October 7, 2022

How Trump’s Dr. Oz endorsement gave Kathy Barnette an unexpected opening in Pennsylvania

7 min read


For Kathy Barnett and her passionate supporters in Pennsylvania Republican Senate primaryFormer President Donald Trump made a mistake.

It is not that Barnett and his supporters still do not support the former president. They do, and many of his supporters remain Trump’s most ardent defenders. But when the former president Celebrity endorsed by Dr. Mehmet Oz. In the Republican Senate primary, it paved the way for Barnett to run further to the right, according to the “MAGA Movement” than any of his main opponents.

“As much as people support Trump, hey, he’s not God,” said Gary Smith, head of the Western Pennsylvania Constitutional Republicans in Jefferson County, who personally intends to vote for Barnett. “He made a mistake. I think that’s one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made in verifying him, because Oz is everything we are not.”

Smith added: “This is Trump’s country. A year later, all the signs are still there.… But I’ll just say, 90% of our group is probably going to vote for him.

According to Pennsylvania Republican activists and top county officials, Barnett’s campaign has been a resounding success in the final months of the primary, many thanks to the author’s and commentator’s steadfastness and power of bidding despite the Senate’s unprecedented amount of money. Are affected.

This persistence was rewarded this week when a string of Republican groups announced that they were going to support Barnett at the last minute. According to ad tracker Ad Impact, Club for Growth, a top Republican super PAC, saved about ً 2 million worth of ads from Barnett on Tuesday. And two anti-abortion organizations – Susan B. Anthony List and the super-PAC arm of the Catholic vote – announced Tuesday that they are endorsing Barnett. Both groups now plan to use their extensive nationwide networks to support the Conservative candidate.

The top two Republican Oz and former hedge fund managers in the race Dave McCormick, Self-financing his campaigns and spending millions on television commercials, Barnett has crossed the Commonwealth relatively inexplicably, holding events with a range of Republican groups, much to the chagrin of television. Less money has been spent and has won over many workers who will be voters. Tuesday’s primary.

Leah County Republican Committee Chairman Joe Vichot said of Barnett, “She’s going to these events, and she’s going to these events, not just the committee members, but the locals in Leah,” Joe Vichot said. Who recently won the County Party’s Straw Pool over its well-funded rivals.

Vicot said that although the party has a sub-seat that would vote for a Trump supporter, many are not as attached to the former president’s support as they are to anyone looking for him. The idea is to have a statue of the former president.

“It’s resonating,” he said, referring to questions about Oz’s conservative credentials. “Some people will vote for Oz because Trump says so, but it doesn’t always happen. They like what Trump has done and they like what they are fighting for.” That’s all there is to it. ”

O The new Fox poll was released on Tuesday. Oz showed a broad open primary with 22%, McCormack with 20% and Barnett with 19% – within the margin of error in the poll – and 18% of Republican voters did not decide. Barnett’s position was 10 points above where she was in Fox’s March Pool. And if Barnett could take advantage of the two top candidates’ lack of focus on each other and win an unexpected victory in Tuesday’s primary, it could be partly due to Trump’s decision to endorse Oz. Due to the shock.

“MAGA has nothing to do with President Trump,” Barnett said in a recent debate about why he did not get the former president’s approval. “Even though he coined the word, MAGA actually belongs to the people. Our values ​​have never changed with the values ​​of President Trump. It was President Trump who changed and harmonized our values.”

This is a strategy that Barnett has had for months. Smith recalled that Barnett told him back in October 2021 that his strategy was to embrace Trump and fill the gaps when top candidates barred each other from negative advertising.

“He told me, ‘I’ll just let the top three beat each other and I’m going to slip into them and win,'” Smith recalled. “And I think this girl is going to slip just like the Kentucky derby winner did right now. It’s getting close; but I think she’s going to pull it off.”

Barnett is a relative newcomer to elected politics and his book and campaign website lack details on his relationship with the Commonwealth. She ran unopposed in the Republican congressional primary in 2020, losing only 19 percent to Democrat Madeleine Dean for a congressional seat on the outskirts of Philadelphia.

In his 2020 book, “Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America,” Barnett describes how he “built a very small farm in a one-stop signtown in southern Alabama. Growing up on “flowing water and an outhouse.

In a recent discussion, Barnett – a mother of two who chose to send her children to home school – also said that when a 21-year-old man became pregnant with his 11-year-old mother, she was “the result of rape.” ۔ She said she turned the trauma into a life of her own, using it to reach out to voters who oppose abortion.

The book details Barnett’s views on conservatism, how he associates being black with being a Democrat – “I was born into the Democratic Party as I was born into brown skin. It happened, “she writes – and how Trump’s 2016 campaign and his appeal to black voters influenced his views on conservatism.

From her “poor” upbringing, Barnett’s website says she will graduate from college, serve in the Army’s arsenal for 10 years and continue to teach both work and corporate finance. It does not describe Barnett’s relationship with Pennsylvania, or when she moved to the state.

Barnett’s campaign is short of funding – spending $ 160,000 on television commercials, $ 13 million for Oz and $ 12 million for McCormick – to meet energy costs. County officials tell CNN that Barnett, by far the most responsible of the Senate candidates, often attends events in rural areas of the state and spends time with activists and voters. Barnett’s spots also focus more on issues such as price increases than they do on crushing their opponents.

“I know what matters to you and your family, because I am you,” she says. In a recent video. “Everything is there. Our ability to live is being taken away. Biden did it.”

Barnett has also tarnished the far-right positions popular with Republican activists. She proudly raises doubts about the corona virus vaccine – a sign in her Facebook photo: “Hiring UN-Vaccinated” – and says politics on both sides of the aisle. The Danes “allowed COVID-19 to violate the Constitution.”

She routinely sprinkles her stump speech with baseless allegations of electoral fraud in 2020, arguing that the Republican Party should “absolutely not” go beyond talking about the last election, and that sometimes It is argued that there were “irregularities” in its huge congressional losses.

It has endorsed state Senator Doug Mestriano’s bid to become governor. There is a mistress. One of the most vocal supporters of the Commonwealth The lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Mistriano, who is leading the Republican primary in the polls as a Republican, has retaliated by backing Barnett, and the two have been campaigning together ever since.

Even when Barnett chose not to make his main opponents the center of his campaign, he routinely accused Oz and McCormack of being fake conservatives, trying to win a Senate seat in the primary. Moved to Pennsylvania. Both leading Republicans have been accused of carpet-busting: Oz, who recently lived in New Jersey, and McCormick in Connecticut.

The strategy is clearly under their skin – especially Oz.

At a March forum, Barnett Oz stood firm on his attacks, accusing the race of being “not a talk show” and of Pennsylvania voters “needing people who understand what the issues are and who just They don’t sit in the room, they learn. Our talking points, and then come back and parrot them to us. ” He argued that Oz had spent his entire career trying to “work liberally with Opera and Michelle Obama.”

Candidates should not attack each other in view of the rules of the forum. Oz, trying to reverse the situation on Barnett, used his shutdown to ask, “You should all ask yourself, why is everyone attacking me?”

Barnett paused, “Because you are a liberal.”

This is the fighter – who is associated with many pro-Trump former presidents – who has won over many of Pennsylvania’s conservative voters with a desire to show off.

Donna Di Pew, vice president of the Republican Women’s Wyoming County Council, said “they came up with the real deal,” a group called Barnett said in late April.

Barnett’s campaign, his supporters say, has exposed a lack of basic enthusiasm for either Oz or McCormack, an issue that Trump’s misguided, I – TV was overwhelmed by the decision to return the doctor.

“He helped her. I hear very few people in this county or in the surrounding rural counties who are passionate about Oz or McCormack, none of them. They are very disappointed that the president Trump has endorsed them, “said DePau, who added that while Republicans would generally support any candidate, it could be reluctant.

This was evident when the Susquehanna County Farm Bureau recently sent invitations to all Senate candidates for a spring meeting. David de Leon, president of the Farm Bureau in northeastern Pennsylvania County, said Barnett was a Senate candidate to accept the invitation.

Barnett attended the event and spent about an hour with the group, meeting with members and speaking about his views on rural upbringing and politics.

De Leon, who plans to vote in the Democratic primary, said that when he sends a letter to each candidate, he receives a return from only one sender – the first for the Oz group.

“If you asked me two weeks ago (can Barnett win), no, no chance. Today, now is a chance, of course,” de Leon said. “All I see on television all the time is McCormick and Oz, McCormick and Oz. There’s a chance for two big-money guys to split in between and it allows anyone to hide.

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