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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Trump, GOP rivals unload on Kathy Barnette as she rises in Pa. Senate major

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Kathy Barnette has gone from digital no one to digital front-runner in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate contest — and now she’s going through the warmth that comes with being on prime.

With days till the May 17 major, detractors are frantically attempting to stop her from pulling off one of many largest political upsets of the 12 months. A brilliant PAC backing one in every of her opponents launched an advert calling Barnette, who can be Pennsylvania’s first Black senator if elected, “Crazy Kathy.” Allies of her opponents are circulating outdated tweets, together with one critical of former President Donald Trump.

Trump chimed in Thursday, reiterating his assist for TV physician Mehmet Oz’s candidacy whereas trashing Barnette — an indication of how actual the menace is — however nonetheless expressing a willingness to assist her if she in the end wins.

“Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats,” the previous president mentioned in a press release. “She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted, but if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party — and I will be behind her all the way.”

Her marketing campaign didn’t reply to a request for remark Thursday concerning the intensifying assaults from different Republicans.

Barnette’s late surge — and the last-minute scramble by her opponents to squelch it — has solid one other chaotic sense of urgency over one of many nation’s prime Senate races. The seat is being vacated by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, and each the GOP and Democrats see it as a spot they’ll win.

The authentic front-runner, Sean Parnell, had Trump’s endorsement however dropped out after dropping a custody battle for his kids that made public accusations of abuse by his ex-wife. Oz and former hedge fund govt Dave McCormick rushed to fill the void and for months have saturated Pennsylvania’s airwaves.

But neither paid the low-funded Barnette a lot thoughts, permitting her to sneak into what polls present is a three-way tie for the lead. This week, she landed a serious endorsement from Club for Growth Action, a conservative group that rapidly shelled out $2 million for pro-Barnette commercials — a monetary dedication 12 occasions better than what Barnette has spent on promoting.

While the Club advertisements may give Barnette a lift forward of Tuesday’s major, Oz and McCormick additionally threat throwing their very own campaigns off message in the event that they spend the ultimate days attacking her.

“It’s getting late and at this point, her opponents can’t change tack,” mentioned Samuel Chen, a Pennsylvania Republican political strategist who has not taken sides within the major.

The finest transfer, Chen added, may be to push opposition analysis — a political tactic that finds previous statements or beforehand unvetted elements of a candidate’s life — in hopes of scoring late-breaking tales that undecided voters will see earlier than casting their ballots.

Indeed, operatives concerned within the race at the moment are calling consideration to such issues.

The “Crazy Kathy” advert, produced by an excellent PAC supporting Oz, options footage of Barnette speaking about racism, together with clips that seem to point out her discussing “systemic racism” “particularly among police officers.” The video suggests she supported Black Lives Matter. The footage seems to be edited and it is unclear whether or not she made the statements as full ideas or provided different context.

A McCormick marketing campaign official mentioned Thursday that paid advertisements attacking Barnette weren’t deliberate as of now.

On Twitter, Oz supporter Ric Grenell, who served as Trump’s performing nationwide intelligence director, has been highlighting her outdated tweets to his greater than 840,000 Twitter followers. Also on Twitter, and in emails to reporters, an worker of McCormick’s consulting agency has flagged her marketing campaign’s refusal to reply questions from two conservative media retailers that requested about her navy expertise and different elements of her previous.

Oz, in the meantime, criticized Barnette with out spending a penny throughout a Wednesday night time look on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Hannity, who has endorsed Oz and promotes him typically on the present, launched a section with the movie star doctor by exhibiting a few of Barnette’s outdated tweets and declaring her unelectable in November.



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