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Republican Senate Candidates Spar at Monday Night’s Debate

The ongoing slugfest between TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick dominated the Republican Senate debate held Monday evening.

Former Ambassador Carla Sands also skirmished with conservative activist Kathy Barnette, feuding over which candidate is the most MAGA. And former Lt. Gov. candidate Jeff Bartos did his best to portray the two frontrunners, McCormick and Oz, as “political tourists,” who came to Pennsylvania to run for office.

With a 50-50 U.S. Senate in the balance, Pennsylvania’s Senate race has gained national attention.

The candidates agreed on most of the larger issues, such as all claiming to be pro-life, wanting lower taxes and fewer regulations, and vowing to unleash America’s energy dominance. Because their positions are so similar, voters may choose based on personal style and their perceived ability to defeat the Democratic nominee — likely to be Lt. Gov. John Fetterman — in November.

Oz repeatedly touted his endorsement from former President Donald Trump as he parried McCormick’s barbs, and he returned Trump’s endorsement with his loyalty. For example, while some Republicans are concerned that Trump’s obsession with re-litigating the 2020 election will hurt the party this fall, Oz doubled down. “I have discussed it with President Trump and we cannot move on” from the 2020 election issue, he said.

Bartos and Barnette both bashed McCormick and Oz as late-comers who moved to the state to run for the open Senate seat.

“When these carpetbaggers lose, you will never see them again,” said Barnette. “And if they should win, you will never see them again.” Voters “want someone who doesn’t just parachute into our state.”

McCormick said he grew up in Bloomsburg, where his family ran a Christmas tree farm that he still owns, then went to West Point and served in the Gulf War. Oz pointed to his University of Pennsylvania education and said he grew up near Kennett Square, albeit in Delaware.

Bartos said he is a “proud Pennsylvanian” who was raised in Berks County. He promised to fight for Pennsylvanians and pointed out that he started a nonprofit group to keep small businesses afloat during the COVID pandemic.

Sands, who grew up in Camp Hill and spent much of her adult life in Atlanta and California, said she spent about half her life here working as a “third-generation chiropractic doctor with my father.” She served as the ambassador to Denmark for the Trump administration and now runs an investment business founded by her late husband.

The candidates also criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the economy and promised to do better if voters sent them to Washington.

“Democrats have decided to weaponize climate change and create a war against energy,” said Barnette.

“I’m running to save Main Street Pennsylvania,” said Bartos. “The number one way to do it is to unleash Pennsylvania’s energy industry. We are sitting on two Saudi Arabia’s worth of natural gas…You cannot save Main Street Pennsylvania if you can’t find Main Street Pennsylvania.”

Sands said Pennsylvania needs an “Operation Warp Speed” for energy.

McCormick said he created 600 jobs at his company in Pittsburgh and agreed with the others that the state needs its energy jobs unleashed. He noted Oz called for a ban on fracking in an article on Oct. 13, 2014.

“Dishonest Dave is at it again,” Oz said. “I know exactly how to manage our energy issues…As a professor, scientist, and someone who understands a little about the actual energy infrastructure, there is no way the Green New Deal is going to provide us with what the Democrats promise. It’s a lie like so much about what they said about COVID.”

McCormick said Oz constantly repeats Trump’s endorsement because “he can’t run on his own record.”

“What’s true is that he’s flip-flopped on every major issue in this campaign,” said McCormick.

On Trump’s claims that he, and not Biden, actually won the 2020 election, Oz called the allegations “serious.”

“Under the cover of COVID, there’s been draconian changes to our voting laws by Democratic leadership, and they have blocked appropriate reviews of some of those decisions. We have to be serious about what happened in 2020, and we won’t be able to address that until we win the House and the Senate,” Oz said.

Bartos said, “Unfortunately, Joe Biden is the president. As a result of his lack of leadership, we have chaos in Russia, an illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, we have chaos in the Middle East, we have an ascendant Iran, an ascendant China, we have an economy in disarray, we have runaway inflation. And this is on the heels of every Democrat running. Every Democrat running this year is going to have to answer for the lockdowns, shutdowns, lives ripped apart. So the 2020 election was a catalyst for what we’re seeing now.”

Sands said documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie “2000 Mules” is about how the 2020 election was stolen and that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said it was stolen by the directed funding from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“When you take the oath to protect this country, the thing you’re protecting is the right to vote,” said McCormick. “And we have a tragedy here that most Republican voters in Pennsylvania don’t believe in the integrity of the election.”

The reasons include mail-in voting, the lack of security for ballot boxes, oversight at the precincts, and money that’s come in from Zuckerberg.

“And we have the fact that the Hunter Biden laptop story was suppressed,” said McCormick. “We’ve got to fix this. And the most important thing (is) voter I.D. We’ve got to have voter I.D.”

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Carla Sands Says She’s the ‘America First’ Candidate for U.S. Senate

Carla Sands, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, came out swinging against her opponents during a podcast interview with the Delaware Valley Journal on Thursday.

Sands, former ambassador to Denmark under President Donald Trump, responded to questions about the former president’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz by attacking the ‘America First’ bona fides of her GOP primary opponents.

Oz “chose to serve Turkey first, not America first. Even though he says it, he actually chose as an American citizen to go fight for Turkey in the Turkish military, not the American military,” Sands said, a reference to Oz performing his required military service in Turkey to maintain his dual citizenship. (Oz was born in Ohio.)

And regarding another competitor with ties to Trump, hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick, she said he had “shipped jobs out of Pennsylvania offshore. And that’s what’s devastated Pennsylvania over the last 40 years. I would say he’s closer to Beijing than he is to D.C.”

McCormick “chose to invest not in America but in China. And you don’t make a lot of money in China without the support of the Communist Party because they control the economy in their country.”

In recent polls, both Oz and McCormick currently lead Sands, a Camp Hill native.

Oz has said that if elected, he will renounce his Turkish citizenship. Oz said he has kept his dual citizenship so he can travel to Turkey more easily to visit his widowed mother, who has Alzheimer’s. His parents, who were immigrants, retired to their home country.

“Dave has always fought to keep jobs in Pennsylvania and never outsourced any jobs. At FreeMarkets, Dave was a part of creating over 600 jobs in Pittsburgh, contributing to the economic revitalization of the Steel City,” Jess Szymanski, a McCormick campaign spokesperson said in response. And Sands’ allegations regarding China are not true, she said.

Sands also claimed those two candidates would vote like “squish” Republican Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), while she would provide “America first” votes.

Asked about Trump’s recent endorsement of Oz, Sands said the former president “has not always been getting the best advice,” and that she is the one who can beat Democrat frontrunner Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who she said was a “strong candidate.”

“The Democrats love him, and they’ve become radical,” Sands said.

Asked about rising inflation, Sands noted it has hurt “working families and our seniors on fixed incomes are suffering across the commonwealth because the radical Biden administration has been passing these big, bad bills. They’re multi-trillion-dollar bills stuffed with the Green New Deal, socialist regulation, attempting to regulate our farmers, our energy sector, really, every single area of our lives. They want to set the thermostat in our homes. We have to say no. And I will stop the out-of-control spending in Washington. That’s the number one driver inflation started off as soon as (Biden) got into office with his radical policies. But the second, the kerosene on the fire of the inflation is his war, the Biden administration, and the left’s war on our domestic energy.”

Sands touted Pennsylvania’s energy resources and the need to extract the state’s natural gas and get it to market so that good-paying jobs will be available here and to stem the population drain that cost the commonwealth a congressional seat after the 2020 Census.

“I’ve called for an Operation Warp Speed for American and Pennsylvania energy that we harvest it,” said Sands. “We do it cleaner than anywhere else in the world, right here in America. And then we lay the pipes. But we’re going to need top cover from that…because we’re going have to unjam all the regulations, the bad regulations at the federal and state level. But we can do this.”

Reminded that some Delaware Valley residents have vehemently opposed new pipelines she said, “Here’s the beautiful thing about federal power. If we have an ‘America First’ president in the White House, and we have an emergency for our energy because we don’t want to import Russian, Venezuelan, or Iranian energy, which is what the radical Biden administration is literally proposing. We need to have it domestic it’s cleaner here. And it also is economic security, but national security because Putin showed us, energy’s not just a commodity, it’s a weapon. And we need this for our security and the security of our allies.”

Sands also said Trump would have won the 2020 election if not for the interference of American “oligarchs” like Mark Zuckerberg.

“I refer you to Sen. Rand Paul,” she said. The Republican senator from Kentucky said the 2020 election was stolen. “He said, we did a forensic analysis. And if Mark Zuckerberg and his family’s money that went into that nonprofit and funded how the election was held did not go into the election, Donald Trump would be president today. So the Zuck bucks stole the election.

“There were other things that went on. We know where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But Rand Paul, a sitting senator, said the election was stolen by the Zuck bucks,” said Sands.

Sands started her career in chiropractic medicine, like her father and grandfather. She married Fred Sands in 1999 and after he died, she became the first woman to serve as chair and CEO of Vintage Capital Group, her late husband’s company.

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Philly Lawyer George Bochetto Joins GOP Race for U.S. Senate

Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, who was the Pennsylvania Boxing Commissioner from 1995 to 2002, did not pull any punches against his opponents during a recent interview about his decision to enter the crowded GOP U.S. Senate primary race.

The well-known local attorney is joining a field that includes a celebrity doctor, a former ambassador, a wealthy hedge fund executive, a Montgomery County businessman, and a Fox News commentator—and that’s just on the Republican side. Another large group has also lined up seeking the Democratic nomination.

Bochetto, 69, called Dr. Mehmet Oz “an individual who has gotten rich off selling magic coffee beans to little old ladies on daytime TV.”

Bochetto is putting up $1 million of his own money to launch his campaign. He says he will have enough money to “get my message out.”

“I don’t need to raise $30 million to run a primary campaign,” he said. “And if Oz and (David) McCormick and (Carla) Sands think they can just buy the election, they ought to go talk to Mike Bloomberg.”

Bloomberg, one of the wealthiest men in America, spent millions in a failed bid to win the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.

Bochetto most recently garnered headlines for his defense in court of Philadelphia’s Christopher Columbus statue from those would like to tear it down. He said one reason he is running is to prevent the country from falling to left-wing “woke” mobs.

“I’m all for an Indigenous People’s Day but not canceling Christopher Columbus Day to do it,” said Bochetto. “Why can’t we do both? We have St. Paddy’s Day.”

“I’m running to stand up to these crazy movements that are really tearing down the values and the cultures of our country,” he said.

“The woke mob and the left are truly taking this country on a disastrous course,” said Bochetto. For example, “The murder rates are sky high. We have George Soros-backed DAs who refuse to carry out their oaths of office.”

And since President Joe Biden took office, inflation has gotten out of control.

“Inflation hurts the middle class the most,” he said. “They’re the ones who have to go to the grocery store and buy their food. They’re the ones who have to pay for their own fuel at the filling station. They’re the ones who have to do their own home repairs and pay for them. And the skyrocketing inflation hurts them the most.”

“If we can get a Republican-controlled Senate we can start passing sensible legislation as a group,” he said. “We can start rejecting all these inflationary spending policies that the Biden administration and the Democrats are currently engaged in. Their solution to how to pay for $3.5 trillion in giveaways is to just print more money. Printing more money is highly inflationary. Paying people to stay home instead of working is highly counterproductive, highly inflationary. These are policies that must be rejected,” Bochetto said.

“And we’re only going to reject them if we elect people like myself to go to Washington and take control of the situation and make sure our fundamental values and our fundamental principles of American government are implemented.”

Asked about foreign policy, Bochetto said, “China absolutely represents the greatest existential threat to the United States. And we cannot be electing anybody to the Senate from Pennsylvania who is business partner with the Chinese Communist Party,” (a swipe at McCormick, who has been CEO of Bridgewater Associates, which has investments in Chinese businesses).

Temple University Professor Robin Kolodny, who chairs the political science department, said the large field of candidates with no decisive frontrunner tends to draw more people into the fray.

“As of now, our window for candidates to file petitions to get on the ballot (2,000 signatures) opens on February 15 and closes March 8,” she said. “It is one thing to put out a press release saying you are running.  It is another thing to have all the paperwork in by March 8. Candidates who do not win a major party nomination will still be able to petition to get on the ballot for November as an independent.”

A December poll found Oz 10 points ahead of Fox News commentator Kathy Barnette, who was in second place. However, that poll, by the Trafalgar Group, showed nearly 51 percent of Republican primary voters were undecided.

Kolodny pointed out the last time Republican voters nominated a celebrity it did not end well in the general election. That was in 2006, when Ed Rendell beat Pittsburgh Steelers football legend Lynn Swan and was re-elected governor, with 60 percent of the vote to Swan’s 40 percent.

“Here’s the issue with non-political celebrities: Are those who know them also consistent voters?  It turned out not to be that way for Lynn Swann who invested heavily in advertising on ESPN,” said Kolodny.

Local lawyer and pundit Christine Flowers praised Bochetto.

“Having grown up in the Philadelphia legal community and surrounded, as a child, by legendary lawyers (including my own father Ted Flowers), I have an instinctual sense of what greatness in the profession means,” Flowers said. “To me, there are very few living Philadelphia attorneys who are worthy of the title ‘Philadelphia Lawyer’ in the tradition of Andrew Hamilton, but I have no hesitation in saying that George Bochetto is one of them.

“He took on the City of Philadelphia with its bigoted crusade to silence the Italian American community and rob us of our history, in Columbus,” said Flowers. “He took on all of those who believe that certain cultures and communities can be silenced, at a time when silencing is a popular tactic. And he has been extremely successful. George Bochetto is everything a Philadelphia lawyer should be, and once was.”


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GOP Senate Candidate Carla Sands Announces Million-Dollar Ad Buy

Carla Sands served as U.S. ambassador to Denmark under President Donald Trump. Now she wants to be Pennsylvania’s next U.S. Senator, and she tells Delaware Valley Journal she’s going up with a $1 million television and digital ad buy beginning Nov. 17 as part of her bid to become the GOP nominee.

In the ad, Sands says she is the one who can stand up to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).

Sands, who grew up in Camp Hill near Harrisburg, followed her father and grandfather in the chiropractic practice. She married businessman Fred Sands and, after he passed away, ran the business he started, becoming chair and CEO of Vintage Capital Group. Prior to becoming an ambassador, Trump appointed Sands to his Economic Advisory Council.

“As a businesswoman, I have had to go up against some formidable opponents and have shown I know how to hold my own. We need conservatives in Washington with the backbone to stand up to Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and their radical, socialist agenda,” said Sands. “I’m running for Senate to fight for Pennsylvanians – not to make friends with the swamp. Just like in business, I will take on anyone who stands in the way of my mission. Pelosi and AOC don’t intimidate me.”

In an editorial for DVJournal, Sands contends President Joe Biden is weak on foreign policy issues and that weakness makes the U.S. less safe.

“But now, as America is beset by enemies, we have a president all too eager to cave to our enemies abroad and those destroying our way of life from within. Americans across our country and our soldiers abroad are paying the price for this new leadership in Washington,” Sands wrote.

In a previous editorial, Sands took on the “one size fits all” public education system and advocated for school choice.

“For too long, our school system has operated in a manner that placates unions and is specifically inhibitive of competition. Introducing a competitive factor to how we fund education has the potential to be a major catalyst for change. As your senator, it’s my hope to work toward that change,” Sands wrote.

Incumbent Republican Pat Toomey is retiring. Other Republicans running for the Senate seat include author Sean Parnell, businessman Jeff Bartos, author Kathy Barnette, and lawyer Sean Gale —  all Montgomery County residents.

Democratic contenders include Lt. Gov.  John Fetterman, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh, Philadelphia Dr.  Kevin Baumlin, and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

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SANDS: Biden’s Weakness Endangers Us All

Throughout America’s history, we have been blessed with strong leadership when faced with severe challenges.  While America has certainly had its fair share of weak leaders – Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama to name a few – when our Nation has come face-to-face with real problems, our strongest leaders have guided us through with strength and determination.

When our Republic was in its infancy, we elected George Washington who guided us through our first founding years as a Nation. Abraham Lincoln held us together through a brutal civil war with sheer determination and grit. After a decade of economic stagnation and an aggressive communist threat, we elected Ronald Reagan, who reinvigorated our economy and defeated the Soviet Union.

All three of these leaders, along with many others, built the success of their presidencies on the strength of their leadership qualities.  During his four years in office, Donald Trump showed that same strength, fighting back against the woke media, communist China and a Democrat party controlled by socialists.

But now, as America is beset by enemies, we have a President all too eager to cave to our enemies abroad and those destroying our way of life from within.  Americans across our country and our soldiers abroad are paying the price for this new leadership in Washington.

As a member of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy team, I saw first-hand how our administration dealt with growing threats abroad. Make no mistake – the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin want nothing more than to see America weakened. That is what they are getting from a Biden Administration that continuously refuses to stand up for American interests.

There is no better example of the consequence of weak leadership than the catastrophe we saw over the summer in Afghanistan.  When President Trump left office, we had gone nearly an entire year without losing a soldier in battle.  Yet, shortly after taking office Joe Biden stubbornly ignored his generals’ advice to leave forces in place and terrorists pressed their advantage.  In just a few weeks, we went from a stable situation with no combat deaths, to thirteen dead American service members and hundreds stranded behind enemy lines, subject to the thirteenth-century brutality of the Taliban regime.

That same weakness is evident in the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure our border. While the mainstream leftist media mocked President Trump for his insistence on the need to secure our border, he stood firm and made significant progress improving our border security by making transformative deals with Mexico, building a wall, and backing our border patrol officers.

But in ten months, Biden’s administration has reversed all of that progress. Each day we see thousands of migrants storming our southern border, carrying signs thanking the Biden administration for their refusal to enforce American laws.  They know that Joe Biden has become an open-borders radical unwilling to stand up for American citizens against the trafficking of humans and drugs coming into our Nation. The Biden administration doesn’t have the resilience or fortitude to do what is necessary to secure our border. In fact, they are doing the opposite. Last week, it was even reported that the Biden administration is compensating illegal immigrants to the tune of almost half a million dollars each, taking money out of the pockets of American citizens and giving it away to those willfully breaking our laws.

Finally, Biden is incapable of preventing socialists from ruining our economy and destroying America’s way of life.  In 2020, Biden campaigned as a moderate. Yet in 2021, he’s embraced the radical positions of Bernie Sanders, pushing for spending, unlike anything America has ever seen and advocating for a Green New Deal that would eliminate hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and radically reduce Americans’ personal liberty. He has completely abdicated his duties to the American people who elected him based on his campaign promises and is allowing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders to run our government.

We are in trying times. We need strong leadership now more than ever and Joe Biden is simply not up to the task.


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