The videos were something of a virtual jaunt with Doug Mastriano as he crisscrossed Pennsylvania in the gubernatorial race, regaling viewers with his far-right musings on climate change, abortion and criticism within his own left.

During a Facebook Live broadcast in April, Mr. Mastriano, a Republican state senator, called climate change “pop science.”

In a separate video on his social media from a radio interview, three days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June dismissed the issue of abortion rights as a distraction. And in trying to explain in April why some Republicans wouldn’t support him, Mr Mastriano, a retired army colonel, blamed it on their “contempt for veterans”.

But now that Mr. Mastriano is the GOP nominee for governor, having been helped by former President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement in the primary, he is moving on to the general election — and those videos are gone.

The removal of the videos from his campaign’s Facebook page was reported earlier on Monday by The Philadelphia Investigatorwhich listed 14 videos featuring Mr. Mastriano, one of Pennsylvania’s leading election deniers, who had been missing since April.

It was not the first time Mr Mastriano had come under scrutiny for what critics say was an effort to tone down his social media profile. Last year, the group Media Matters for America reported that Mr. Mastriano had deleted more than 50 tweets promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory after Media Matters, a journalism watchdog, highlighted its role in an illegitimate election audit in Pennsylvania.

But the video footage that once resided on Mr. Mastriano’s campaign Facebook page has not entirely disappeared. The New York Times on Monday obtained the clips from American Bridge, a liberal opposition research group that archived them.

A campaign spokesperson for Mr. Mastriano denied in a statement on Monday that he had cleaned up his social media accounts of the videos.

“The biased mainstream media is trying to fabricate a scandal, but they haven’t done their homework,” said the spokesperson, who declined to give his name but was responding from a campaign email address. . “The videos in question were automatically deleted by Facebook after 30 days due to a default Facebook setting.”

One of the videos that disappeared was less than 30 days old and was recorded on June 27. And a review of Mr. Mastriano’s Facebook page on Monday showed dozens of Facebook Live videos older than 30 days. The campaign did not respond to a follow-up question about why these videos were still appearing.

At the end of each Facebook Live broadcast, an automatic prompt asks account holders if they want their video deleted after 30 days or remain on their page, according to the social media company.

Critics on Monday accused Mr Mastriano of trying to distance himself from his extreme views, which they say could alienate voters beyond his far-right political base in the general election against Josh Shapiro, the candidate Democrat as Governor and Attorney General of Pennsylvania.

“Doug Mastriano spends every day peddling conspiracy theories and reminding voters that his top priority is to ban abortion without exception,” said Shapiro campaign spokesman Manuel Bonder. “No click of the delete button can change the fact that Mastriano is the most extreme and dangerous candidate in Pennsylvania history.”

David Turner, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, said on Monday that Mr Mastriano “cannot suppress his extreme positions”.

“He’s utterly out of touch with most Pennsylvanians, calling for a ban on abortions, peddling nonsensical election conspiracy theories and denying climate change,” Turner said.

The Republican Governors Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

On the April 6 Facebook Live show, Mastriano slammed Governor Tom Wolf, a term Democrat, for striking a multi-state regional pact in Pennsylvania to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the sector. electricity which, according to Mr. Mastriano, could cost the state billions.

“Why?” Mr. Mastriano asked rhetorically in the video, attacking Democrats. “For pop science. Let’s talk about climate change. So they are obsessed with this theory. It’s a theory. It is not a fact. Heck, the weatherman can’t get the weather right, you know, 24 hours a day.”

A link to a video on Mr Mastriano’s campaign Facebook page on Monday said the content was no longer available “because the owner only shared it with a small group of people, changed who can see where it was deleted”.

In a Facebook Live video from June 27, Mr. Mastriano recorded himself giving a radio interview in which he accused Democrats of trying to divert attention from the struggling economy to issues such as abortion rights and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. (He buses funded to transport supporters at the rally before the riot.)

“They want us to focus on this and now on the Roe v. Wade decision instead of dealing with life,” he said in the video, which was also no longer visible on his Facebook page.

Mr. Mastriano’s assertion that the issue of reproductive rights was a distraction echoed remarks he made three days earlier in Binghamton, NY, where he appeared with Rudolph W. Giuliani and his son, Andrew Giuliani , an unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of New York.