Pennslyvania’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate race has gotten notice from pundits around the country, but the final decision will be up to voters in places like the Delaware Valley.
The Senate race in particular has gained national attention because the body is now divided 50/50 for each party, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie votes for Democrats.
In the Republican Senate race, which for months appeared to be a duel between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick, a hedge fund CEO, a third candidate broke through into striking distance of winning: Kathy Barnette, an author and conservative commentator.
The Emerson College poll released over the weekend, showed Oz at 28 percent support, followed by Barnette with 24 percent, and McCormick with 21 percent. However, 15 percent were undecided. Those voters were asked who they are leaning towards. With their support allocated, Oz jumped to 32 percent, followed by Barnette with 27 percent and McCormick with 26 percent. Since last month’s Pennsylvania GOP poll, Oz gained 10 points, Barnette has gained 12 points and McCormick has lost two points.
Jim Geraghty, senior political correspondent for the National Review told the Delaware Valley Journal podcast that it may have been Trump’s endorsement of Oz that opened the door for Barnette to surge.
“A lot of Trump fans are like ‘Er, no,’” said Geraghty. The “Mehmet Oz endorsement is a bridge too far for Trump’s base…The Trump endorsement clearly has a limit to it.”
However, now that Barnette is gaining traction, she’s also become a target. Oz and McCormick have been duking it out with attack ads on the airwaves for months.
“The knives are out,” she told Delaware Valley Journal in a recent interview. “They are scared and mad.” Oz and McCormick have spent many millions more on their campaigns than her paltry $1.7 million. Although she recently attracted a deep-pocketed PAC, the Club for Growth, that is also running ads on her behalf.
Meanwhile, the other candidates are also campaigning nonstop across the state.
“Dr. Oz is in a position to win because he’s the only conservative outsider in this race,” said Casey Contres, campaign manager. “President Trump endorsed Dr. Oz because he knows that Pennsylvanians want someone that will fight back at the woke mob and put forth solutions that will get the government out of their way.”
McCormick said, “I’m a battle-tested conservative, Army veteran, successful businessman, and Pennsylvania job creator who knows what it takes to revive our economy, restore our conservative values, secure our border, and solve the problems facing Pennsylvanians.”
He called his opponents “unqualified and concerning.”
Others running on the Republican side include Montgomery County developer Jeff Bartos, former ambassador Carla Sands, and Sean Gale and George Bochetto, both lawyers—all poll at single digits.
The Democrat candidates have also seen some drama also in recent days, but for a different reason. Frontrunner Lt. Gov. John Fetterman suffered a stroke but he is expected to be recover. Also, running for Senate are Congressman Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.