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McCormick Concedes Republican Senate Contest to Dr. Oz

Pennsylvania, welcome to the Land of Oz.

Friday, hedge fund CEO David McCormick conceded the Republican Senate primary to Dr. Mehmet Oz. Oz, the television star and cardiothoracic surgeon who had secured the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, is the Republican nominee and will face Democrat  Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the fall.

Fewer than 1,000 votes separated Oz from McCormick and a state-mandated recount was underway. McCormick had also brought a successful court challenge to get undated ballots counted and had another one pending to have a hand recount in 12 counties.

“We spent the last 17 days making sure every Republican vote was counted,” McCormick said Friday evening. “But it’s now clear to me that with the recount largely complete, that we have a nominee. And today, I called Mehmet Oz to congratulate him on his victory.”

Dr. Oz welcomed the news.

“This evening, I received a gracious phone call from David McCormick and am tremendously grateful for his pledge of support in the fall election,” Oz said in a statement. “We share the goal of a brighter future for Pennsylvania and America. Now that our primary is over, we will make sure that this U.S. Senate seat does not fall into the hands of the radical left, led by John Fetterman. I look forward to campaigning in every corner of the Commonwealth for the next five months to earn the support of every Pennsylvanian.”

McCormick spoke to his supporters and posted the video on his Twitter feed, thanking them, his campaign team and his wife, Dina.

He promised to now lend his support to Oz’s campaign and help unite Republicans and Pennsylvanians behind his former rival.

“It’s so important that we beat John Fetterman and so important for the country that we take back the majority in the Senate in 2022,” said McCormick.

Fetterman welcomed the GOP nominee with a fundraising email mocking Oz.

“Did anyone predict that a quack celebrity TV doctor was going to run for U.S. Senate in 2022? You know, I wouldn’t believe you if you said you did. But here we are. Dr. Oz is now the *official* Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

“There are a lot of bad things about Dr. Oz. He’s a self-funded multi-millionaire. He’s a fraudster who made a fortune by lying to people on TV. He called Roe v. Wade ‘wrong’ and supports an extreme total ban on abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest. And look…I never thought this would be a flex, but <checks notes> I actually live in Pennsylvania!!!”

Ironically, Fetterman’s attack on heart surgeon Oz comes as his campaign faces criticism over the candidate hiding his potentially life-threatening heart condition from Democratic primary voters.

“It’s not hard to understand what’s going on here,” said CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza. “Fetterman was the leading Democrat for the state’s open Senate seat. He didn’t want his health to be a top-of-mind issue when voters went to cast their ballots. So, he and his campaign downplayed the severity of his health issues.”

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BREAKING: Senate Candidate McCormick Files Suit To Count Undated Ballots

Republican Senate candidate David McCormick has filed a petition in Commonwealth Court to make sure that all undated ballots received were on time are counted in counties that are, so far, refusing to count them. It’s just the latest drama in a primary season featuring nonstop negative RINO ads and one of the Democratic candidates hospitalized shortly before Election Day.

A May 20 ruling by a federal appeals court that permitted mail-in ballots in Lehigh County to be counted despite not having the required date on the exterior of the ballot opened the door for McCormick’s petition.

McCormick, a hedge fund CEO, and celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz are in a statistical tie in the Republican primary to be the party’s nominee to run against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the fall, and their contest is headed toward a recount.

“Both the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit have held that mail-in ballots should not be disqualified simply because the voters failed to handwrite a date on the exterior mailing envelope of their ballots,” said McCormick’s chief legal counsel Chuck Cooper. “Because all ballots are time-stamped by the County Boards of Elections on receipt, a voter’s handwritten date is meaningless. All timely ballots of qualified Republican voters should be counted.”

Jess Szymanski, a spokeswoman for the McCormick campaign, added, “Every Republican primary vote should be counted, including the votes of Pennsylvania’s active-duty military members who risk their lives to defend our constitutional right to vote. When every Republican vote is counted, Dave looks forward to uniting the party and defeating socialist John Fetterman in the fall.”

Previously, Oz filed a challenge to Philadelphia Republican voters’ provisional ballots being counted.

“The Board’s only basis for disenfranchising these voters is a technical error that is immaterial under both state and federal law. A plurality of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has already held that the Commonwealth’s Election Code—which “must be liberally construed so as not to deprive . . . the voters of their right to elect a candidate of their choice”—”does not require boards of elections to disqualify mail-in or absentee ballots submitted by qualified electors who signed the declaration on their ballot’s outer envelope but did not handwrite . . . [the] date, where no fraud or irregularity has been alleged,” the suit said.

“By refusing to count absentee and mail-in ballots based solely on the lack of a handwritten date in the declaration section of the exterior mailing envelope, the Boards are depriving likely thousands of voters of the right to vote that (the law) explicitly preserved,” the suit stated. “These ballots were indisputably returned on time. Whether or not a voter remembered to write a date on the mailing envelope is entirely immaterial to whether that voter’ “is qualified under State law to vote’… Just as there is no basis on this record [for the Boards] to refuse to count undated ballots.”

Meanwhile, Casey Contres, Oz’s campaign manager, responded with a tweet, saying that while McCormick had a been a “formidable opponent,” he was going to come up short and was “following the Democrats’ playbook” by filing the suit, which “could have long-term harmful consequences” to elections in Pennsylvania.

But if Oz is the nominee, he would “appreciate” McCormick’s support in defeating “extreme liberal socialist” Fetterman.

In addition to the counties, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman, who oversees elections, was also named a defendant in the suit.

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Historic GOP Primary Leaves Senate Outcome Uncertain

This may be a Pennsylvania primary for the history books—at least for Republicans.

For Democrats, their election results matched the polls, with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman handily winning the Senate nomination, and Attorney General Josh Shapiro unchallenged in the governor’s race.

For Republicans, it was a different story.

Trump-backed state Sen. Doug Mastriano won with a commanding lead in the crowded field of seven in the governor’s race. President Donald  Trump’s choice for the Senate nomination, Dr. Mehmet Oz, remained statistically tied with Dave McCormick, a hedge fund CEO as of Wednesday morning. Kathy Barnette, author and Fox News commentator, surged toward the end of the race but came up short.

“As for the Senate race, Barnette’s strong finish took a toll on Oz and helped create the extremely tight race that has not played out. If Oz does prevail it certainly will be the product of Trump’s intervention and give the former president a major victory,” said Christopher P. Borick, professor of political science and director, Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

Richard Booker, a former Radnor Township commissioner and school board member who remains active in Republican politics, said, “Twenty-two thousand mail-in ballots in Lancaster County will need to be counted – and those could benefit McCormick. Also, statewide about 8 percent of the ballots remain to be counted. It is obvious, that the complex and cumbersome paper ballot system in Pennsylvania is not a panacea to make election procedures transparent as promised.  The change to paper ballots has to be one of the worst changes implemented by the legislature this century.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa, walking to vote.

Jeff Jubelirer, a political consultant, said the GOP Senate results might not be known for a few weeks if a recount is needed.

“The news cycle will focus on the race, thus potentially helping take some of the focus off of John Fetterman’s health, which is clearly an issue that will be ‘on the ballot’ come November without a clearer understanding of the lieutenant governor’s condition.”

Fetterman suffered a stroke last Friday.

“Regardless of who emerges, the general election will be competitive and the Trump factor will weigh heavily again. Unlike with Mastriano, however, expect either Dr. Oz or McCormick to maneuver at least a little more to the center to try and capture swing voters and disenchanted Democrats who would be apt to split their ticket and go with them and Shapiro.”

Jubelirer says he also believes Fetterman’s victory shows a progressives trend among Democrats.

“They chose a more progressive path by convincingly supporting Fetterman, thus setting up what looks to be a very competitive general election matchup with whoever emerges on the GOP side,” said Jubelirer. “The fact that Fetterman overwhelmingly won despite receiving sparse support from fellow Democratic officeholders shows the electorate was not persuaded that a more moderate candidate like Connor Lamb was the right direction to go. Perhaps that is a response to what I am sure many feel right now about the direction of the country and the lack of action on meaningful Democratic issues in Congress and from the Biden administration.”

Daylin Leach, a former Democratic state senator, said, “The results of this year’s U.S. Senate primary were reflective, in a somewhat less intense way, of trends we’ve been seeing around the country for several years. Specifically, our nation is becoming increasingly ideological and tribal. As we become more politically divided, we demand more purity from our candidates and become less tolerant of deviation from the chosen line.”

“I say ‘chosen line,’ because in the case of the Republicans, it’s not really the Republican ‘party line’ that matters. It’s loyalty and fealty to one single personality. If Donald Trump is opposed to…say free trade, a GOP candidate had better be opposed to free trade, regardless of what Republicans have historically been for. The same is true with acknowledging the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential elections, which most Republican candidates were extremely reluctant to do.”

Dave and Dina McCormick walking to vote in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, “the Democratic side is not operating on a cult of personality. But Connor Lamb still struggled to gain traction because he wasn’t considered pure enough. I had numerous people tell me they couldn’t support him because he was “way too conservative”, despite the fact that he is pro-choice, supports ending the filibuster, supports Build Back Better, etc., and had a very mainstream Democratic voting record in Congress. This sort of ideological rigidity would have made it extremely difficult for a Bob Casey to be nominated if he were running for the first time today. While I personally am actually more on the left side of the Democratic Party, I do worry that our increasing polarization will lead to more governmental dysfunction going forward. And that’s the last thing we need.”

In the Republican race for governor, former Congressman Lou Barletta came in a distant second to the Mastriano juggernaut.

“Doug Mastriano’s victory wasn’t a big surprise, but even with candidates dropping out, he still failed to garner a majority of the vote,” said GOP consultant Charlie O’Neill. “He will still need to prove to 55 percent of Republicans why they should feel comfortable with him in the fall, as well as independents and moderate Democrats. Mastriano’s victory speech addressed a concern many have raised, his ability to fundraise against Josh Shapiro’s 10-plus million dollar war chest. His proclamation that money doesn’t win elections will certainly be put to the test.”

Borick said, “Mastriano offered voters a hyper-MAGA alternative that allowed him to dominate among that key group in the Republican electorate. His full-blown culture warrior status is not a natural fit in a Pennsylvania general election, but he has a cycle that is great for the GOP and if economic issues like inflation remain troubling in the fall he could ride a wave that allows him to be quite competitive with Shapiro.”

Republican strategist Craig Snyder, who briefly threw his hat in the ring for governor, said, “America’s singular and long splendid political system — most notably its ability for improving and self-correcting overtime — was born in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania primary elections may have just seen that system break.

“In the GOP gubernatorial and Democratic Senatorial contests, clowns and crazies carried the day–a ‘Christian Nationalist’ and a ‘socialist’ in Ben Franklin’s shoes. As for the Senate race, “it is perfectly clear that nearly all the voters endorsed insurrectionist lies about the 2020 presidential election.

“It all shows how a two-party system, plus closed and winner take all primary elections, plus the damnable egos of many who seek office for the wrong reasons, plus the learned disdain for politics among the great majority of our people, all add up to giving vastly disproportionate power and representation to a relative handful of the angriest among us,” he said.

Jubelirer said Mastriano’s win “sets up a difficult predicament for the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and for Republican fundraising groups (e.g. Republican Governors Association) moving forward. Do they bite their lip and fully support Mastriano despite trying to take him down in the primary? Do they stay ‘out of it,’ so to speak, thus putting all their chips in the U.S. Senate race and not potentially anger swing voters who could make the difference in that contest? Or do they go ‘all in’ and risk angering more moderate Republicans and swing voters who appear to be more inclined to generally support Republicans in 2022?

“The results of the election prove that Trump (or at least Trumpism) is still alive and well in the Pennsylvania GOP. While Trump’s endorsement came late and was negligible to the outcome, it still shows the power of his message and base. The challenge for Mastriano now is how does he expand his coalition?”

“His first opportunity was an abject failure–using his victory speech to outline far-right priorities he’d tackle on day one of his administration–priorities that I believe are not shared by the majority of Pennsylvanians,” Jubelirer added.

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Four Republicans Vie to Take on Chester County’s Houlahan

Even though it is historically hard to unseat an incumbent, four Republicans—Guy Ciarrocchi, Steve Fanelli, Regina Mauro, and Ron Vogel– are vying to oust Delaware Valley Democrat U.S. Rep. Crissy Houlahan.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is targeting Houlahan in a midterm election where the party in charge of the White House typically loses congressional seats. And as President Joe Biden’s poll numbers plunge  — he hit a new record low in the NBC News poll released on Sunday — he could pull down Democrats in other races.

“Chrissy Houlahan has consistently traded in the best interests of Pennsylvanians in order to walk lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, causing soaring inflation and skyrocketing gas prices. As Keystone State families and workers continue to pay the price for Democrats’ costly agenda, Houlahan will pay with her seat this November,” said Rachel Lee, RNC spokesperson.

In response, Houlahan has been hard at work burnishing her bipartisan credentials. She recently appeared on Fox News, alongside the area’s only Republican Congressman, Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County, to promote action on behalf of Ukraine.

Houlahan declined to respond to requests for comment, but on her website she says she “swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not a political party. My purple, pragmatic community in Chester and Berks counties is not as worried about whether there is an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ at the end of my name – they want to see me working across the aisle to deliver on the issues that are top of mind for them: inflation, health care, immigration, education, and more.”

Voters are concerned about pocketbook issues like high inflation—up 8.3 percent in April– and record-high gasoline prices.

Registered Democrats narrowly outnumber Republicans in Chester County 155,948 to 151,064, so the race could be close.

DVJournal asked all four candidates for their final pitch to GOP primary voters.

Guy Ciarrocchi

Former president and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Ciarrocchi emphasized his record.

“The issues are what we talk about at our kitchen table—soaring gas prices, inflation eating up our savings, violence in our cities and an open border–all this while the Democrats increase government’s power, quash our liberty, and make things worse,” said Ciarrocchi. “I didn’t plan to run for office; but, I’ve been preparing my whole life. A chamber president who lead the fight for small businesses and students against the mandates and lock-downs; working as a prosecutor standing with our police to fight violent crime; and, as an outspoken champion for school choice.

“The other candidates offer rhetoric and promises. I offer a record of leading and making a difference,” he added.

“I am uniquely qualified to defeat Congresswoman Houlahan—and, to be an effective member of Congress on day one, as I served as chief of staff to Congressman Jim Gerlach. I am hopeful that my neighbors will vote for me, so that I may use my lifetime of experience to fight for common-sense, conservative policies to stop the suffering and restore the promise of America,” said Ciarrocchi.

Steve Fanelli

West Chester entrepreneur Steve Fanelli’s campaign released a statement attacking his rivals:

“Steve Fanelli is the only fearless, common sense, conservative candidate who does not have the negatives and limitations of the other candidates that Chrissy Houlahan will quickly expose and easily use to her advantage to keep the 6th District seat blue.

“Steve has been involved in our community for decades, as a mentor, volunteer, and businessman. Steve gives us the only chance to beat Chrissy Houlahan in November.

“Chrissy Houlahan will quickly expose all of Guy Ciarrocchi’s flaws that would keep him from winning in November.  Incredibly, Guy announced his campaign to run for governor of Pennsylvania in 2021. After gaining little, if no, traction in the governor’s race, he abruptly quit the governor race and immediately entered the race for the 6th District on February 25, 2022, one week before the Chester County Republican Convention. This is the same Guy Ciarrocchi who was the CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce when it endorsed Houlahan for Congress over her Republican opponent. While Guy has been dabbling in Chester County politics and being photographed with Houlahan, Chester County has turned blue.

“Ron Vogel appears to be responsible for some very inappropriate social media posts. When the posts were brought to light by the Daily Local News, it got very ugly, very fast. The Chester County GOP censured him. It is posted on the RCCC Facebook page. He can’t beat Houlahan with that past.

“Regina Mauro lost the controller race in Chester County to a Democrat in the last election cycle and, based on FEC filings, has the lowest amount of fundraising capability of all the GOP candidates.  She can’t compete with Steve or Houlahan.

“If we expect to turn the 6th District red in November, vote Steve Fanelli. He is the only candidate who can beat Chrissy Houlahan and make the 6th District a great, safe place to live and work,” the statement concluded.

Businesswoman Regina Maura calls herself a “strict constitutional conservative with a backbone.”

Regina Mauro

“Pennsylvania candidates who succeed in November will determine the future of our state and our respective congressional districts. It is imperative for Republicans seeking to stop and prevent Biden and Wolf’s failed and ill-conceived policies to vote for the most competitive general election candidate on Tuesday’s primary,” Mauro said in her statement.

“As a Republican running for our 6th Congressional District seat, I don’t only possess the academic background, professional experience, and years’ worth of conservative activism to be a most effective representative, but I am the only candidate Democrats do not want Mrs. Houlahan to face in November. As a woman, a mom, an accomplished Hispanic professional, daughter of immigrants, my very existence as a proud and outspoken conservative is an inconvenient truth they do not want known. I am ready to face her, erode her support, flip the seat and go on to provoke the change our communities so desperately need,” Mauro said.

Vogel, a real estate agent, took aim at party leardership.

Ron Vogel

“Romney Republicans are rigging the primary,” Vogel said. “A couple of party bosses in Chester County have attempted to overthrow the will of the majority of the committee by removing ‘recommended’ from my name on the sample ballot. This action violates the bylaws of the party. Despite their efforts, our base and volunteers are more energized than ever, working hard seven days per week, and are ready to win this election on May 17.

“I am running because I love America. I am tired of seeing politicians make decisions that protect their career rather than the American people,” said Vogel. “I am the best candidate to beat Chrissy Houlahan because the voters want a real alternative to the status quo. I’m the one candidate who disrupts the status quo and won’t become a swamp creature. My vote will never be bought, I will always do what is right and I will always put America first,” Vogel said.

Charlotte Valyo, chair of the Chester County Democrats, said they are “confident the congresswoman will be re-elected no matter who wins the Republican primary. Being an incumbent is always an advantage, but Congresswoman Houlahan’s record of service to the 6th District and bipartisanship speak for themselves.”



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BREAKING: Trump Endorses Mastriano for PA Governor

Just four days before the primary, President Donald Trump announced his pick for Pennsylvania governor: Sen. Doug Mastriano.

Mastriano (R-Franklin) is already ahead by 10 points in the latest Trafalgar Group poll from last Monday.

“There is no one in Pennsylvania who has done more, or fought harder, for Election Integrity than State Senator Doug Mastriano,” Trump wrote. “He has revealed the Deceit, Corruption, and outright Theft of the 2020 Presidential Election, and will do something about it.”

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement from President Trump, today,” Mastriano said. “But the honor is not for me. It’s for the millions of hard-working Pennsylvanians who want their individual liberties restored, power returned to the people, and for their elected leaders to fulfill the America First — and Pennsylvania First — agenda.

“Our grassroots supporters across Pennsylvania know that Donald Trump and I will always have their backs. We are all committed to ending the era of party bosses, dark money interest groups, and flawed elections. It’s time for Pennsylvanians to unite, with the support of President Trump, and focus on defeating Josh Shapiro so we can revive our economy, achieve energy independence, lower taxes, restore law and order, and reform our failing education system,” Mastriano said.

Mastriano, 58, a conservative firebrand who served for 30 years in the Army and retired as a colonel, also holds a doctorate history and four master’s degrees.

In recent days, the Republican Party establishment has put out the call to unite around former Congressman Lou Barletta, who is also running for governor.  State Sen. Jake Corman dropped out of the race and endorsed Barletta on Thursday, as did former Gov. Mark Schweiker and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

Barletta issued this statement after Trump endorsed Mastriano:  “Throughout this campaign I have proved that I’m the best Republican to unite the Republican Party and defeat Josh Shapiro, and I will continue unifying our grassroots conservatives towards our shared goal. I will continue making the case to the people that I am the only candidate who can unite the party and bring victory in November. I look forward to having President Trump’s endorsement Wednesday morning.”

In the same vein, a spokeswoman for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, said, “Bill McSwain is a conservative outsider and U.S. Marine with a lifelong history of public service. He is the only candidate who can beat Josh Shapiro, and the clear choice for voters who want to see a Republican victory in November.”

McSwain, a former U.S. Attorney, received a stinging un-endorsement from Trump a few weeks ago over his lack of investigation into irregularities that Trump believes cost him the 2020 election. McSwain blamed his boss, U.S. Attorney Bill Barr. However, in his capacity as a state senator, Mastriano has called for a Pennsylvania audit and traveled to Arizona to observe what officials did there.

Party regulars fear that Mastriano will not be able to win in the fall against Democrat Josh Shapiro, and indeed, the Shapiro campaign has been running commercials touting Mastriano.

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In PA Governor’s Race, Corman Bows Out, Endorses Barletta

Senate Pro Tempore Jake Corman, who came within a whisker of dropping out of the governor’s race a few weeks ago, formally threw in the towel Thursday and threw his support to former Congressman Lou Barletta.

Corman never rose above single digits in the polls and was going to exit the campaign a few weeks ago, but said former President Donald Trump urged him to stay in the race. Corman had hired Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to work on his campaign, and she even appeared in TV commercials on his behalf.

Corman may also have been under pressure from his fellow Pennsylvania Republicans to throw his support to Barletta as recent polls showed state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) surging. News reports suggested GOP party insiders are seeking a white knight candidate to save the party from Mastriano, whose right-leaning views may not play well in the general election against Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor.

When questioned by Delaware Valley Journal about his participation in a rally partially organized by the QAnon conspiracy theorists, for example, Mastriano abruptly ended the interview.

“Lou Barletta is the man at the right time at the right place for the people of Pennsylvania and I’m happy to be here today to support Lou,” Corman said at a Harrisburg press conference on Thursday. “At a time when Tom Wolf is leaving office with historically low approval ratings when the country and Pennsylvania are rejecting the Biden agenda, this is a time when we’re looking for new leadership.

“The only way that we will not be successful in the fall is if we nominate someone who can’t possibly win,” Corman added.

Barletta thanked Corman.

“I very much appreciate Sen. Jake Corman’s support and the difficult decision he made to withdraw from the race and work together for the benefit of Republicans and all Pennsylvanians,” Barletta said. “It is increasingly evident that Republicans must get behind one candidate who can win the nomination and then actually defeat Josh Shapiro in November. There is no question that as the Republican nominee, I can beat Shapiro because the people of Pennsylvania know me. I am proven, road-tested, and ready to lead the Great Pennsylvania Comeback.”

Some of the other Republican gubernatorial campaigns were quick to push back against Corman’s endorsement of Barletta.

“It’s no surprise that career politician Jake Corman, who implemented the highest gas tax in America, has chosen to endorse fellow career politician Lou Barletta, who is also a steadfast supporter of higher gas taxes,” said James Fitzpatrick, campaign manager for Bill McSwain. “Alliances between career politicians will do nothing but protect the status quo in Harrisburg. It’s time for a conservative outsider to end this nonsense. Bill McSwain will beat Josh Shapiro this fall and conservatives should immediately rally around his candidacy.”

Similarly, Bob Salera, campaign manager for Dave White said, “It should surprise absolutely no one that career politician Jake Corman would endorse career politician Lou Barletta – this is the swamp endorsing the swamp. Both Corman and Barletta have spent more than two decades on the public payroll, racking up massive taxpayer-funded pensions along the way.

“Both Corman and Barletta have repeatedly voted to raise taxes and voted for increased government spending at the taxpayers’ expense. Career politicians flock together, which is exactly why Pennsylvania needs to turn the page and elect an outsider like Dave White who will bring less talk and more action for the people of Pennsylvania to Harrisburg.”

Barletta, who was also the former mayor of Hazelton, is known for his early warnings regarding the effect of the influx of illegal immigrants. In a podcast, Barletta told DVJournal he would bus the illegals being flown to Pennsylvania to Biden’s home state of Delaware if he became governor.

While Trump has not endorsed anyone in the governor’s race, Barletta has touted his ties to the former president.

Barletta has also spoken out about inappropriate books in school libraries, favors expanding the state’s energy sector, and is against vaccine mandates. As a former small business owner, Barletta says he believes he can help bring more businesses and jobs to the commonwealth.


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At Campaign HQ, Volunteers Stand By Barnette Amid Barrage of Attacks

Now that Huntingdon Valley resident Kathy Barnette is in a three-way statistical tie with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick in the GOP U.S. Senate primary, she is facing stiff criticism over her background, some social media posts, and doubts about her military career.

The feisty Barnette, who wrote a memoir about growing up poor in Alabama as the result of her mother being raped at age 11, is fighting back. And her DelVal volunteers have her back.

Glenside resident Ed Boyd said he has supported Barnette since “the first time I saw her speak.” He volunteered for Barnette when she ran for Congress in 2020 against Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery County) and is still a strong supporter.

“She brings a message the Republican Party needs to hear,” said Boyd. “Her life story is inspirational. She’s a solid conservative. She’s not somebody trying to buy the nomination. She spent a fraction of the money the two big-money guys (Oz and McCormick) did.”

“It’s a grassroots kind of thing,” said Boyd. “She had to have a ground game strategy. A lot of America First people like her. She’s not a RINO (Republican in Name Only).”

Boxes of Kathy Barnette palms cards to hand out to voters at the polls.

Asked about criticism over anti-Muslim tweets some consider hate speech and issues surrounding her military record, Boyd said the negativity was due to Barnette’s success. Barnette has since tweeted pictures of her military discharge papers.

Other reports say Barnette made disparaging remarks about homosexuals and transgender people.

“Whenever you’re going with somebody looking to rock the boat, you’re going to get that,” he said. “That guy (McCormick) is a hedge fund manager. The other guy (Oz) is an entertainer who was saying very different stuff a couple of years ago. He talks a good game.”

“We’re not just fighting Democrats,” Boyd said. “We’re taking shots from both sides.” Barnette is “not one of them. As she says, she is one of us.”

“You can’t buy a grassroots effort,” Boyd added. “You can only earn it.”

Oz has spent some $11 million and he has former Trump’s endorsement, while McCormick spent a similar amount. Their commercials have dominated Philadelphia television for months. Barnette, meanwhile, spent only about $1.6 million. Although in the last few days the Club for Growth has given her campaign an infusion of cash.

Kristin Baile shows how the frugal campaign recycles signs from Barnette’s 2020 run for Congress.

Kristin Baile of Plymouth Meeting was volunteering at Barnette’s campaign headquarters, filling boxes with Barnette palm cards to be shipped all over the state to hand out to undecided voters at polling places.

“I think she’s winning,” said Baile. “I don’t know who is putting out the attack ads, who is cutting and pasting attack ads. But I think the message is clear: she’s winning.”

Baile supports Barnette “because I know Kathy Barnette,” she said. “She’s not a politician. She is authentic. She is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I tell her she is truth wrapped in charm. She is a genuine person.”

Bryn Athyn resident Cheryl Wille was also working at Barnette headquarters. She said she supports Barnette because she is “passionate. She is a true conservative, and you can see that she is very sincere and honest. She has integrity. She stands for my values.”

As for the attacks, Wille said, “Politics gets dirty, doesn’t it? I believe Kathy’s story. You know it to be true when she speaks it.”

“It’s just terrible that they make up stories at this point in the campaign,” said Wille.  Wille said she had no idea who was trashing Barnette.

As for Barnette versus her well-funded competitors, “It’s an absolute David versus Goliath story,” said Baile.

Philadelphia residents Carmella Maribella and her husband, Charles, came in with a box of palm cards packed and ready to go.

Barnette is “living the American dream,” said Maribella. “I watched the debates. I loved what she said. I’m pro-life, and of them all, I believe she has the most integrity. I can’t stand what they’re doing to her right now.”

Baile interjected, “She’s going to fight for us.”

Charles Maribella said Barnette is anti-establishment and “she’s not afraid to call them out.”

Carmella Maribella said video of Barnette that appears to show her praising Black Lives Matter was “chopped and edited.”

When that was done to former President Trump, “it was the left.” Now it’s “other Republicans,” said Charles Maribella.

“It’s not about politics,” said Baile. “It’s about Kathy. She gives us a voice.”

Wille said a message purportedly from Trump saying Barnette would not be able to win the general election is wrong.

“I don’t believe it,” she said. “I believe Kathy is the best candidate to beat (Lt. Gov. John) Fetterman (the presumed Democratic nominee) in the fall … She had Democrats changing their party to vote for her.”

Meanwhile, Barnette’s campaign manager Bob Gillie said, “The main thing is, all the mud that’s going on is not fully in context.  Kathy knows this mud is being slung. It just shows we’re over the target. Kathy is running a positive campaign. No matter what mud is slung we’re pressing forward.”

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FLOWERS: Charlie Gerow Brings Hope to GOP Governor’s Race

I just finished a consultation with a young woman from El Salvador who was fleeing the rampant violence in her country. Without revealing any confidential information, that young woman suffered more than anyone should be forced to undergo in 19 brief years on this earth. And yet, she had hope that we could offer her a better life.

“Hope” is a very special thing, and something in which this country specializes. “Hope,” as Emily Dickinson wrote, is the thing “with feathers” that keeps us soaring in the moments when our feet are filled with lead. Hope, as my mother used to say, is the last thing to die.

Charlie Gerow has made his gubernatorial campaign about hope. To the veterans of political campaigns, that might sound naïve. To angry voters divided by culture wars and suspicion, that might sound foolish. To me, it hits the perfect note. Charlie is one of many in a crowded primary, and he isn’t at the head of a fractious pack. But perhaps that’s a good thing because it’s given him an opportunity to cross this beautiful commonwealth and not worry about endorsements, angering famous politicians, triggering media pushback, or pushing the wrong buttons of Pennsylvanians who are tired of the mess created by Tom Wolf and his coterie of incompetent Democrats.

I sat down with Charlie the other day to talk about everything from unborn babies to marijuana as we enter this last, frenetic phase of the primary. I’d been at his campaign launch last year, followed his progress through the primary and the debates, and wanted to see what kind of a mark this crazy political season had made on a man who-in my opinion-is the only GOP candidate who can pull together a coalition to beat Josh Shapiro. It was a candid conversation, as any chat between two lifetime Pennsylvanians would be.

My first question was whether his months of campaigning had changed his mind about any issues that were central to his platform and policies, and he stated they hadn’t. It came with this caveat: “I haven’t changed any of my positions, but I’ve expanded some. For example, I’m developing a plan to put 1,000 more police officers on the streets of Philadelphia to protect people and public safety. I’ve also proposed that we require graduating high school students to pass a citizenship test, similar to the one that naturalized citizens take.”

Every Philadelphian reading this should support Charlie’s push for more police officers. The Democrats floated the ridiculous idea that we should defund the police, before realizing that was a dead-end message, and that not even their base could support this dereliction of duty and concern for the average, law-abiding citizen. As far as the citizenship test, that would go a long way to reminding American children that they are not racist, they are not sexist, they are not evil, and they belong to the greatest country on earth. Immigrants should not be the only ones obligated to fully understand the nature and grandeur of our history. As Charlie noted, “Teaching old-fashioned civics is a great way around the CRT and transgender sports nonsense our kids are being indoctrinated with.”

The first time I met Charlie was at a pro-life rally in Harrisburg. He spoke at the rally, and talked about his devotion to the pro-life movement. It’s personal for him, as he’s explained numerous times on the campaign trail. Charlie was born to a single mother in Brazil who couldn’t take care of him. She did the most honorable and painful thing a mother can do: Give her child up for adoption so that he could have a better life. As a result of that selfless generosity, he’s enjoyed a life that would have been unimaginable had he remained in the slums of Brazil.

When I asked him about the recently-leaked Dobbs decision, Charlie asked, “If we won’t fight to defend the most defenseless, our unborn children, for whom will we fight?” This candidate would provide a stark contrast to Democrat Shapiro who believes abortion should be legal up until the ninth month.

Almost as controversial as abortion is the issue of legalized marijuana. Pennsylvania has not gotten to the point where non-medicinal pot is legal in the commonwealth, but it appears there is some momentum for legalizing cannabis. I am strongly opposed to legalization, and asked Charlie why he mentioned at a recent debate that he’d sign a bill making it legal to smoke pot. He responded: “It was a debate, and I was given 30 seconds to answer. I’ve made it clear that I’m not pushing for decriminalization or legalization. The bill I referenced is being pushed by my state senator, a Republican with background in law enforcement. He sees it as both inevitable, and an issue of regulation and taxation.” An honest, pragmatic answer.

Of all the candidates out there on my side of the aisle, it’s clear that Charlie Gerow is the only one who can build a coalition of the willing, the unified, and the hopeful. Given his years of public service and dedication to the state, I hope he gets that opportunity.


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Regina Mauro: Chester County Voters Should Send a Conservative Woman to Congress

Republican Regina Mauro is running in the May 17 primary against three men. But she says she believes she is the best person running and will go on to knock off Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan in November. Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks) has been named one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country and is being targeted by the Republican National Committee.

Mauro prides herself on being politically aware. That motivated her, in part, to seek the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District.

“I’ve always been very, very engaged and informed for years,” she said. “That’s how I was brought up.”

This isn’t Mauro’s first try for elective office. The Devon resident lost a bid for Chester County Controller last fall.

A lifelong Republican, Mauro sees a need to boost the number of conservative women in Congress. Her three opponents in the GOP primary race are men.

“I was concerned because I didn’t see any women candidates,” she said. “(The Republicans) definitely have an abundance of very qualified women.  So, seeing that and recognizing it was very important that we do have one in the race, I did my due diligence and I decided that I was ready for it.

“I’m also very concerned that the most underrepresented group in Congress is conservative women. Conservative women comprise just seven percent of Congress. All else being equal, you have to increase the representation of conservative women in Congress.

“I knew that I was equipped to be able to step in and not just be able to compete against the incumbent, but that I would be a very effective member of Congress.”

The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Mauro is passionate about education issues.

“Education is huge for me,” she said. “I grew up in a household where education was king. It was paramount. I’m really concerned that there is an inequality of quality in instruction in the 6th District.”

Mauro says adequate funding for education is an issue in some school districts but “that is not a universal problem.” She compared the academic performance of two school districts — which she did not name — located within the 6th District within approximately 20 miles of each other.

“When I looked at these two school districts, one spent slightly more on instruction and services than the other,” she said. “However, the one that’s spent slightly more performed at the bottom 20 percent academically in reading writing, and mathematics. The other performed in the upper 20 percent. So, that tells you there is a deficiency there.”

Mauro says she believes children should be able to attend the school that best meets their needs and bring their parents’ tax dollars with them.

“I do believe that tax dollars should follow the child,” she said, “and not be attached to the school they’re zoned for. That’s only step one; giving the parent the option of taking that money and transferring it to another school of their choice.

“In the meantime, we cannot abandon our local schools. At the end of the day, these local schools are part of the community. They’re a lot more accessible to the family and if given a choice, I think most parents, if the school was up to the standard they need for their child, would leave the kid there. So, while they have the option, we have to make sure that we bring those schools up to standard so those families can actually go back to that school.”

At a time when American politics is deeply divided, Mauro cites the need to get people of divergent political views to simply talk to each other.

“The first thing we have to do is lower the temperature,” she said. “We have to find things we have in common. We have more in common than not. But we have become so tribal. Everybody is so in their tribe, in their corner that we’re not talking to each other.

“We need to stop this. Most of us, Democrats and Republicans, are sort of in the middle. We need to stop grouping people by single ideas.”

Asked about her reaction to January 6 both before and after the events that occurred at the U.S. Capitol, she said,  “It was horrible that some lunatics, some were excited. Some were just following, whatever the participation. They absolutely felt it was okay to go (into the Capitol). Not all of them did obviously, you’ve seen plenty of videos where people are walking in like a tourist in line.

“But there are those who actually broke in. And that’s insanity to me,” she said. “What I regretted was the media portrayed everybody who attended that rally as being insurrectionists.”

Mauro was asked if she believed the result of the 2020 presidential election was legitimate.

“Do I think there was manipulation? Yes,” she said. “Do I think that was what caused the final result? Partly. Do I think this is new? No. There has been manipulation of elections forever.”

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Ron Vogel Continues Run For Congress After Pausing Campaign Over Smear

Ron Ron Vogel is back.

The Republican candidate for Congress who hopes to take on incumbent Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester/Berks) in November took a brief hiatus after what he called a “hit piece” on him ran in the Daily Local News recently. The article slammed him for a video he shared on social media years ago. Vogel said he had a “family huddle” and his wife. She told him that he needed to keep fighting.

Supporters also rallied around him after an article appeared in the same publication saying he was quitting the race.

“Sure enough, it had the total opposite effect,” said Vogel. “I got flooded with hundreds, hundreds, of phone calls, emails, text messages where people were like, ‘You have to fight on. You’ve got to do this. We need you, etc.’ It was very, very humbling.”

“’We saw the article. We know it’s nonsense,’” he said people told him. “Notice they didn’t show the post,” he noted about that article. “If they showed it, they wouldn’t have had a story. Very, very sad. It’s been on YouTube for literally 10 years.”

“I have to fight on,” Vogel continued. “Our country needs people fighting for it.”

Vogel, who is taking a break from his real estate career to run for office, said he would be taking a pay cut if he is elected.

“I’m doing this to give my kids a better future, to give this country a better future,” said Vogel, who is the father of three children.

He also told the Delaware Valley Journal he believes he is the one who will be able to help smooth over differences that have separated his friends and neighbors.

“America has become so divided,” he said. “I remember, as a kid and as a teenager, Republicans and Democrats had their different viewpoints, but they were kind of closer to the middle. Now, neighbors can’t get along. I want to try to bridge that gap. We all love America. We have more in common than our differences.”

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan

Along with Vogel, three other candidates are running in the Republican primary: Guy Ciarrocchi, CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry; businesswoman Regina Mauro; and business owner Steve Fanelli. Bob Kennedy is no longer in the race.

“I’m the only one who was recommended by both Chester and Berks County (Republican committees),” said Vogel. “I think I’m the frontrunner, and when you’re the frontrunner this is what happens.”

Meanwhile, Houlahan has been targeted by the GOP as one of the most vulnerable Democrat incumbents this year.

“Republicans are on offense all across the country,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said. “Every House Democrat is facing an uphill battle having to defend their toxic socialist agenda that prioritizes trillion-dollar tax hikes on the middle class, opens our borders, closes our schools. and defunds the police.”


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