Politics: Florida Dem Jewish leaders call on GOP to urge DeSantis to cancel rally appearance with Mastriano in PA

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FIRST ON FOX: The Florida Democratic Party Jewish Caucus is calling on the Florida branch of the Republican Jewish Coalition to join the ranks of its national organization in calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to not campaign for Doug Mastriano as he seeks to represent the state of Pennsylvania as governor.

In a press release first obtained by Fox News Digital that is set to be released Friday, the same day DeSantis is slated to appear with Mastriano during a rally in Pittsburgh, the caucus is urging the Florida Republican Jewish Coalition to call for an end to DeSantis' campaign efforts for Mastriano, as well as "condemn Mastriano for his support and endorsement of antisemitic hate groups and their leaders such as Gab CEO, Andrew Torba."

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"If they are not willing to take this stand, they should remove Jewish from their name," the caucus said in the press release. "We expect the Florida branch of the Republican Jewish Coalition to follow the lead of their national organization – the Republican Jewish Coalition – and state: ‘Jewish voters expect candidates to condemn antisemitism, whether it comes from the far left or the far right — and to shun those who espouse it. We strongly urge Doug Mastriano to end his association with Gab, a social network rightly seen by Jewish Americans as a cesspool of bigotry and antisemitism.’"

Late last month, a report from the New York Times reported on Mastriano's ties with Gab and its founder, highlighting a state filing first covered by Media Matters that revealed the Mastriano campaign had paid Gab $5,000 for "consulting."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano. Joe Raedle, Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images © Joe Raedle, Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano. Joe Raedle, Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mastriano, a retired U.S. Army colonel who currently serves as a state senator in Pennsylvania, has faced criticism over his association with the platform from left-wing critics, most who claim the platform is a cesspool for anti-Semitic notions and hate driven towards Jews.

A report from The Jerusalem Post last month featured alleged remarks from Gab founder and chief executive Andrew Torba that made it clear that neither he nor Mastriano would give interviews to journalists who are non-Christian journalists.

"My policy is not to conduct interviews with reporters who aren't Christian or with outlets who aren't Christian and Doug has a very similar media strategy where he does not do interviews with these people," Torba allegedly said in a recent livestream responding to criticism Gab has received over its association with Mastriano. "He does not talk to these people. He does not give press access to these people. These people are dishonest. They're liars. They're a den of vipers, and they want to destroy you. My typical conversation with them when they email me is 'repent and accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior.' I take it as an opportunity to try and convert them."

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During a call with reporters on Thursday, Fred Guttenberg, a gun violence activist who lost his child in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, urged DeSantis to cancel his plans to campaign for Mastriano, referring to the Pennsylvania gubernatorial hopeful as an "antisemite."

"Here's my ask of my Governor Ron DeSantis. You are going to Pennsylvania to campaign with an antisemite. You don't have to. You have a chance to cancel that visit. You have a chance to show you will not embrace antisemitism," Guttenberg said during the call. "If you show up there tomorrow, that is a full embrace of the antisemitism. I know you, Governor DeSantis. I've worked with you on certain things, Governor DeSantis. I've met with you in person, Governor DeSantis. Do not go to Pennsylvania and do this. Be better than this, be bigger than this. This is a moment to stand up for something that is bigger than your need to secure your base."

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"It is time that the Jewish community of Florida, whether Democrat, Republican or Independent, stand together against antisemitism and call upon our political leaders to do the same," the caucus wrote in the press release.

Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania who received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, is set to face off in November against four challengers in the race to serve at the helm of Pennsylvania, including current Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

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