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Doug Mastriano will flirt again with the QAnon crowd as another election approaches

Doug Mastriano continues to embrace the fringiest parts on the conservative movement, including the QAnon crowd, just weeks before the Nov. 8 general election for governor in Pennsylvania.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, reacts to a crowd at a Philadelphia campaign event in September.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, reacts to a crowd at a Philadelphia campaign event in September.Read moreTyger Williams / Staff Photographer

In a normal election year, candidates for statewide office might cozy up to the fringiest parts of their political party to help win the primary and then distance themselves ahead of the general election.

This is not a normal election year.

Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, is scheduled to be the final speaker Saturday evening at a two-day festival of fringe known as ReAwaken America, a multistate speaking tour for QAnon proponents, 2020 election liars, COVID vaccine doubters, and other sundry and sullied conspiracy theorists.

Sound familiar? That’s because Mastriano spoke just a few weeks before May’s primary at a similar event. That prompted plenty of headlines, which led to a very public tantrum as Mastriano hung up in the middle of a conservative podcast interview when asked about it.

Clay Clark, who serves as ringmaster for the culture-war-heavy tour, told Clout that Mastriano’s campaign asked for a spot in the lineup, which features about 70 speakers over two days at the sprawling Spooky Nook Sports complex in Lancaster County. Tickets go for $250 or $500 for VIP front-row seats. Clark expects a crowd of about 5,000.

Former U.S. Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a star to QAnon devotees, is the tour’s main attraction. Flynn, who spoke at Mastriano’s campaign kickoff in January, was fired by former President Donald Trump as national security adviser for lying to the FBI, pleaded guilty in federal court, and then was pardoned by Trump.

Flynn, who like Mastriano tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, is scheduled to speak Friday evening and again Saturday just before Mastriano.

Other speakers include Trump’s son Eric, pillow salesman Mike Lindell, and political dirty trickster Roger Stone.

Clark says his tour is not QAnon-focused, suggesting that some of the speakers are Libertarians but that does not make it a Libertarian event.

“I don’t look to QAnon for wisdom,” he said.

QAnon adherents believe that a global cabal of Democrats and elites traffic children for sex and engage in demonic activity — and that Trump planned to expose and end all that. Like actual baloney, there are many varieties of this bonkers belief system.

The Democratic nominee for governor, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, used Saturday’s event to keep casting Mastriano as “too extreme” to run Pennsylvania. Shapiro this week released a new television ad focused on Mastriano’s links to QAnon.

The ad’s kicker: “Doug Mastriano: The more we learn, the crazier it gets.”

Shapiro, campaigning in North Philly on Wednesday, told Clout, “Doug Mastriano’s direct ties to QAnon are just another example of how dangerous and extreme he is and how much he lives on the fringes.”

Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County who limits media interactions to conservative show hosts who openly support his campaign, did not respond to Clout’s hails.

Mastriano on Giuliani’s witness list

Win or lose in the Nov. 8 election, Mastriano will stay in the news, thanks to Rudy Giuliani.

The former New York mayor and attorney for Trump during the 2020 presidential election faces a Dec. 5 hearing with the District of Columbia’s Board on Professional Responsibility, which investigated his efforts in federal court in Pennsylvania to overturn that election.

Mastriano, one of 17 witnesses Giuliani named in a recent filing, is listed as ready to testify about “gathering evidence of voting irregularities and alleged illegalities” that were discussed in a hearing he held in Gettysburg three weeks after the election.

Mastriano has built baseless claims of election fraud into his current campaign but has spent far less time talking about it as the election approaches.

The board’s petition for discipline notes that Giuliani told a federal judge in Pennsylvania two weeks after the election he was there due to “widespread nationwide voter fraud,” but when the judge pressed for specifics Giuliani walked that back, saying, “This is not a fraud case.”

In legal-talk the board said that shows “no nonfrivolous basis in law” for Giuliani’s claims and that “he engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Giuliani’s license to practice law in the District of Columbia was temporarily suspended in July 2021, based on a suspension of his law license in New York a month before that.


So, Mastriano is one of those guys you’re not allowed to talk about, or like, because, like, he is absolutely beyond the pale somehow.”

— Fox News host Tucker Carlson, speaking about Mastriano, and clearly liking him, before having him on his show for about three minutes Tuesday. Mastriano has been getting plenty of Fox News love this week. Host Sean Hannity had him on for about five minutes Wednesday evening on the town hall the Fox News host held in York and Fox & Friends gave him four minutes of airtime Thursday morning.

Only Carlson suggested that Mastriano was unmentionable, which surprised Clout, since Mastriano’s name has appeared more than 160 times in The Inquirer in 2022, even though he avoids any media organization that isn’t openly cheerleading for his campaign.

But then Clout remembered what Fox News thinks about Carlson and his show and argued successfully in a federal defamation case in 2020. Don’t take him seriously, was the gist of it.

The judge agreed, writing that “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism” about the statements he makes.

Clout provides often irreverent news and analysis about people, power, and politics.