Pennsylvania Republican's security team includes an Oath Keeper and members of a 'scary' church: report
Doug Mastriano. (US Army photo)

Right-wing gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano has surrounded himself with an armed security team who count at least one member with direct ties to a militia group, and it's not clear whether they're being paid.

The Pennsylvania Republican's security detail includes several members of the LifeGate evangelical church whose leaders openly call for electing Christians who will govern based on their interpretation of biblical principles, including Elizabethtown Area School Board member James Emery, who blocked reporters from entering a Mastriano campaign event in Erie, reported Lancaster Online.

“I’ve not known state senators and House members to have security, per se, they might have aides following them,” said G. Terry Madonna, a senior fellow in residence for political affairs at Millersville University. “But this doesn't strike me as unusual given where we are as a country. (Six or seven security guards) would seem to me to be unusually large, but again, given the environment we’re in.”

But what is unusual are the associations some of these security team members bring to Mastriano's campaign, including Emery's membership in the politically active LifeGate Church, which some Republicans believe is attempting "a hostile takeover" of the local GOP.

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“It’s a little scary," said Logan Hoover, a West Donegal Township resident who lost a race for committeeman. "As a Republican I hope Republicans do well, I don’t wish them ill will, but I hope we are true to who we are as a community and not just this one single group.”

Scott Nagle, another Mastriano security guard and LifeGate member, was recently listed as regional director for the Oath Keepers militia whose co-founder, Stewart Rhodes, has been charged with seditious conspiracy for allegedly helping to plot the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Mastriano was at the U.S. Capitol that day and has denied breaching police barriers, but he has campaigned on Donald Trump's election lies and promised to help ensure his favored candidate won the next presidential election.

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