Senate candidate Josh Mandel backs ‘pizzagate’ promoter, dings anti-hate group

FILE – In this Oct. 27, 2012, file photo, Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee challenging the re-election bid of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks before a campaign rally for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)

COLUMBUS (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel has sided on social media with the right-wing personality behind the online conspiracy theory dubbed “pizzagate.”

FILE – In this June 25, 2017, file photo, Mike Cernovich, a right-wing author and attorney who has promoted a conspiracy theory about Democrats running a child-sex slavery ring from a Washington pizza restaurant’s basement, speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Mandel, seeking an election rematch against Democrat Sherrod Brown, retweeted a post Thursday by Mike Cernovich that accused the Anti-Defamation League of “inciting terrorism.”

The anti-hate league’s new report identified Cernovich as part of the “alt-lite” movement. The group says such activists reject overtly white supremacist ideology but embrace misogyny and xenophobia.

Mandel backed Cernovich and tweeted the league had become “a partisan witch-hunt group targeting people for political beliefs.” On Friday, Mandel characterized the report as a “hit list.”

The league says it is calling out people who engage in anti-Semitism and bigotry regardless of their background or party.

“Pizzagate” is an unfounded conspiracy theory that claims Democrats harbor child sex slaves at a pizza restaurant. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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