Longshot Republican surging against Dr. Oz has leaders of both parties worried: report

Less than one week before Pennsylvania’s May 17 GOP primary, all eyes are on a Republican surging against Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate.

“Influential Republicans in Washington and among the nationwide party elite are having a belated “oh s–t” moment over the previously unimaginable prospect that Kathy Barnette could win their party’s nomination for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania,” Axios reported Wednesday. “In Barnette, who’s been soaring in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would be dealing with a general election candidate who’d be an opposition researcher’s dream — potentially endangering the GOP effort to take back the Senate.”

Dan McLaughlin also reported on the Barnette surge in the National Review.

“Trafalgar has new polls out in the Pennsylvania Republican primaries, which will be held next Tuesday. The Senate poll is not far from a three-way dead heat, with Dr. Oz at 24.5 percent, Kathy Barnette at 23.2 percent, and Dave McCormick at 21.6 percent, with 15 percent undecided and the other candidates in single digits,” he reported. “The RCP average in the Senate race has Oz 23.3, Barnette 21.0, and McCormick 20.3.”

In Pittsburg, the Post-Gazette used the headline, “Kathy Barnette’s surge in GOP polls puts her in line with Oz, McCormick 6 days out from Pa.’s primary.”

“Ms. Barnette got an additional boost this week after the anti-tax Club for Growth endorsed her on Wednesday and has begun airing TV ads on her behalf, as well as the endorsement of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List’s decision on Tuesday to back her over Mr. Oz, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump,” the newspaper reported. “Ms. Barnette’s surge was timed well with the recent Supreme Court draft opinion leak about the landmark Roe v. Wade case. During a debate last week at Grove City College, Ms. Barnette said her mother had conceived her after being raped at 11 years old. An advertisement with her mom, telling their life stories growing up Black and poor in the South on a pig farm, has also gone viral on social media in recent days.”

Barnette’s surge is drawing new scrutiny.

“Rival campaigns, along with news outlets, were scrambling this week to vet Barnette and her backstory. Top Senate operatives in both parties are so unfamiliar with her that they were at a loss about whether she’d make a strong general election candidate,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “Questions are starting to simmer about some of Barnette’s links to fringe elements on the right, her false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, and some of her past incendiary comments — including a 2017 tweet about banning Islam and a 2010 opinion piece claiming that the ‘homosexual AGENDA’ was seeking ‘domination.'”

Barnette is also backing state Senator Doug Mastriano for governor and his support for her senate bid.

“Now, Republicans are concerned about losing both races in November if primary voters embrace such out-of-the-mainstream candidates,” The New York Times reported. “Democrats harbor their own fear: that the bleak 2022 political environment could nonetheless sweep into power Republicans who, in a less hostile climate, might seem unelectable.”