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Strategists See ‘Stranger Things’ Scenario in Fight for U.S. Senate

In April, Republican control of the U.S. Senate looked like a lock. In August, all GOP hope appeared lost.

In the past few weeks, however, polls — and the news cycle — have been trending the Republicans’ way. Seven Senate seats are in play according to the RealClearPolitics polling averages: Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Other prognosticators predict fewer states will come down to the wire, as Republicans defend 21 Senate seats and Democrats defend 14 in November. But Republican Party strategist Ford O’Connell says pundits and the press are making the same mistake they have made every two years for a decade now.

Trusting the polls.

“The media’s reliance on GOP suppression polls is nothing new and 2022 is no different,” O’Connell told Inside Sources. “Generally speaking, Republican candidates are underperforming in the polls. That said, if Republicans at the top of the ticket continue to hammer home in unison the rising cost of living, crime, and the need to secure the border, the party will be victorious in November.”

A 2021 investigation by the American Association for Public Opinion Research found polls at both the national and statewide level in 2020 missed races by the biggest margins in decades, and always in the Democrats’ favor. If polling is off by the same margin as two years ago, Republicans are competitive, or better, in all seven of these races.

Events are working in the GOP’s favor, too, said Tim Jones, a former Republican speaker of Missouri’s House of Representatives, now a talk radio host who monitors the national scene. The economy is not likely to improve before the election and the Democrats seem overly reliant on the abortion issue after the Dobbs decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Democrats have stopped talking about COVID. They are not talking about January 6 anymore. They are only talking about abortion,” Jones told Inside Politics shortly after his plane arrived at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday. “Republicans could be undercounted or maybe just don’t want to be counted.”

Jones suspects the Dobbs decision might have come too early for Democrats.

“When the decision came in June, Democrats predicted the world would end and it would be Handmaiden’s Tale,” Jones said. “Now people are starting to figure out it just means that red states are probably going to have stricter abortion laws and blue states are going to have looser abortion laws.”

And then there is the ‘Stranger Things’ factor, said J. Miles Coleman of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Every election cycle has at least one “Who’da thunk it?” outcome. For 2020, it was Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, surviving; in 2018, it was Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., being booted from office in a national Democrat year, Coleman said.

One potential Senate race surprise could be in Colorado, where Democrat Sen. Michael Bennett is fending off GOP challenger Joe O’Dea.

“Some Republicans think they’ve got a decent shot in Colorado,” Coleman told InsideSources. “We think Michael Bennett is likely to win, but not safe. The GOP nominee there has tried to frame himself as a Republican version of Joe Manchin. Michael Bennett is not as much of a brand in Colorado.”

The UVA Center for Politics’ Crystal Ball ranks Georgia and Nevada as the outright tossups in November. It scores North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio as leaning Republican while Arizona, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania are leaning Democrat.

“Leaning” counts as less than “likely,” on the rating scale.

The Cook Political Report rates four Senate races as tossups: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Cook, meanwhile, counts Arizona, Colorado, and New Hampshire as leaning Democrat, while putting Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio in the leaning Republican category.

Of the major prognosticators, FiveThirtyEight takes the dimmest view of GOP chances, giving Democrats a two-thirds chance of maintaining control of the Senate based on its statistical modeling.

Among the most closely watched races in Pennsylvania, for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, which presents a pickup opportunity for Democrats.

“If the Republicans win in Pennsylvania, it is all but guaranteed that they will win control of the Senate,” O’Connell said. “There are a number of permutations and combinations that could give Republicans the gavel in the upper chamber without Pennsylvania, but a win in the Keystone State affords them the best opportunity for control.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee there, has closed the gap with Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. But Coleman believes the race is still Fetterman’s to lose.

“Oz’s unfavorables are terrible,” Coleman said. “Fetterman’s unfavorables have gone up, but Oz’s unfavorables are about 50 percent. That’s hard to overcome.”

Of the seven races, New Hampshire is widely viewed as the least likely to flip to the Republicans. Even GOP Gov. Chris Sununu’s expected double-digit victory would not be enough to lift Republican challenger Don Bolduc over incumbent Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan, Coleman said.

“Sununu will likely win, but New Hampshire voters like to split their tickets,” Coleman said. “The Senate Leadership Fund is still spending money there. So, Republicans are not giving up.”

Jones is not so sure. As a former state legislative leader, he sees the popularity of Republican governors as a significant force in these elections. For example, a strong victory by Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp over Democrat challenger Stacey Abrams could be enough to lift embattled Senate nominee Herschel Walker to victory over Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“Gov. Kemp has been up by as much as 8 points. I can’t imagine a world where voters are voting for Kemp and Warnock,” Jones said.

As inflation continues to hit voters in their pocketbooks and President Joe Biden struggles in the polls, some Republicans see the potential of a red wave that could even reach the very blue states of Vermont and Washington, where GOP candidates are in striking distance in polls. But O’Connell is doubtful.

“Stranger things have happened, but for the GOP to pick up Senate seats in Vermont and Washington, the floodgates would really have to open up,” O’Connell said. “I’m not saying those races don’t merit our attention, but the most important races with less than 30 days to go are—Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

“In recent weeks the Democrats have backtracked on the map and poured more resources into both Senate and House races that they weren’t as focused on over the summer. That’s a good sign for Republicans.”

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Fetterman Gets Fundraising Help from Sanders, Biden

Despite supporting each other previously, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman has not been much of a Bernie Bro in 2022.

But with Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz closing in the polls, the Fetterman campaign is pulling out all the stops. A new Trafalgar Group poll has Fetterman at 47.2 and Oz at 44.8. Libertarian Erik Gerhardt was at 3.4 percent.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sent out fundraising text messages on Friday asking people to send Fetterman $10 because Fetterman will “stand up to corporate greed and bigotry.”

Sanders, an avowed socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union, said in the text Fetterman “will transform this country and the lives of the working class.”

Fetterman endorsed Sanders when he ran for president in 2016, but did not in 2020. And Sanders had boosted Fetterman’s unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate and his successful run for lieutenant governor.

When asked about being a progressive in the primary, Fetterman, said that he was “just a Democrat.”

But Fetterman has also been endorsed by progressive luminary Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Now Fetterman is bringing in President Joe Biden to a fundraiser on Oct. 20. This even though Biden himself is increasingly unpopular with rising inflation, a war in Ukraine, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and rising crime rates dogging him. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s performance.

When asked about Fetterman bringing in both Sanders and Biden, Jeff Jubelirer, vice president of Bellevue Communications Group, said, “I’d say that it’s more ‘all hands on deck’ raising money and generating enthusiasm among the different constituencies of the Democratic electorate (the progressive wing – Sanders; and the more traditional/moderate wing – Biden) ahead of the election.

“As Election Day gets closer, I’m confident we will see the candidates doing all they can to ensure they turn out their biggest supporters, which are their party loyalists,” said Jubelirer.

The Fetterman campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

“John Fetterman is falling behind so he’s resorting to desperate lies and cheap distractions. Unlike no-show Fetterman, Dr. Oz is talking to voters – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – who want to see a change from the failed policies of the past. Dr. Oz is running against the most pro-murderer candidate, and we are going to win in November because Pennsylvanians can’t afford a Bernie Sanders socialist that wants to release 1/3 of Pennsylvania inmates, decriminalize all drugs, and eliminate life sentences for murderers. John Fetterman has already failed to serve the voters of Pennsylvania twice – why would they give him a third chance?” asked Brittany Yanick, communications director for Dr. Oz for Senate.

Fetterman gave a brief, 15-minute speech to an enthusiastic crowd in Bucks County last weekend. He acknowledged that he had a stroke in April and is “so grateful to be here today.”

He promised to support the Pro Act that would make it easier to unionize, to expand healthcare, to vote to legalize abortion nationwide, support veterans, raise the minimum wage, and to do away with the Senate filibuster. While he did not mention his more controversial positions concerning legalizing marijuana, he said he is running on his record of fighting crime as a mayor of a small town in western Pennsylvania.

Braddock “we went more than five years without a murder,” Fetterman said. He also did not mention his votes as chairman of the state Board of Pardons to free convicted murderers.

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Fetterman Agrees to Oct. 25 Debate

After weeks of debate and recriminations, Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has agreed to debate his GOP opponent in the U.S. Senate race, Dr. Mehmet Oz, on Oct. 25.

Both sides took the opportunity to slam each other in dueling press releases.

The debate, hosted by Nexstar television, was among the seven Oz had already committed to. His campaign noted that Fetterman’s only debate commitment is for a face-off that doesn’t take place until weeks after voters have begun casting mail-in and absentee ballots.

Fetterman was off the campaign trail for months after suffering a stroke and only began campaigning again in late August. He has had some stroke-related difficulties with speech due to what he calls “auditory processing.”

In a press release on Wednesday, the Fetterman campaign said the debate will be televised in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

“We said from the start that we’d do a debate, which John reiterated very clearly again last week. Enough distractions, it’s time to talk about the issues,” said Rebecca Katz, senior advisor to the Fetterman campaign. “While John will be debating Dr. Oz next month, Oz doesn’t have to wait that long to be honest with Pennsylvania voters about where he really stands on abortion. It’s a simple question, doctor: Would you vote for the Republicans’ national abortion ban, or would you vote against it?”

The Oz campaign, in turn, released this statement: “According to Nexstar, the Fetterman campaign asked for closed captioning during the debate – for the moderators and for Doctor Oz. They also asked for two practice sessions in the studio in Harrisburg ahead of time so Fetterman could be comfortable utilizing the closed caption system. All of the other debate rules are traditional and fine with us.”

According to its release, the Oz campaign asked for three things: “That at the top of the debate – a moderator explain to the audience that Fetterman is using a closed captioning system during the debate, to explain any delay between him being asked a question and responding.

“That the questions asked by any Nexstar employee during the ‘practice’ sessions for Fetterman bear zero resemblance to the actual questions asked during the debate. We are totally fine with Fetterman practicing with the closed caption system, but not with Fetterman practicing his answers ahead of time in conjunction with the moderators. The details of how this would be enforced are still being worked out.

And, “that the debate be extended from 60 to 90 minutes – because John will be on a delay, we believe that it would be unfair to viewers interested in the candidates’ positions to waste airtime while closed captioners type questions and answers.

“If those three reasonable requests are acceptable to the Fetterman campaign, then we accept the debate invitation on October 25th,” the Oz campaign said.

“Doctor Oz has accepted seven different debates throughout September and October,” said Casey Contres, Oz campaign manager. “Today, after being hit with massive criticism from state and national editorials and commentators for ducking, John Fetterman finally agreed to one debate…that was originally scheduled for October 5th. It’s a debate that Fetterman insisted be delayed until only two weeks remain in the campaign, to keep voters in the dark as long as possible.

“And it’s a debate in which Fetterman insisted on accommodations for his health condition, accommodations that are not permitted on the U.S. Senate floor. Doctor Oz looks forward to being in Harrisburg on October 25th to share his vision for a better Pennsylvania and America, and he is ready expose Fetterman’s record as the most radical, far-left senate candidate in America.

“Voters need to hear about John Fetterman’s radical record of supporting parole for violent murderers and not paying his taxes 67 times,” Contres said.

The debate will be shown in the Delaware Valley on WPHL Channel 17.

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FLOWERS: Telling the Truth About Fetterman’s Health Isn’t A Partisan Attack

Before he became president, John F. Kennedy was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, serving despite his debilitating chronic back pain and suffering from Addison’s disease. JFK still got the job done, well enough to become president of the United States.

And to paraphrase the late Texas Sen. Lloyd Benson, “Lt. Gov. Fetterman, you’re no JFK.”

A politician can serve despite struggling with health conditions. Ronald Reagan was called The Great Communicator, and yet by most credible accounts, he was already in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease by the end of his second term. Franklin Roosevelt’s polio, while not a complete secret from the public, was cleverly hidden from view during his dozen years in office with the tacit complicity of the news media who rarely photographed or filmed him sitting in a wheelchair.

John Fetterman differs from them in some important ways. The most important is this: FDR, JFK, and Reagan were all elected while still in good health (at least as far as the public knew). The former mayor of Braddock is asking voters to give him their trust despite an illness that he acknowledges is impacting his mental acuity, an illness we, the people, can see impacting him right now.

It’s not a political attack or personal criticism to acknowledge a fact: Democrats have nominated a man to hold one of our two U.S. Senate seats who barely survived a near-death experience less than five months ago.

I find the attempts of his campaign and supporters to cover for his health unforgivable for several reasons.

First, and most importantly, voters deserve a full explanation of his current medical condition, not the rosy press releases regurgitated about how he’s “improving.” I’ll readily admit I’m not a doctor and I won’t play one on TV (or the interwebs). But you don’t need to be Dr. House — or even Dr. Phil — to wince as Fetterman fumbles for his words, appearing detached and disconnected, looking confused when asked questions and moving more slowly than the average man his age.

One of my friends, a nurse with decades in rehabilitative care, told me that while she obviously hadn’t examined Fetterman and doesn’t know the specifics of his stroke, “In general, I know that once someone has a stroke, the risk of having a second significantly increases.”

How will this impact Fetterman’s ability to represent Pennsylvania? To represent us? Fetterman attacks his opponent for being “from NJ;” but if given the choice, I think most of us would prefer a healthy Jersey boy to an impaired native son.

Another issue is the callousness of Fetterman’s team. They (and he) seem to be so focused on winning that they’re putting political ambitions ahead of his family obligations as a husband and a father to young children.

He’s ill. It’s obvious. And it’s inconceivable to me that the people who are supposed to care about him would allow him to push forward under those conditions.

As I wrote on Facebook, “I can’t stand the man and I have compassion. No one on the left will believe this, but it’s not purely about politics. Put in Conor Lamb, he could be a formidable Oz opponent. This is about simple human decency. The man is sick. Is the left selling its soul for a Senate win? Is that what matters? They could still win honorably, with a healthy candidate.”

Despite what some on the left are saying, it is not below the belt to question Fetterman’s health. It is legitimate. It is also compassionate. The physical and mental abilities of Pennsylvania’s junior senator must be at the highest levels.

We deserve competence. John Fetterman deserves attention. I’m glad that, slowly, people are coming to that realization.

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Fetterman and Oz Sparring Already

With the U.S. Senate primary barely in the rearview mirror, Democratic candidate John Fetterman, Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, and their allies are fielding ads attacking each other.

Fetterman’s campaign sent fundraising emails claiming Oz is still registered to vote in New Jersey.

“I was born + raised here, and now Gisele + I are raising our family here, right across the street from Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill,” Fetterman says in that email.

A senior Oz campaign official said that Oz, a Huntingdon Valley resident, votes in Pennsylvania and is registered to vote here.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched an ad attacking Fetterman this week, spending $1.5 million to air it until June 16. The ominous-sounding ad paints Fetterman as a socialist who is endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

 

 

It shows “left-wing radicals rolling into Pennsylvania” with signs reading “government healthcare” and “end fracking” exiting a Fetterman van. The voiceover says Fetterman would cost residents “$50,000 per year.”

And, although Fetterman is recuperating from a stroke and not on the campaign trail at the moment, his campaign has its own ads up, one touting him as an outsider who gets things done titled “Braddock to Washington D.C.” and another that cites his outsider cred.

Oz is already a household name, so he needs little introduction to voters.

“Since being elected lieutenant governor, John Fetterman has spent a good deal of his time working to boost his name ID, through his legalization of marijuana tour and media appearances.  It’s been clear since he was sworn in as lieutenant governor his goal was a higher office. The question is whether it was enough.  The types of ads he is running lead me to believe his campaign doesn’t think so, which is why he is focused on defining himself at the current time,” said Charlie O’Neill, a Republican consultant.

Christopher Borick, professor of political science and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, said, “Indeed, the general election campaigns are off and running.  In a world where major campaigns are flush with financial resources, the rule is to get your ads up early and establish identities for both you and your opponent.

“Republicans clearly want Pennsylvania voters to see Fetterman more as a socialist and less as the Carhartt wearing advocate for the working class.  They recognize that by doing so they may weaken Fetterman’s appeal among older, more moderate voters in places like the Philly suburbs, and negate some of his potential gains among White working-class voters where his brand has appeal.”

Borick added, “And while many Pennsylvanians know Fetterman through his unique physical image and presentation, the details of his story are not known to many voters in the commonwealth.  Thus, his campaign wants to get that narrative built before Oz and Republicans can build an alternative for many voters that will be harder to undo.”

 

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FLOWERS: Leaked SCOTUS Decision Moves Abortion Debate From Courts to Voters

I’m aware that not everyone is as concerned with abortion as I am. In fact, abortion falls fairly low on the list of “important issues” when voters are in the process of considering candidates. Only people like me, who are profoundly pro-life, or those who are extreme in their support of abortion rights, focus on it.  In that ironic and bizarre way, I have more in common with the head of Planned Parenthood than the vast majority of Americans have with either of us.

But what happened Monday evening was seismic, and its impact is felt by everyone, including those who are more concerned with when or whether Joel Embiid is reactivated to play against the Miami Heat.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, as seems likely based on the leak of Justice Alito’s draft majority opinion, abortion will not disappear.  It will simply cease to be a federal right, left to the states to legislate and regulate.  That’s the way it was until 1973, and even though I think it should be completely banned (exception: to save the mother’s life), that’s the way it should be in a democracy.  Most Americans are comfortable with some limits on abortion, and if they live in a state that has those limits and they still want to end their pregnancy, they can travel to a more hospitable jurisdiction.

But after almost 50 years of legalized abortion, some people have gotten the idea that it’s a constitutional, unassailable right. They talk about “super precedents,” and “right to choose,” and “reproductive justice,” and all of these empty phrases that sound nice in campaign ads but that really add up to this: We want what we have gotten used to, unlimited autonomy when it comes to pregnancy.

And that’s where it gets interesting. If Roe falls and the states take control of abortion, the people who make the laws in those states will have an enormous amount of power. And in Pennsylvania, we have two crucial elections looming, which will determine whether our next governor is likely to sign or veto pro-life legislation and whether our next senator will vote to codify abortion rights in federal law.

At the outset, I don’t expect most Pennsylvanians agree with me that abortion should be criminalized except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger. You don’t have to tell me that my view is to the right of many Republicans and even a lot of run-of-the-mill conservatives. I can’t even get an “amen” from most of my Catholic friends, not to mention some high-profile priests like Jesuit James Martin. But at the very least, most Americans think there should be some significant limits on the procedure, depending upon the circumstances of the pregnancy.

When I helped moderate a debate of Republican senatorial candidates for the Delaware Valley Journal last month, I asked the four local candidates, Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bocchetto, and Sean Gale, what their views were on abortion. Gale was the most overtly passionate stating, “It’s truly a stain on this country, which is why I’ll be the most pro-life senator in the U.S. Senate.” Barnette mentioned her own origins story, revealing that she was a child of rape, and noted, “Based on my experience, I truly believe that life begins at conception, and I will make sure to fight for that when I’m in the Senate.” Bartos took aim at the Democrats currently in Congress observing, “When you have 47 Democrats who voted for legislation on late-term abortion, they will have to answer many questions come election time this November.” And George Bocchetto, who grew up in an orphanage in New York stated that “I wouldn’t be here today if Roe v. Wade were law during my birth, which is why I’m forever grateful that I could survive and thrive the way I did.”

Those were personal answers, deeply felt, and fairly representative of the GOP position on abortion. Contrast that with the Democrat candidates for the Senate. When asked at a recent debate if there were any limits on abortion that he would find appropriate, John Fetterman replied, “I don’t believe so, no.”  He then doubled down, declaring that he wanted to codify Roe into statutory law to essentially frustrate the Supreme Court. Conor Lamb, Fetterman’s “moderate” opponent has gone on record saying, “I think that the right to choose is a right all the way through pregnancy.”

“All the way through pregnancy” is shorthand for late-term abortion. The comments were in response to a question about the Women’s Health Protection Act, and whether he would be able to support any restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. Apparently, he can’t.

As far as the gubernatorial race, every Republican candidate has come out as being pro-life, even if some like Charlie Gerow are more vocal than others. De facto Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro has made no secret that he strongly supports abortion, including late-term abortion.

It takes a lot to come out and say that a woman should be able to have an abortion whenever she wants.  There is something particularly ghoulish in a person who thinks that abortion is “okay” and should not be barred at any moment before the crowning of the baby’s head. And I find it particularly ironic that the type of woman who thinks men can’t have an opinion on abortion is perfectly happy with these men, and these opinions.

If your primary concern this election cycle is something other than abortion, I understand where you might actually spend the next few weeks and months examining the candidates’ platforms and positions. But what happened Monday night changed the whole landscape.

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Lamb Blasts Leaked SCOTUS Opinion, Stands By ‘Abortion Without Limits’ Stance

The leaked U.S. Supreme Court decision potentially overturning Roe v. Wade shocked the country, and those shockwaves are certainly being felt in Pennsylvania. But some voters may be shocked, or at least surprised, by what the reaction to the leaked opinion has revealed about some candidates in the state’s May 17 primaries.

At a press event Wednesday afternoon, for example, Congressman Conor Lamb reiterated his support for abortion without restriction throughout the entire pregnancy up to the moment of birth.

Lamb, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, is often portrayed as a moderate. In the immediate aftermath of the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion, Lamb said, “I think the right to choose is a right all the way through pregnancy.”

During Wednesday’s presser, Lamb stood by that statement. “What I actually said is, I believe a right is a right all throughout pregnancy,” Lamb told Delaware Valley Journal.

“And there’s a fair amount of misinformation about what that means as far as the moment of birth. In the last trimester, it is extremely rare for anyone to have an abortion. It’s about one percent of cases. And I think that those cases are well-handled by medical ethics and the way that doctors are trained to make decisions, along with their patients. This whole concept of abortions right before the moment of birth is a fiction.”

Last September, Lamb voted for the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which would override every state law restricting abortion and mandate Lamb’s no-restrictions stance in all 50 states. Lamb was joined by all of his fellow Pennsylvania Democrats, including Delaware Valley Reps. Madeleine Dean, Chrissy Houlahan and Mary Gay Scanlon.

This position is far outside the mainstream, according to polls. Gallup polling has consistently found about 80 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in the last three months of pregnancy. However, it is a position shared by Lamb’s leading opponent, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

Asked if there are any limits on abortion he would find appropriate,” Fetterman said, “I don’t believe so, no.” Soon after he tweeted, “Let’s be clear: The right to an abortion is sacred.”

When another reporter asked whether the leaked Supreme Court decision changes the political landscape, Lamb said, “I think obviously what has changed is, the threat is real now,” said Lamb. “People have seen it in print and obviously the print is much more shocking than I think I even expected, in that they want to do a full overturning of this decision. And so that makes people scared of what could lie in store for us in the future, with the specific right to seek an abortion and with a lot of variables and rights.

“So, I’ve noticed in the primary, it’s getting people in a very practical frame of mind about who can win the election in any circumstances. In the general election, I’d expect to see higher participation from women.”

But the general election is months away and some political insiders believe abortion will fade as an issue for many voters.

“Most voters will still be mainly focused on inflation and other pocketbook issues in the fall,” said Christopher Nicholas of Eagle Consulting Group, a veteran Republican consultant.

“The abortion issue in Pennsylvania cuts both ways as there are both pro-choice Republicans as well as pro-life Democrats,” he added.

Political strategist Albert Eisenberg said, “Democrats will see increased turnout from college-educated women particularly, and it could induce young liberals to show up, but they should be careful about overplaying their hand on abortion issues. There are a lot of pro-life, moderate, and conservative Democrats who are drifting away from the party, particularly Black and Hispanic voters, and this could easily backfire and alienate voters they absolutely cannot afford to lose. Will the GOP realize this and take advantage?”

However, Nina Ahmad, president of the Pennsylvania chapter president of the National Organization for Women, said the high court’s decision on Roe might give people “urgency” to vote for Lamb. Her group endorsed Lamb because of his voting record and because they think he can win in November.

“This one (Lamb) is the only one who has a record and has delivered. (Lt. Gov. John) Fetterman hasn’t done anything for women in his time in office,” said Ahmad.

“As you know things are happening in our nation that are putting women’s rights in peril,” said Ahmad. “You saw the leaked document that came out about the Supreme Court decision and that has galvanized people all over this country, as it should.”

National Organization for Women President Christian Nunes said, “When we saw Justice (Samuel) Alito’s leaked draft of this decision and how detrimental this would be to women…not just women, but to everyone. A lot of times when we think about reproductive justice and access to care and abortion, we think it only applies to women but it doesn’t. It affects all of us.”

“When we read the language in the draft, I don’t know about you all but I heard Jim Crow everywhere, right?

“…women were never guaranteed these (rights) beforehand, so if they weren’t guaranteed these beforehand, so if they weren’t guaranteed in the original writing of the Constitution, they’re not entitled to the right to reproductive freedom or abortion access. This is problematic…We have justices stacked in our court who do not believe women deserve to be treated equal,” said Nunes.

Lamb said, “If you look at Alito’s original draft opinion that’s out there, it reflects this view, this backward-looking view that judges like him often have about what was in the Constitution when the country was founded and what life was like back then. Well, that’s the important difference between me and him, in terms of how we see the law and how we see our duty to protect and serve the public.”

“At that time our society was very different and many people standing here would not have had anything like the same rights and the ability to make a life for themselves that they have now…I am not backward-looking. I’m forward-looking.”

Even though there are only two weeks until the primary, Lamb said, “a lot of people aren’t following it that closely.” But the Roe decision might change that, he added.

And Lamb said he also believes he is more electable than Fetterman, who is the frontrunner.

“What I’m trying to do is tell people about my own record of success,” said Lamb. “I’m not trying to tell people the traits I have are somehow superior to everyone else’s. I’m just telling you, I have in fact won in Republican districts three times in a row and that is something unique among the candidates. For both of the other two (candidates) they have only been in competitive primaries among Democrats. And the day after our nomination, you have to step out into a larger world and engage with voters, Independents, and even moderate Republicans to win in this state. And I know how to do exactly that.”

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Update: Trump Endorses Dr. Oz, Shakes Up PA Senate Campaign

In a potentially game-changing move in Pennsylvania’s crowded Republican U.S. Senate primary, former President Donald Trump endorsed reality TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz Saturday.

“This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our country,” Trump said in his statement. Oz is “pro-life, very strong on crime, the border, election fraud, our great military and our vets, tax cuts and will always fight for and support our under-siege Second Amendment,” Trump added.

“Dr. Oz is smart, tough and will never let you down, therefore he has my complete and total endorsement.”

Oz is engaged in a high-profile campaign ad war with former hedge fund exec David McCormick, who has his own connections to Trump and had clearly hoped he would get the former president’s backing. McCormick’s wife, Dina Powell, served as a deputy national security adviser in the Trump administration.

But it may have been Trump’s wife, Melania, who had the most influence. A source close to Trump told NBC News, “The first lady has let the president know that she likes Dr. Oz. And that matters.”

Oz thanked Trump for his support.

“Everyone, especially David McCormick – a pro-China, Wall Street insider, wanted this endorsement. But President Trump wisely endorsed me because I’m a conservative who will stand up to Joe Biden and the woke left,” Oz said in a statement.

“As Pennsylvania’s next senator, I will defend America First policies,” said Oz. “I will fight to unleash American energy, protect our Second Amendment, and drain the swamp of Washington insiders. I will be a powerful pro-life voice in the Senate, and I will protect our children from harmful woke indoctrination. And no one will fight harder against the radical policies of Joe Biden that are causing inflation, creating a crisis at our border, and weakening our position around the world.

“President Trump knows how critical it is to change the kinds of people we send to Washington. I’m ready to fight. I thank him for that, and I am proud to receive his endorsement,” Oz concluded.

GOP political strategists say it’s good news, but the race is hardly over.

“The Trump endorsement absolutely helps the undecided crowd who wanted Trump’s opinion before making their decision,” said Pennsylvania-based GOP strategist Charlie O’Neill. “However, I wouldn’t call the race yet. With five weeks to go, anything can happen. Oz and McCormick have spent millions defining each other, which has certainly had an effect on polling. Trump’s endorsement adds a new line of messaging for Oz he hopes will be a final blow. However, I don’t anticipate any of McCormick’s endorsements from former Trump officials to go anywhere, and he’ll continue to lean on them.

Bottom line: It’s a great day for Dr. Oz, but I don’t see McCormick going anywhere,” O’Neill said.

Not everyone in Trumpworld is happy with the president’s decision. Steve Bannon, who served as Trump’s White House chief strategist, is no fan of Dr. Oz, as he expressed in a recent podcast: “How does Dr. Oz, probably the most anti-MAGA guy, and you got Fox nonstop pimping this guy out and Newsmax pimping this guy out, and that’s what it is — how does Dr. Oz, from New Jersey, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s buddy, floating in from Jersey, how does he become a factor in a Senate race in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?”

And conservative columnist Kurt Schlicter called Oz “a squish at best.”

“In the off chance he gets elected, he would make Mitt Romney seem like Lauren Boebert.”

In his announcement Saturday, Trump repeated a theme he has mentioned several times regarding Oz’s candidacy: His appeal to women voters thanks to his TV persona. “Women, in particular, are drawn to Dr. Oz for his advice and counsel. I have seen this many times over the years. They know him, believe in him, and trust him.”

McCormick’s campaign responded to the Delaware Valley Journal’s request for a comment with a link to a from Jeff Roe tweet: “@DaveMcCormickPA is going to be the next Senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

In response, Jon Cooper @joncoopertweets said, “Florida man endorses New Jersey man for Pennsylvania Senate seat.”

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DVJ Presents: A US Senate Debate By DelVal Candidates, for DelVal Voters!

Mark your calendars: The Delaware Valley Journal will host a debate for the U.S. Senate candidates from the Delaware Valley from 7 to 8 p.m. tonight March 29.

Four candidates who call the Delaware Valley their home have accepted our invitation to discuss issues of particular interest to Republican primary voters in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties: Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto and Sean Gale.

Managing Editor Michael Graham, News Editor Linda Stein and conservative writer Christine Flowers will moderate the debate.

If you have a question about life in the Delaware Valley you’d like these candidates to answer, please send it to [email protected]

While the debate is not open to the general public, it will be broadcast and live-streamed by PCN. There will be a live link here at DelawareValleyJournal.com. Please tune in!

Dr. Oz Promises to Renounce Dual Turkish Citizenship If Elected to the Senate

Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz announced Wednesday he will give up his Turkish citizenship if elected to the U.S. Senate.

Oz stepped into political quicksand this week when he said he would keep his dual citizenship as both Turkish and American if elected, even if that meant giving up access to classified briefings.

On Wednesday afternoon, Republican candidate Dave McCormick held a press call with Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) calling out Oz on his position. Less than an hour later, the celebrity doctor reversed course.

“My dual citizenship has become a distraction in this campaign. I maintained it to care for my ailing mother, but after several weeks of discussions with my family, I’m committing that before I am sworn in as the next U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania I will only be a U.S. citizen,” Oz said.

“The bigoted attacks my opponent, Dave McCormick, has made against me as the child of immigrants is reminiscent of slurs made in the past about Catholics and Jews,” said Oz. “It is a sign of McCormick’s desperate campaign that he has resorted to this disgraceful tactic. It is completely disqualifying behavior for anyone aiming to serve in the United States Senate.”

During the Wednesday press call, Sullivan told reporters top-secret intelligence reports are vital to doing his job as a senator.

Sullivan, who is also a member of the Marine Corps Reserve, said he was “quite shocked” when he learned Oz had said he would keep his Turkish citizenship and do without the intelligence reports.

“So this is a huge part of the job. It’s actually a constitutional part of the job in terms of our focus in the Senate, national security issues, much more so than the House. And from my perspective…it’s just inconceivable that you would make a decision that somehow would limit your access to this kind of intelligence that you need to do the job. My view is you need full access to all the intel that the different intelligence agencies provide us senators, to do the job effectively.”

It is more important now than ever “given the Ukraine situation,” and that the senators have been given security briefing repeatedly in the past few weeks since Russia invaded that Eastern European country, he said. And senators are privy to the top-secret information whether they are on the Armed Services or Foreign Relations committees, or not.

Asked by the Delaware Valley Journal why Oz keeping his Turkish citizenship would make a difference given that Turkey is a NATO ally, Sullivan said it makes “a big difference.”

Even the other members of so-called Five Eyes-the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—do not see everything the senators are privy to, Sullivan noted.

“There’s a whole class of intel and it’s usually at the top-secret level that’s called “non-foreign” that “we don’t share with foreigners from any country, including Five Eyes countries,” said Sullivan.

Another reporter asked why Oz would have to renounce his dual citizenship to receive classified intelligence information. Sullivan said the issue has never been tested.

Meanwhile, McCormick responded to Oz’s remarks about him via Twitter, taunting Oz to give up his Turkish citizenship immediately: “Do it now. Voters can’t trust Mehmet Oz. He has lied about his position on abortion, the 2nd Amendment, immigration, masks, and Fauci to name a few. Renounce your Turkish citizenship now. We won’t be fooled again.”

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