Doug Mastriano’s Biggest Donor Is Shake Shack’s Bread Machine

What does something as healthy as a potato roll have to do with the assault on American democracy? The answer is James Martin. The Pennsylvania bread machine is by far the biggest donor to the state’s far-right Republican gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano.

Martin also contributed to the campaign of Trump-endorsed Jody Hice, a Georgia congressman and Holocaust denier who this week lack in his attempt to unseat Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State who refused to “find” the 11,000 votes that would help Donald Trump overthrow the 2020 election.

Martin is the patriarch behind belonging to the family Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe and has donated more than $200,000 to dozens of Republican candidates in eight states over the past 15 years. But he seems to be only energized by Mastriano’s campaign. His $110,000 in donations to Mastriano eclipse any campaign donation he’s ever made to any other candidate, according to Open Secrets, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics. It is also more than double the amount given by any other donor to Mastriano.

Mastriano’s victory over Congressman Lou Barletta by a margin of more than 2 to 1 on May 17 has sounded the alarm among those worried about the emergence of a messianic variety of Christian nationalism which propels the rise of the far right. “The forces of darkness are hitting us very hard right now,” Mastriano told those who gathered in a church parking lot for a rally in Pennsburg earlier this month, according to a report in The Washington Post. “We are going to bring the state back to justice, this is our day, our time to take back our state and renew America’s blessings.”


“I could decertify all state machines with the stroke of a pen.”

~ Doug Mastriano, Republican gubernatorial candidate of Pennsylvania

Mastriano would have the power to thwart the democratic process in his quest to return Pennsylvania to its brand of righteousness. He is not just one of the many Republican candidates and office holders who have advanced the false claim that Trump won the 2020 election. As governor of a key battleground state, he would single position to illegitimately orchestrate Trump’s return to power in 2024 if the former president’s eventual victory hinged on votes from the Pennsylvania Electoral College. Mastriano, a former colonel and current state senator, also hinted at his intention to interfere with the 2024 election.

Unlike other states, the Governor of Pennsylvania appoints its Chief Electoral Officer. (In most states, this is an elected position.) “I can appoint the secretary of state who has delegated authority to me to make corrections to elections, voting records and everything. I could decertify all state machines with the stroke of a pen. I have already had the Secretary of State chosen,” Mastriano said on a radio program in March. Additionally, Mastriano has adopted the marginal theory that a state legislature has the power to overturn the results of a presidential election and appoint another voters list if it is not satisfied with the manner in which it is conducted.

Close family ties bind Mastriano to the Martin family

Family ties and political goals link the Mastriano family and the Martins. Mastriano’s wife, Rebecca Stewart, served as chaplain at Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, headquartered in Chambersburg, central Pennsylvania. Martin’s wife Donna, who helps run the business, provided the Mastriano campaign with an in-kind donation worth about $4,000, according to Billy Penn, a newsletter for WHYY in Philadelphia. The site also reported that his daughter, Julie Martin, the company’s social media manager, also gave Mastriano $2,000 last year. Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe Hosted a public hearing for Mastriano in 2019 at 1000 Potato Roll Lane in Chambersburg on “regulatory scrutiny, bureaucracy, and the business climate in Pennsylvania”.

Some companies contribute directly to campaigns, but in this case, the largesse of the Martin family consists of individual contributions from the owners of the company. The company’s marketing team said in a statement provided to Capital & Main, “Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe Inc. does not donate to any political candidate or party. The many people who work for Martin’s, as well as all shareholders, are all free to support and vote for whomever they choose, but as a company, we do not donate to any political candidate or organization. The Martin family could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts by Capital & Main.

Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe baked goods are distributed to restaurants and supermarkets around the world, and its potato rolls are a key ingredient in the famous Shake Shack. Shack Burger. New York-based Shake Shack used Martin’s potato rolls in its very first location, which opened in Madison Square Park in 2004, according to Eater.


Some companies contribute directly to campaigns, but in this case, the largesse of the Martin family consists of individual contributions from the owners of the company.


On a recent afternoon, some diners at a Shake Shack in Pasadena, Calif., weren’t happy to learn of the chain’s connection to Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, given the family’s enthusiasm for Mastriano. “Now my stomach hurts,” said Josh Cutler, 35, a supervisor at a plumbing and chemical company in Echo Park. He had just finished eating a hamburger with his six-year-old son. “If Shake Shack is in bed with someone like that, it’s hard to support them.”

At first, Kristin Pittman, 46, a mindfulness coach in San Marino, was a philosopher. “It’s capitalism,” she says. She had opted for a veggie burger wrapped in lettuce anyway. She had never heard of Mastriano before and regulates her consumption of politics as well as carbs. But on reflection, she said, “I probably won’t be coming back here.” She had brought her daughters, who were munching on hamburgers with buns.

Shake Shack’s corporate values ​​do not match those of the owners of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. The channel touts its equity and inclusion goals and its work to advance LGBTQ+ issues. “We never stop looking for the best products and the best companies to partner with. We put small businesses on the map and support their growth,” says an executive quoted in a 2021 Shake Shack report on its corporate responsibility efforts. Shake Shack Company assignment is summed up by the statement “Stand for Something Good”. Shake Shack did not respond to a request for comment.

Mastriano, meanwhile, took the time to complain about allowing trans athletes to compete in schools during his election night acceptance speech. He has a number of views that are far removed from public opinion. He supports a total ban on abortion, with no exceptions. He introduced a “Fetal Heartbeat Bill” in 2019, which would ban abortion before many women know they are pregnant. He too introduced legislation to make federal gun laws unenforceable in Pennsylvania.

Martin has donated to other candidates refusing elections during this election cycle. In 2022, he donated $1,000 each to Hice; Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Republican candidate for governor of Arkansas, former Trump press secretary; and Robert W. Kauffman, who was one of 90 state legislators who sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 5 asking him to delay certifying the election. Mastriano chartered buses to transport supporters to the January 6, 2021 rally, which preceded the attack on the Capitol. He denied going through the barricade, although video shows the opposite.

Martin handed over the role of president of Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe to his son last year, but he chairs the company’s board of directors and continues to have “significant influence over the direction and strategy of the company.” ‘company’, according to Food Industry News.

Sandra Mailey is a retired kindergarten teacher in Franklin County, the rural and heavily Republican community where the Martin family business is headquartered. Mailey recalls a member of the Martin family coming to help in her class several years before Trump was elected. “She was lovely. We certainly didn’t talk about politics,” says Mailey, who is now chairman of the county Democratic Party. But that was another era. “It’s a very extreme time. It really is,” she adds.


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