White Christian Nationalism

Christian Nationalist Candidates Show Mixed Results In Tuesday’s Primaries

  Rob Boston

Several states held primary elections Tuesday. A number of candidates with ties to Christian nationalism were on the ballot. How did they fare? Let’s find out.

Pennsylvania: Keystone State Republicans choose state Sen. Doug Mastriano to be their candidate for governor. Mastriano is best known for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state, but he’s also closely tied to Christian nationalism. A recent profile in The New Yorker said Mastriano has “come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the [Jan.  6, 2021] insurrection.”

Mastriano joined the pro-Trump mob in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and even paid to bus people there, although he insists he wasn’t part of the crowd that stormed the Capitol. He holds a variety of unusual views. Steve Benen, blogger for Rachel Maddow, noted that Mastriano “appeared at a right-wing event last month where attendees were told, among other things, that a ‘global satanic blood cult’ would soon be exposed and that Adolf Hitler faked his death.” During the event, Mastriano was awarded a sword by QAnon conspiracy theorists.

In a race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, Trump endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz. This sparked some grumbling in far-right circles, and the American Family Association (AFA) went so far as to complain that Oz is really a liberal. The race is too close to call, with Oz locked in a tight battle with Dave McCormick, a former official during the presidency of George W. Bush and a hedge fund CEO. (AFA and other Christian nationalist groups were rooting for Kathy Barnette, a far-right candidate who finished third.)

Idaho: Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin challenged Gov. Brad Little for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. During the campaign, McGeachin stressed Chistian nationalist themes, telling a talk-radio host, “God calls us to pick up the sword and fight, and Christ will reign in the state of Idaho.” She also appeared in a video produced by a libertarian group holding a handgun in one hand and a Bible in the other.

McGeachin lost to Little by 20 points.

North Carolina: A Trump-endorsed candidate, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, easily defeated several rivals to secure the GOP nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat. But the big story out of the Tarheel State is the defeat of U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The controversial one-term congressman had become a prominent member of the House of Representatives’ “Putin caucus,” members who seem to support the Russian dictator over the people of Ukraine. During a meeting with constituents, Cawthorn, a favorite of the Religious Right despite his frequently bizarre behavior, called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “a thug” who “has been pushing woke ideologies.”

Cawthorn was endorsed by Trump, who acknowledged his odd behavior but urged voters to give him another chance. But Cawthorn’s strange claims alarmed GOP leaders in D.C., who turned against him, and he lost to Chuck Edwards, a state senator.

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