“Jewish voters expect candidates to condemn anti-Semitism, whether it comes from the far left or the far right, and to shun those who embrace it,” said Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “We urge Doug Mastriano to end his association with Gab, a social network rightly viewed by American Jews as a cesspool of bigotry and anti-Semitism.”
After his campaign payment to Gab, Mastriano – who rarely speaks with mainstream media reporters – sat down for an interview with Torba and praised the site’s founder, saying: “Thank God for what you’ve done. “.
Mastriano responded to the criticism Thursday night and distanced himself from Torba, saying the Gab founder “doesn’t speak for me or my campaign.”
“I reject anti-Semitism in any form,” Mastriano said, before attacking his opponent, Josh Shapiro, and the Democrats.
“We don’t bend the knee to the 2% anymore,” Torba said, a reference to the general estimate of the Jewish population in the United States. “We’re not taking it anymore, mate. We’re taking back our culture. We’re taking back our country. We’re taking back our government. So get on with it.”
Asked about criticism of his relationship with Mastriano on Thursday, Torba told CNN, “I only speak to Christian media. Repent and call on the name of Jesus Christ.”
“The campaign paid Gab as a company for advertising during the primary. The campaign publishes on Gab, as do more than 50 other campaigns across the country. That’s the extent of the relationship,” he said. -he declares. “My words are my own. My thoughts are my own. They are not representative of Doug or Doug’s campaign.”
Representatives for Mastriano did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. And the Republican Governors Association responded with a general statement on the race that did not address Mastriano’s relationship with Gab.
At least one Republican member of the Pennsylvania State House has spoken out against Torba’s recent comments.
Torba responded Thursday by calling Stephens a “RINO” — a Republican in name only — and urging his supporters to “severely crack down” on the state legislator.
“We are dragging the Republican Party to the right and anyone who gets in our way will be left behind,” he wrote on Gab.
Democrats also criticized Mastriano for his association with Torba.
Jill Zipin, co-founder of Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania, said that while she has long worked to defeat Republicans, “it looks very different.”
“Josh isn’t running against your typical Republican. He’s running against someone who allows hate,” Zipin said. “Speaking for me and my board members, it’s scary.”
And Shapiro said this week that Gab and Mastriano’s relationship was “not normal”.
This story has been updated with additional details.