022.

“Abe Hamadeh is the youngest statewide candidate in the country, and one of the first to be scrutinized on his digital footprint dating back to a time when he was 16 years old, the same time he thought he would grow up to become a wrestler in the WWE," said Erica Knight, a spokesperson for Hamadeh’s campaign told the New Times.

“We are entering a new era of political opposition where candidates who have lived through their adolescent years on the internet are being judged and criticized based on comments they made well before their minds were even fully developed. It is now our responsibility to be careful where we draw the line," Knight added.

When HuffPost asked the Hamadeh campaign to clarify whether its candidate actually altered his mother’s vote, the campaign deflected by referring the paper to the candidate’s Wednesday tweet.

Hamadeh’s challenger, Kris Mayes, the Democratic candidate for Arizona attorney general, slammed him for his hypocrisy, anti-Semitic views, and radical utterances.

“It’s shocking that the Republican candidate for attorney general in Arizona admitted to engaging in voter fraud, and it’s equally offensive that he made so many anti-Semitic and sexist remarks,” Mayes said on Wednesday in an interview with HuffPost. “It’s just inexcusable and disqualifying.”