As the Commonwealth waits with bated breath for state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s announcement about his future, one looks at Wednesday’s misfire by Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis and Twitter and asks one question.
Why is Mastriano using another social media channel for his announcement?
Mastriano is expected to declare his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, competing for the Republican nomination against three-term incumbent Sen. Robert Casey Jr. The Franklin County state senator is using one of his favorite tools to make his announcement, which is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET – Facebook Live.
During his unsuccessful run for the Pennsylvania governor’s mansion in 2022, Mastriano eschewed traditional media outlets such as newspapers and TV in favor of alternative methods to get his message to his audience. He regularly utilized what could be termed as more friendly outlets, speaking to audiences through Steve Bannon’s War Room or to others on Rumble.
With over 121,000 followers on his Fighting For Freedom page, Mastriano has chosen to communicate with them the Facebook Live function. And this is not a relatively new thing either. He has been posting videos on the site for more than five years.
Mastriano kicked off his campaign for the GOP nomination for governor in 2022 at a rally in Gettysburg, but has opted for a more familiar ground in 2023.
His announcement comes on the heels of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ highly-touted presidential campaign kickoff on Twitter Spaces, a kickoff that saw Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s social media audio channel fail at an inopportune time.
The announcement via Twitter was seen as an opportunity for DeSantis to announce on friendly grounds, avoid questions from”unfriendly” media, and tweak the nose of former conservative favorite outlet Fox News.
Mastriano may be taking a page from the same playbook.
Political consultant and former Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Charlie Gerow was skeptical about the use of Facebook to kickoff a campaign. “I don’t know why he would use an untrusted channel to start his campaign. It will be difficult for him to make a case for how he will beat Casey.”
Pollster Berwood Yost said that he felt Mastriano’s previous use of the platform meant that he felt it was well-tested and would not lead to problems.
Mastriano would be the first Republican to toss his hat in the ring against Casey. Dave McCormick, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP senatorial nod in 2022 to Mehmet Oz, is also rumored to be mulling another run for the seat.