Trump warns GOP voters against Barnette in Pennsylvania Senate race

Former President Trump warned Pennsylvania Republican voters on Thursday to vote against Kathy Barnette in the state’s Senate primary next Tuesday, putting his muscle into an effort to quash an eleventh-hour surge by the conservative activist.

Trump, who has endorsed celebrity cardiothoracic surgeon Mehmet Oz in the race, said that “Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats” and raised questions over her biography — while indicating he’d still back her in a general if she does indeed clinch the GOP nomination.

“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,” he said. “Dr. Oz is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the Crazed, Lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania. A vote for anyone else in the Primary is a vote against Victory in the Fall!”

Trump’s statement comes as Barnette sees a surge in the polls, statistically deadlocked with Oz and former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick at the top of the pack.

That polling boost has been complemented by a slate of prominent endorsements in the primary’s home stretch, including from the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List and the anti-tax Club for Growth, each of which are investing in ad buys to boost Barnette’s name recognition.

Barnette has so far been an anemic fundraiser and was stuck in the middle of the primary field for months, though many observers say her strident conservative stances helped her take advantage of an opening as Oz and McCormick savaged each other with personal attacks.

Trump is known to take great pride in the successes of his endorsed candidates and appeared in Pennsylvania with Oz earlier this month to boost him ahead of the Tuesday primary. The former president suffered a defeat this week when his chosen candidate fell short in Nebraska’s GOP gubernatorial primary, though that is his only loss so far this cycle.

Oz won Trump’s backing in a surprise April endorsement but has been unable to put McCormick and now Barnette away, in part over lingering questions over his past stances on guns, abortion and more.

Barnette, meanwhile, has been able to keep her campaign alive by running as an ideological purist despite not getting Trump’s backing and being outspent by several magnitudes by Oz and McCormick.

“Our values never, never shifted to President Trump’s values,” she said at an April debate. “It was President Trump who shifted and aligned with our values.”

Barnette’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. The primary will be held on Tuesday.

Tags 2022 2022 elections 2022 midterm elections Dave McCormick Dave McCormick Donald Trump Election 2022 Kathy Barnette Kathy Barnette Mehmet Oz Mehmet Oz Mehmet Oz Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Senate race
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