National context matters quite a bit here because unfortunately, this trend isn’t exclusive to Pennslyvania. As Daily Kos has covered, state Senate Republicans in Arizona have hired a company called Cyber Ninjas to conduct a “forensic” audit. The firm has been accused of using voter intimidation tactics that sound pretty darn similar to what we’re hearing reports of out of Pennsylvania.
And what are local officials in Pennsylvania saying about this little committee? Julie Wheel, the York County president commissioner, confirmed she’s received calls complaining about the alleged voter intimidation. According to the outlet, Wheeler clarified this committee has absolutely no affiliation with the county government and she has referred the incidents to law enforcement.
In the bigger picture, officials in the county are dithering on whether or not to actually spend money on the “forensic audit” Mastriano wants. Some major factors (in addition to, of course, Trump’s vehement claims being unfounded and baseless) include how much such an audit would cost the county, how to get enough staff to even complete such an audit, and, of course, if it’s even legal.
Mind you, even some fellow Republicans are stepping back from Mastriano’s conspiracy theories. On Thursday, for example, Republican Pennsylvania state Sen. Dan Laughlin spoke to Reuters and said he felt the attempts to investigate the results of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania were being done “absent credible evidence of fraud.” He added he did not believe such investigations would change the outcome of the election.
Laughlin said some of the truest words uttered by a Republican in recent years, noting, “Donald Trump lost Pennsylvania because Donald Trump received fewer votes.”
And if you’re wondering why Mastriano’s name sounds really, really familiar but you can’t quite place it, it’s probably because he’s the Trump ally who found out he tested positive for COVID-19 while literally in a meeting with the former president back in November. He had gone to the White House to talk about election results (as well as some other Republicans) and only received the positive test result after he was already in the West Wing of the White House.
Something else still nagging at you? It might be the fact that Mastriano’s campaign spent literal thousands on charter buses ahead of the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally that ended, as we all remember, in an insurrection. Mastriano himself attended the Save America rally, though he stresses he did not enter the Capitol building nor cross police lines while attending the rally. He has faced calls to resign since.
Mastriano also shares updates on his YouTube channel, like the video below, where in addition to the audit he discusses his anti-choice views.