inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

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.”

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

Pennsylvanians React to President Biden’s State of the Union Speech

Pennsylvania candidates and elected officials sent the Delaware Valley Journal their reactions to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

As might be expected, their sentiments differed by their party.

“President Biden began his speech tonight with a good message about Ukraine,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). I hope that his actions match his rhetoric and he will impose the comprehensive sanctions against Russia that I, and my Republican colleagues, have urged. The president then went on to rehash a mostly partisan, liberal wish list, including the tax-and-spend agenda that recently failed in Congress.

“Tonight was an opportunity for the president to turn a new page towards the unity he promised our country when he first took office, but unfortunately, Americans got more of the same.”

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate David McCormick said, “Across the country and particularly in Pennsylvania, we’ve seen Joe Biden’s policies destroy our economy and increase prices for all Americans, hamstring our energy industry and return our reliance to hostile nations, flood our country with illegal immigration, drugs and human exploitation from the humanitarian crisis at the border, and catastrophically weaken America’s standing on the world stage culminating in chaos from Kabul to Kyiv and welcoming further aggression from our biggest threat – China.

“Under Joe Biden’s weak leadership, America is last. This sad reality becomes more evident by the day as Biden and the extreme left continue to gloss over the problems working American families, like in my home state of Pennsylvania, are facing while they continue to push their out-of-touch and unrealistic talking points. They are taking our nation in the wrong direction, and our world is less safe. Our country must elect leaders that will stand up to their hypocrisy and delusional agenda.

“Tonight Americans craved leadership. What they got was a reheated leftover of the same broken promises and stale rhetoric we’ve heard from the Left for decades. I’ve been fighting my whole life – from the battlefield of the Gulf War, to negotiating trade at the highest levels of government, to running two successful businesses that created hundreds of jobs. I have fought for this country and I believe in its greatness. I have what it takes to keep fighting and leading for Pennsylvania, restore the American dream for our children, and put America First once again.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican running for the Senate, said, “Tonight, Joe Biden painted a vastly different picture of his first year in office than the disaster experienced by the vast majority of Americans. Over the past year, Joe Biden’s destructive policies have contributed to record inflation and skyrocketing gas prices for working families, a drug and human trafficking crisis openly flowing across our southern border, and draconian mandates that have harmed our children, our economy, and the future prosperity of our nation.

“On top of his failure to manage critical domestic issues, Joe Biden’s incompetence on the world stage has resulted in unmitigated disasters ranging from the horrific pullout of American troops in Afghanistan to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Make no mistake, Joe Biden is responsible for the chaos we are experiencing — Joe Biden is the reason for the beleaguered state of our Union.”

Montgomery County businessman Jeff Bartos, a Republican running for the Senate said, “The president’s address to the American people tonight shows, once again, that he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Instead of confidently and honestly addressing the crises that are making everyday life harder for all Americans, the president simply regurgitated left-wing policies that have already failed the American people. Inflation is at a 40-year high, the southern border is overrun, crime is on the rise, Russia has declared war in Europe, China and Iran are emboldened, and gas prices are at an all-time high.  We need leadership, not platitudes, Unfortunately, the president chose not to unite the American people by declaring that we will harvest our abundant energy resources, unleash our economic might, and stop Russian aggression.”

Bartos continued, “This administration is more concerned with passing a progressive agenda than with solving the problems facing the American people. This November, it’s crucial that Republicans take back the House and the Senate to hold this administration accountable for its failures — starting with this Senate seat.”

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate said, “President Biden said it best himself tonight, we need to be making more things in America, and I couldn’t agree more. I will go to Washington and make sure that making stuff in America never goes out of style.”

Democrat Josh Shapiro, the attorney general who is running for governor, said on Twitter: I’ve heard it first hand — local police departments across PA are stretched thin because of historic staffing shortages.  Action is needed to ensure every community has the full public safety services they deserve. #SOTU

Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, a Republican candidate for governor said, “Under President Biden, the American people have endured a crippled economy, skyrocketing inflation, record-setting violent crime, an unprecedented crisis at the border, and a mismanaged pandemic. These issues impact every aspect of American life, but they have one thing in common – they are the result of a weak, aimless President who has proven himself incapable of defending and protecting the American people at home or abroad.

“In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf’s own reckless agenda has forced hardworking families across the Commonwealth to face crushing burdens, including job losses, shuttered businesses and schools, increased taxes and cost of living, and a sinking economy.

“That ends when I’m Governor. Pennsylvanians deserve a Governor who will put their needs first, and who will stand up for the rule of law while fighting to enact pro-business, pro-energy, and pro-family policies. It’s time for a Governor who will get the government off your back and will fight any federal attempts to intrude on our Commonwealth’s liberty, sovereignty, or constitutional rights. As Governor, I will restore conservative values to our state, end statewide mandates, and create an election system in which everyone can have faith. This is the kind of leadership that Pennsylvanians deserve and that I will provide.”

Former mayor and congressman Lou Barletta, the leading Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, said, “I’ve sat in the House chamber for State of the Union speeches before, and I have never seen a president more divorced from reality as Joe Biden. Honestly, no one needs Biden to tell them what the state of Pennsylvania is, because people are living with his disastrous policies every single day.

“Inflation is at a multi-generational high, fuel prices are through the roof, violent crime is rampant in our streets, and parents have been shut out of educational decisions concerning their children. If Biden wanted to tell the truth, he should have stood up and said, ‘They were right. I’m not up to the job.’

“The failed Biden presidency proves how important it is that we elect the right governor for Pennsylvania. Instead of allowing Russia to call the shots because of our weakness on the world stage, we need to protect our own national security by producing our own energy here at home. Pennsylvania can be a leader of the world in energy production, helping to restore us to energy independence and undercutting Vladimir Putin’s influence on the world supply.

“Josh Shapiro, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, would never stand up to Biden and would never let us tap our energy potential. He would do what the leftists demand and leave Pennsylvania falling even farther behind. When I’m governor, we will unleash our God-given energy resources, restore rights to the people, and make Pennsylvania a better place to live, learn, work, and raise a family.”

Dave White, a businessman and former Delaware County councilman who is running for governor, said, “Joe Biden’s State of the Union was so detached from reality, I doubt he has any clue what his policies are doing to American families. Inflation is hitting record highs, gas prices and crime rates are soaring, and crises of Biden’s making are popping up across the globe. Joe Biden is the worst president of my lifetime, and he clearly has no idea how to solve any of the problems our country is facing.”

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware Co.) said, “I’m leaving the Capitol this evening with a renewed sense of hope and determination. President Biden spoke directly to the American people tonight — laying out an optimistic vision for our nation, grounded in reality and sound policy choices. The president made clear that America’s best days lie ahead, and that, when we are unified behind a common cause, there is no challenge too great for America to overcome.

“Right now, we are navigating a series of unprecedented challenges. We have endured the physical and economic pain of a multi-year pandemic. Family pocketbooks are stretched with rising costs on things like energy, food, and other basic goods. And Russia has unleashed a volatile international conflict in Europe. President Biden did not avoid any of these challenges, he addressed them head-on.

“Tonight, President Biden issued a rallying cry to our fellow Americans and to the world, calling on us to stand strong as a united front against autocracy — rejecting Vladimir Putin and his unprovoked war in Ukraine. As the world responds to the horrific attacks in Ukraine, I am exceedingly grateful to have an experienced statesman-like President Biden at the helm. His ability to repair relationships with our allies and organize the international community has been crucial. Like President Biden, I believe that standing up for democracy at home and abroad is essential. So, I was pleased to see the president reiterate his commitment to advancing democratic values here in the U.S., which is more important than ever.

“The President also laid out a strategic economic vision for our country. As we turn the corner with COVID-19 and begin moving back toward a sense of normalcy, Americans are anxious about the inflation we are all experiencing. I understand that concern, and so does President Biden. That’s why he focused so much of his speech tonight on his plan to fight inflation by building a better America — one that actually works for working families. His plan to lower costs for American families while continuing a historically strong economic recovery focuses on key areas that we should all be able to agree on, regardless of political affiliation. Making more goods in America, reducing the cost of everyday expenses like child care and prescription drugs, promoting fair competition to lower corporate prices, and eliminating barriers to good-paying jobs — this is a winning plan. It’s a plan that will lower costs, not wages, which is what the American people need.

“In the midst of very heavy topics that President Biden addressed during his speech, I was thrilled to hear him highlight the importance of adults stepping up to mentor young people. Too many young people in the U.S. don’t have a meaningful connection with adults outside their homes, so it was encouraging to hear the president urge adults to serve their communities — and the next generation — by becoming mentors. An active, engaged citizenry is essential to any democracy, and mentors can play a critical role in preparing young people for this responsibility.

“At the core of President Biden’s vision for our nation’s future is his belief that the character, courage, and resilience of the American people are unmatched. He truly believes that, when given a fair shot, there is nothing his fellow Americans can’t achieve. I am inspired by the president’s faith in the American people, American values, and our American system of government because I share that faith. I look forward to working with President Biden and my colleagues in Congress to make his vision a reality.”

Republican Dave Galluch, a Newtown Square resident and former Navy explosive ordinance disposal officer, who is running for Scanlon’s seat, said, “Joe Biden closed his speech by saying ‘the State of the Union is better than it was a year ago.’ Inflation is at 40-year highs. Gas prices are soaring. Children face years of delays after prolonged school closures. Crime is climbing across the country. We have lost our energy independence. Our border is in disarray. Russia has invaded Ukraine. Our foes challenge us. Americans will tell you – we are not better off today than a year ago. We need solutions.

“What we needed to hear tonight was honesty. A speech filled with ideas to bring immediate relief to our pressing problems. Instead, President Biden delivered slogans and empty rhetoric.

“It is Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats who unleashed trillions of dollars that sent the cost of living soaring. It was Democrats who championed “Defund the Police.” It was the Biden administration that presided over the highest number of annual illegal border crossings in history. It was Democratic elected officials who shut down our schools, businesses and lives much longer than was necessary.

“In the Navy I learned that as a leader you’re either part of the solution or you’re not doing your job. None of these problems are new. Most have been fumbled, mishandled, or simply created by President Biden and out-of-touch ideologues like Mary Gay Scanlon who put partisan priorities like Build Back Better above commonsense, workable policies that would’ve delivered results. In short, they chose partisan politics and didn’t deliver.

“Ordinary American families can’t escape an unfortunate reality – their lives are harder today than they were before. The buck stops with those in charge. When I’m in Congress our pressing issues – not a party’s priorities – will come first. We will listen and deliver where others haven’t. We will be a part of the solution.”

Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) said via Twitter: “The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, like loved ones struggling with mental health and substance use disorder. Glad to hear @POTUS dedicate time in his #SOTU to both of these issues that have claimed too many lives already.

“My #SOTU virtual guest Roman Petyk: ‘President Biden deserves huge credit for rebuilding the transatlantic alliance. To have done this in one year is an amazing achievement. We must remember this.’

And “During Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of refugees need our help. Iryna Mazur, Esq., my #SOTU virtual guest, is the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Philadelphia.”

Republican Christian Nascimento, who is running for Congress in Montgomery County said, “President Biden spoke about the world’s unity in the face of the attack on Ukraine by the criminal Putin, but failed to mention that his administration had previously withheld lethal aid. Our enemies are emboldened when our policies are weak, both abroad and at home. The rest of the speech was a recycle of a liberal wish list. Build Back Better might not have been mentioned, but Democrats continue to drive misguided government overreach.  What wasn’t covered was what the American people wanted to hear – how we get out of this spiral of soaring inflation, bring the global supply chain back to the US, and truest give parents a true voice and choice in their children’s’ education.”

Chester County Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat, said before the SOTU, ““Tonight, President Biden has an opportunity to show the American people that he understands the issues impacting our community most,” said Houlahan. “It may be his first State of the Union address, but he is no stranger to the dais. Both as Vice President and then as President during last year’s historic Joint Address to Congress, Biden knows what it takes to speak beyond applause lines and deliver a vision of unity, not only for the United States but also for the world. The question is whether or not he will rise to the occasion.”

“There are reasons to be optimistic. We hit 4 percent unemployment more than a year ahead of the Federal Reserve’s projection. Our economy gained 6.6 million jobs last year – the highest number of jobs gained in a year in U.S. history. We have gained back 87 percent of the jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic. The United States was the first country in the G-7 – the seven leading advanced economies – to recover all real GDP lost during the pandemic. And we passed a generation-defining infrastructure package, just to name a few very bright spots. So, at face value, these leading indicators and legislative accomplishments demonstrate the resiliency of our economy and the ability for our government to deliver. But they don’t tell the full story. Because at the same time, Pennsylvanians are hurting. The rising cost of goods, ongoing supply chain constraints, and rising energy prices are impacting the everyday lives of workers here in our community. Last week, I listened to mushroom farmers, daycare providers, small businesses owners, and others who are worn out and feel like no one is hearing them. I hear them, and I want President Biden to make it clear he hears them too and not only empathizes with their frustrations but also understands the commitment and necessity that we must have to do everything in our power to put partisan politics aside and help them.”

“In my short time in Congress, I have come to understand the importance of nights like tonight. At a time when our nation and our world are grappling with threats against the values and freedoms we hold so dear, we need strong moral leadership to unify Pennsylvanians, the American people, and the world. I look forward to seeing that tonight,” she said.

Guy Ciarrocchi, one of several Republicans vying to replace Houlahan, said, ““The State of the Union Address is the moment when President Biden is to assure us as Americans that he understands our problems and embraces our opportunities—and, offers us a path forward.

Sadly, his address ignores real problems—like inflation and economic insecurity—and offers no thoughtful solutions. President Biden is doubling down on the policies that brought us to where we are. If he won’t recognize reality and lead, we need a Republican Congress to force a reality-check and to step into that leadership void.”

Felice Fein, vice chair of the Chester County Republicans said, “Mr. Biden’s State of the Union Address included many of the very concepts that Mr. Trump presented in previous State of the Union speeches. Democrats seem to want us to believe these are revolutionary ideas. Does Mr. Biden really think we don’t remember that the Trump administration championed reducing the cost of insulin? Do they believe we forget that the Trump administration pushed for infrastructure funding but was blocked at nearly every turn by the Democrats?  I am glad to see that this administration and Speaker Pelosi seem so enthusiastic to do more with the opioid and mental health crises. When the Trump administration discussed these topics, it was met with a lackluster response. Good ideas should be championed whether authored by a Democrat or a Republican. On that, I think everyone would agree and should work to make it a reality!

“Finally, in response to the releasing of oil reserves to combat rising oil prices around the world, Mr. Biden wants us to believe that the rising prices are solely because of Russian aggression in Ukraine. To the contrary, oil prices were increasing well before any conflict. As soon as this administration shut down U.S. pipelines, taking away our energy independence, it caused oil prices to climb and sales of Russian oil to soar. This move effectively helped to fund Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Releasing oil from the reserves that Mr. Trump filled does nothing to aid our country or the world with its long-term need for energy.”

And Charlotte Valyo, chair of the Chester County Democrats said, “onight we saw what real leadership looks like. In just over one year, President Biden has reunited the world in the name of freedom and democracy to combat the most egregious act of tyranny that we have seen since World War II. As he has done throughout his career — and in contrast to what we see on a daily basis from Republicans — the President has spent his first year putting the country ahead of party politics. He has made progress in the battle against Covid-19, passed landmark legislation to rebuild our infrastructure. put our economy on the path to a historic recovery, and brought dignity and respect back to the Oval Office. Tonight I was proud to be a Democrat, proud to have supported President Biden, and proud to be an American.”

Liz Preate Havey, chair of the Montgomery County Republicans said, “Biden gave a meandering, uninspiring speech. He had an opportunity to give a speech to reset what the majority of voters believe is an unsuccessful presidency but he chose not to do that. This speech won’t change anything for President Biden or for Americans.”

Delaware County Democratic Chair Colleen Guiney said, “During times of tremendous hardship for the people of this nation and the people of Ukraine, President Biden Is working to bring us together to fight for fairness and progress. He urged Congress to come together to solve the problems of this nation. I am hopeful that they will follow his lead.”


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

McCormick, Oz Both Bail on Monday’s Senate Debate

The two candidates polling at the front of the pack in Pennsylvania’s Republican U.S. Senate race and blanketing the airwaves with attack ads, are passing on the opportunity to face off in person. Both businessman David McCormick and celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz are skipping a much-anticipated debate Monday evening at Villanova University.

Dr. Mehmet Oz

Oz previously told organizers he could not take part in the debate due to a prior commitment. Now McCormick, a hedge fund CEO, is also a no-show.

“Dave is looking forward to debating. Hopefully, Mehmet will confirm a day and time soon,” said Jess Szymanski, a spokeswoman for McCormick.

Meanwhile, Jeff Bartos, a Montgomery County developer, responded to the decisions of McCormick and Oz to skip the debate with a jibe about their recent residencies in the commonwealth.

“Perhaps if this debate was held in Connecticut or New Jersey, Dave McCormick and Mehmet Oz would be inclined to attend and defend their records,” Bartos tweeted. “I’m looking forward to Monday’s debate, and unlike my out-of-state opponents, I will always show up for Pennsylvanians.”

While Oz now rents a house from his in-laws in Bryn Athyn, he also has a house in northern New Jersey and is an attending physician at New York  Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center. He practiced medicine while appearing on his TV show “Dr. Oz.” Oz spent his college years in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a joint MD and MBA from the Penn School of Medicine and the Wharton Business School.

McCormick had lived in Connecticut for about 12 years, where he was the CEO of Bridgewater Associates, until moving back to the Pittsburgh area. He grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Bloomsburg. He attended West Point and served as an Army paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne in Iraq during the First Gulf War, where he received the Bronze Star.

Jeff Bartos

He worked as a consultant in Pittsburgh, then at a software company, where he rose to president and CEO.

At a previous debate, also sans Oz and McCormick, Bartos quipped, “Being a lifelong Pennsylvanian is a distinguishing characteristic in this campaign for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania.”

Other candidates expected to attend the debate Monday are Kathy Barnette, a Fox News commentator and author, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Madeleine Dean in Montgomery County; Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto; and Everett Stern, an investigator. It was unclear whether Carla Sands, the former ambassador to Denmark for President Donald Trump, would attend.

The debate is expected to be streamed and televised on PNC, which will also host a debate wrap-up afterward.


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or





PA State GOP Fails to Endorse but DelVal Candidates Welcome Open Primary

The Pennsylvania Republican State Committee wrapped up its meeting in York last weekend without making any endorsements for governor or U.S. Senate. And the biggest loser from that decision may be the Delaware Valley.

Two local Republicans, Dave White in the governor’s race and Jeff Bartos for Senate, have dominated the regional straw polls thus far and were believed to be the most likely to get the state committee’s backing. Instead, with large fields in both primaries, the state party decided to sit out the primary.

Albert Eisenberg

Political consultant Albert Eisenberg with BlueStateRed, said, “The election is a long way away. In 2015 and 2016, everybody thought the Republican primary was a clown show that would kneecap the party and the Democratic coronation would mean a stronger general election showing. People who claim to know how a busy primary with no central endorsement will wind up could show a bit more humility and let the process play out.”

Does the lack of official endorsement from the state GOP present a stumbling block for a campaign’s momentum?

Bartos’ campaign manager Conor McGuiness brushed aside any concerns, citing Bartos’ wins in the regional GOP straw polls, where he secured 41 percent of the votes. He was followed by Dave McCormick at 30 percent, Kathy Barnette at 14 percent, and Dr. Mehmet Oz and Carla Sands, who each had less than 1 percent.

Jeff Bartos

“These straw polls have been the only votes cast in this election – and the results are clear: Republicans prefer an actual Pennsylvanian, an actual conservative to slick TV ads from out-of-state pretenders,” said McGuinness. “Jeff is proud to have the support of Republican state committee members by an overwhelming margin. While others try their best to campaign to D.C. insiders, we’re focused on our fellow Pennsylvanians – and we’re winning.”

Bob Salera, White’s campaign manager said, “Dave appreciates all the support he has received from members of [the] state committee, winning four out of five caucus straw polls, but from the beginning of the process he has called for an open primary as it’s his belief that voters should choose the Republican nominee. We look forward to continuing to speak to Republican primary voters about why Dave is the best candidate to take on far-left socialist Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the fall.”

And how about other Delaware Valley contenders, who also failed to get the nod that might give them a boost in the crowded May 17 primaries?

Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, who is running for the Senate said, “I was delighted by the vote at [the] state committee to keep the U.S. Senate race open, and not to endorse, even though many members assured me they would vote for my endorsement. That the voters will have a wide-open perspective on just who the best candidate is (and) what is most important. The backroom politics of yesteryear are no longer cutting it, and the voters today are way too smart to buy into that bygone process. I am happy for and support the decision by [the] state committee not to endorse.”

GOP consultant Charlie Gerow, who grew up in Warminster and is running for governor, said, “We were pleased that the state committee did not endorse. As an elected member of [the] state committee, I’ve always voted against endorsement because I believe the voters should decide.”

Similarly, Guy Ciarrocchi, who is on leave from his job as president of the Chester County Chamber of Business while he runs for governor said, “Reality told party officials what they had to do—support an open primary. In a field of a dozen candidates, any attempt to hand-select one candidate would’ve been misguided and harmful. Candidates should talk directly to voters; share their message and make their case to turn around Pennsylvania—and, beat (presumed Democratic nominee) Josh Shapiro. So, I happily return my focus to talking to real voters about ‘kitchen table’ issues—and, offering common-sense solutions.”

And Rachel Tripp, a spokeswoman for Bill McSwain, the former U.S. Attorney who is running for governor, said, “Bill looks forward to continuing to grow his momentum, impact, and support across all 67 counties and among state committee members, and respects the committee’s decision to leave the nominating process in the hands of primary voters.”

Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or


DelVal Candidates White, Bartos Rack Up Another Win at SE Caucus

DelVal businessman Dave White picked yet another regional straw poll win as candidates from southeast Pennsylvania continue to outperform in Republican Party committee events.

White, who’s running for governor, was joined in the winner’s circle by U.S. Senate primary candidate Jeff Bartos of Montgomery County in the Republican Southeast Region straw poll held Wednesday in King of Prussia. The next event will be the Republican Committee’s statewide winter meeting this weekend.

However, not all the political insiders at the Southeast straw poll decided to endorse someone. Only 37 people voted, while 42 sat it out. And, some sources believe, it’s unlikely that the statewide committee will make any endorsements.

White, a former Delaware County Councilman and pipefitter who now owns an HVAC company, won four of the five PAGOP regional caucus straw polls that released results. He aced the SE Caucus straw poll with 30 votes of the 37 votes.

Dave White addresses GOP Southeast Caucus

“I am incredibly encouraged that our message of bringing less talk and more action to Harrisburg continues to resonate with voters across Pennsylvania,” White said. “For too long, Harrisburg has ignored reducing the tax burden on hard-working families, lessening the regulatory burden on Pennsylvania businesses, securing our elections for all voters, and putting parents back in charge of their children’s education. I can feel our campaign’s momentum growing by the day, and I know we are ready to take on and defeat career politician Josh Shapiro this November.”

Bartos, a Montgomery County businessman and real estate developer, won with 34 votes among the Senate primary candidates. Bartos, who previously ran a statewide campaign for lieutenant governor, also won five regional caucus straw polls.

“It has been a pleasure to hear from Republican activists in each of the six caucuses over the last few weeks, and I am thrilled to have received such tremendous support from the ground,” said Bartos. “Republicans in our great commonwealth recognize that I am the lone lifelong Pennsylvanian in this primary, and know that I am running to serve Pennsylvania while others are running to serve themselves. I look forward to continuing to earn support from Republicans throughout the commonwealth.”

Jeff Bartos

Meanwhile, David McCormick, a hedge fund executive who hails from Bloomsburg, came in second with 27 votes, while TV celebrity Dr. Memhet Oz was third with 12 votes. Carla Sands, who served as ambassador to Denmark under President Trump received two votes, as did Fox News commentator and author Kathy Barnette and Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto.

Total votes from all the caucuses came to 122 for Bartos,  87 for McCormick, 41 for Barnette, 23 for Oz and 17 for Sands, according to the Bartos campaign.

“There is growing momentum behind Dave McCormick across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, most recently seen in his impressive performances in the state party caucuses, including his sweeping wins in the Southwest and Northwest,” said Jess Szymanski, a McCormick spokeswoman. “Dave’s been in the race less than a month, but his conservative principles, experience as a combat veteran, and track record as a tough trade negotiator and successful businessman resonate across Pennsylvania.”

And in a sign of how they view the race, McCormick’s team took a swipe at Dr. Oz — not Bartos.

“Republicans across the Commonwealth see right through Oz’s celebrity and are shifting support from candidates who have been harnessing party support for years to Dave because they know he is the candidate who can and will win this election.”

The straw polls have traditionally served a valuable function in Pennsylvania politics, a large state with significant regional differences.

GOP strategist Charlie O’Neill

“The straw polls are important for several reasons. First, it shows an organized campaign,” said Charlie O’Neill, a Republican campaign strategist. “Putting together an apparatus capable of reaching out to hundreds of State Committee members throughout the Commonwealth is no easy task. Earning the support of a State Committee member can pay huge dividends for a campaign in several areas: petitions are right around the corner, assistance with grassroots and fundraising, and most importantly, creating legitimacy for your campaign through their support. However, the prevailing sentiment at the caucus meetings is leaning toward a vote not to endorse, so a poor showing from straw poll votes means much less than in previous years.

“Having said that, the individual support of a county chairman or well-known and respected State Committee member can help your campaign cut through the clutter of 30 plus candidates on the ballot for the local electorate,” O’Neill added. “I strongly suspect State Committee members will be asked to work harder in this primary by their chosen candidates than they ever have been before.”

Meanwhile, in the governor’s contest, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain came in second with 20 votes; followed by Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman with 12; Republican strategist Charlie Gerow with seven; Chester Chamber of Commerce president Guy Ciarrocchi won five, and former Congressman Lou Barletta gained four. Cardiothoracic surgeon Ncche Zama had one vote.

“I am a limited government, free market, law and order, constitutional conservative,” McSwain told the Southeast Caucus. “As governor, I will restore freedom and the rule of law. I will ensure that every child has a quality education by implementing statewide school choice. I’ll revive our economy by cutting taxes, reducing regulations, and shrinking the size of government.”

David La Torre, a spokesman for Corman, said, “We’ve respectfully advocated for an open primary, and regional caucuses have all supported this. We believe primary election voters should elect our nominee. Some campaigns will likely be disappointed on Saturday after chasing headlines to tout straw polls. This is going to be a long process to November. Jake is well positioned to take on and defeat Josh Shapiro.”

Shapiro, the Democratic attorney general, is the only announced candidate in his party’s primary.


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

UPDATE: Bartos Wins Two GOP Caucuses Saturday, Governor’s Vote Divided

Jeff Bartos won two straw polls in northeast Pennsylvania this weekend, giving the Montgomery County businessman a perfect record in these early bellwether contests. He won the Republican State Committee’s Central Caucus a week earlier.

On Saturday, Bartos won the Northeast Central Caucus Straw poll for the Senate nomination, as well as the Northeast Caucus which took place the same day.

In the 15-person governor’s race, former Congressman Lou Barletta won the NE Caucus straw poll outright. However, in the NE Central Caucus’ straw poll, Delaware Valley businessman Dave White won. But a second vote that group took, using rank voting muddied the waters. That vote placed Barletta at the top, GOP strategist Charlie Gerow in second and White in third.

Clarice Schillinger, who led a movement to keep kids in school, won the lieutenant governor straw poll for the NE Caucus but the NE Central Caucus did not vote on lieutenant governor, instead delaying its vote until next week.

The straw polls are a process where Republican Party leaders and activists vote on their preferred candidates, among those who have thrown their hat in the ring for the 2022 races. This year the ballot will be topped by contests for governor, U.S. Senator and lieutenant governor.

“I am blown away to have received such tremendous support in the Northeast and NECRA caucuses. GOP grassroots leaders know that no other candidate knows this state, loves this state, or is as prepared to serve this state as I am,” Bartos said in a statement.

Bartos was the favorite of the Northeast Central Caucus including Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, and Schuylkill counties, as well as the Northeast Caucus for Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties’ party leaders.

Bartos also won the Central Caucus straw poll on Jan. 15, part of a Delaware Valley candidate sweep, where White also won.

“We were very happy with the results,” said Gerow, about Saturday’s second-place outcome in the ranked vote. “And continue to press our campaign with the people.”

While the caucus results are encouraging, the primary will determine whose name is on the fall ballot, he said.

White, on Facebook, thanked members of the NECRC for their support, saying, “We have the momentum to win in May and November.”

“Winning the plurality vote for the Northeast Caucus is very humbling,” said Schillinger via a text message. “I will continue to travel the Commonwealth and promise to take the concerns we ALL share to the steps of the Capitol.”

Three more caucuses are scheduled, two for Jan. Jan and one for Feb. 2.


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

DelVal Candidates Dominate Straw Poll

Delaware Valley candidates swept first place in all three contests in the first GOP straw poll of 2022, held Saturday in Camp Hill by the Republican State Committee’s Central Caucus.

Delegates picked Montgomery County businessman Jeff Bartos as their first choice to replace U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who is not seeking reelection. Dave White, a self-declared “worker guy” business owner and former Delaware County councilman, came in first for governor.

Clarice Schillinger, an Ambler resident and leader in the push to re-open Pennsylvania classrooms, received the nod for lieutenant governor.

A straw poll is a gathering of regional party leaders and activists. Five more will be held around the state before the May 17 primary. Some 104 of 114 members voted at the Central Caucus.

Kathy Barnette, of Huntington Valley, author and Fox News commentator, came in second in the Senate race, well ahead of hedge-fund millionaire David McCormick and former ambassador Carla Sands.

In the governor’s race, Bill McSwain, a West Chester native and former U.S. Attorney for southeastern Pennsylvania, came in second. Interestingly, Lou Barletta, a former congressman who has led in statewide polls, placed third.

Dave White

“I’m deeply humbled by the support we have received from the activists that move our party forward. Our campaign is building a movement driven by everyday Pennsylvanians who want a brighter future for Main Streets in every corner of the commonwealth,” said Bartos. “I’m thrilled to receive such strong support from my fellow Pennsylvanians.”

“I am honored to win this afternoon’s PAGOP Central Caucus straw poll,” said White. “Since announcing our campaign just two months ago, we have crisscrossed our great commonwealth, bringing our positive message of fighting for hardworking families to communities large and small of every corner of Pennsylvania. My commitment to the voters of Pennsylvania is that we will bring less talk and more action to Harrisburg and turn around our commonwealth that Tom Wolf has decimated.”

Three state senators who are gubernatorial candidates–Sen. President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre), Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) and Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) came in at the middle of the pack. Political insiders note they all supported Act 77, an election law that expanded mail-in ballot and state influence in elections. It is an unpopular vote among the GOP base.

Clarice Schillinger

Schillinger, the lieutenant governor poll winner, said, “I am humbled to have earned the support of Central Caucus. I understand that nothing is given and I will continue to work hard to earn the support of every Pennsylvanian.

“Together, we will take back our commonwealth and make our state an attractive place to raise a family where children receive a world-class education, businesses want to move and stay in the commonwealth because we eliminate lockdowns and mandates, and communities are safe with men and woman in blue who are supported with the resources they need,” she added.

The candidates gave their pitches to the audience taking part in the straw poll and answered questions before the vote was taken.

Two political science professors told DVJournal they do not believe straw polls carry much weight.

“While the results give the winning candidates something to talk about and fundraise on, straw polls don’t tell us much of anything about how we should expect the primaries to turn out because we don’t know how well these views reflect the views of the entire state committee, for one, and, more importantly, the Republican primary electorate,” said Berwood Yost, director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College. Yost noted that “a straw poll of conservative leaders last year had Sean Parnell and Doug Mastriano as the preferred candidates for Senate and governor, so these results need to be considered in relation to the makeup of the group that is doing the voting.”

Parnell, an author and veteran who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, dropped out of the 2022 Senate race amidst allegations by his estranged wife in a messy divorce case. And Mastriano, who only recently began his official campaign for governor, finished SSaturday’sstraw poll.

“The straw poll results are of limited importance,” said Christopher P. Borick, Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. “Some candidates work hard to do well in these polls, while others ignore them completely. Thus, they often reflect the dynamics of a particular event and have very little predictive value.” And Borick also downplayed any significance of the caucus voting not to endorse any of the candidates.

“I’m not sure what percentage of the time they endorse, but it certainly isn’t a given,” said Borick. “sometimes they pass when there is not a clear favorite. With the very crowded fields, that may be the case.”


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or

Four GOP Senate Candidates Debate in Western PA

Four Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate faced off in a debate Wednesday evening in western Pennsylvania.

Kathy Barnette, an author and Fox commentator; Jeff Bartos, a Montgomery County businessman; Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto; and Elk County deputy sheriff and business owner Martin Rosenfeld fielded questions at the event in New Castle. The seat, being vacated by incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, has been called one of the most likely to flip to the Democrats.

Candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz and Carla Sands, a former ambassador, did not attend. Oz’s spokesman said he had another commitment. And hedge fund CEO David McCormick entered the race on Thursday.

Rosenfeld said he would not support any bills that limit 2nd Amendment rights or impair the economy, including gas, coal and agriculture.

Kathy Barnette at the first GOP Senate debate

President Joe Biden spoke about “a winter of death” from COVID, but Pennsylvania ranks number four in overdose deaths and murders have spiked to record numbers in Philadelphia, Barnette said.

“Critical Race Theory is being taught in our schools, and our nation is more divided than we have ever been in our life,” Barnette said. “Our borders are open. We should be talking about economics…Our nation is in trouble and we all know it. We all know there is something fundamentally wrong with how our nation is being governed…The America that allowed a little black girl who grew up on a pig farm to climb the economic ladder–that America is fast coming to a close.”

Bartos said, “Being a lifelong Pennsylvanian is a distinguishing characteristic in this campaign for the United States Senate in Pennsylvania. And now, with the four of here, I think I can add, finding Lawrence County and showing up for you is another distinguishing characteristic…” Bartos is running because Main Street Pennsylvania is “being crushed” by record-high inflation, mandates and crime waves.

“Our number one export is our children,” he said. “It should be energy, but it is our children who are fleeing our commonwealth for better opportunities elsewhere.”

Jeff Bartos

As a child, Bochetto lived in an orphanage and “grew up fast.” He appreciates our democracy that allows people to become successful “no matter where they come from.”

Rosenfeld’s priorities would be to get people working again and impose term limits for elected officials. And he’d like to see immigrants properly vetted.

“Every state is a border state, and we have immigrants unlawfully transported into our state under cover of darkness,” said Barnette. And as for foreign affairs, “China is our number one threat. We hear Joe Biden and (Secretary of State Anthony) Blinken telling us they are just another competitor. They are not. They are our number one enemy…They just entered an unholy alliance with Russia…They smell weakness, not just in the White House but in our legislative branch as well.”

Bartos said, “We need to win this seat to hold and take back the United States Senate and make sure the filibuster survives the threat imposed right now. This seat could decide whether “disastrous legislation (Democrat-sponsored voting bills) sees the light of day…Rest assured, every Democrat running for this seat will blow up the filibuster on day one.”

He called for funding for school choice and an amendment to ensure that only American citizens are allowed to vote in U.S. elections, citing 800,000 noncitizens now being permitted to vote in New York City.

Bochetto agreed but said none of those objectives would be accomplished if something is not done about rampant crime.

George Bochetto

“We can’t worry about the filibuster with people out there who want to kill us,” he said. He said progressive district attorneys are not upholding their oaths of office. “We can’t worry about growing Main Street if millions of thugs are looting stores…The priority has to be a return of sanity to our public safety…We have to get rid of these mayors…and these liberal, left-wing, crazy policies and get back to our core values.”

Asked about draft methane regulations that will add billions to energy costs, Bochetto said we were energy independent under President Trump. Biden took office and shut down the Keystone Pipeline.

“Shutting down our ability to go for the gas that we have under our feet,” he said. “We have the richest deposits right here in Pennsylvania…The people that are here can actually make this county energy independent. Instead, we have a radical, misguided president who believes everything has to be judged by his radical climate change plans…You cannot shut down the American economy.”

Bartos said Pennsylvania is “sitting on a Saudi Arabia’s worth of natural gas.”

“All of the businesses in all 67 counties benefit from downstream production,” said Bartos. Any senator from Pennsylvania has a “critical duty” to fight for the state’s energy industry, he said.

“How many of you know that Joe Biden is not king?” Barnette asked. While “Democrats do what Democrats do,” the current elected Republicans “are allowing Joe Biden with a phone and a pen…to just make up edits as he goes.”

And people are not investing money into drilling new oil and gas wells because “Joe Biden has created a very hostile environment in the energy industry.”

Martin Rosenfeld

Rosenfeld said, “Elk County is one of the largest methane producers in Pennsylvania. We supply New York City with all of their methane gas. The fight to get those gas wells back on line, they weren’t just shut down by President Biden. They were also shut down by our governor, Wolf. And that’s where the four of us are so strong, to get Pennsylvania back online and supporting our governor candidates…The fight is against our government. It’s not against our people.”

Asked if the U.S. should participate in the Olympics in China and if China should be allowed to purchase thousands of acres of American farmland, Rosenfeld said that was not a positive development and recommended boycotts. As far as the Olympics, “we need to stand up and win.”

“China is our number one threat,” said Barnette. And China and Russia are in “an unholy union.”

“These people are not playing with us,” she said. “It is bigger than beef. It is much bigger than the Olympics. China as a superpower is not going to be so conciliatory, as benevolent as America has been.” She is concerned about shipping in the South China Sea and a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which produces 93 percent of our semiconductors.

Trump awakened the U.S. to the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, Bartos said. Jobs that were chipped from the U.S. to China are now “powering” its economy and those jobs need to be brought back to Pennsylvania.

Bochetto does not support banning our athletes from competing in the Chinese Olympics. He pointed to the example of Jesse Owens who was in the Olympics (in Berlin before World War II) when “we had another existential threat to this world.”

“And he did more good for our country and our image by being there and showing the worth of an American than by not being there…what we need is real strength on China,” he said.


Follow us on social media: Twitter: @DV_Journal or