Pennsylvania GOP Primary Candidates Take Aim at Leader Dr. Oz

Pennsylvania GOP Primary Candidates Take Aim at Leader Dr. Oz GOP Senate primary candidates Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, Dave McCormick, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Carla Sands Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary candidates (from top left): Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos and Dave McCormick, and Dr. Mehmet Oz (bottom left) and Carla Sands. (Matt Rourke/AP)

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 04 May 2022 07:52 PM

With two weeks until Pennsylvania's primary election May 17, the top five candidates for the Senate GOP primary lined up on stage Wednesday night at Grove City College, a Christian liberal arts school located close to Pittsburgh.

The Pennsylvania Republican primary debate is moderated live by Greta Van Susteren at 8 p.m. ET on Newsmax.

Well-known TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, 61, has received the coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump and will be challenged in the hotly contested battleground race by: real estate developer Jeff Bartos, 48; David McCormick, 56, who served in former President George W. Bush's administration; Carla Sands, 60, the former ambassador to Denmark under Trump; and Kathy Barnette, 49, who vows to carry the torch for the Black and women voters in the state against the potential Democrat nominee.

Barnette took first aim at Oz on the issue of abortion, after Oz had been supportive of abortions in the past.

"I am the byproduct of a rape," she said. "My mother was 11 years old when I was conceived, my father was 21. I was not just a lump of cells. As you can see, I'm still not just a lump of cells. My life has value."

Oz responded to the claim he supports abortion, simply said he now believes "life begins at conception."

Sands took aim at both leaders, calling Oz a "MINO, and that is MAGA in name only," and McCormick a Mitt Romney Republican.

The Pennsylvania Senate seat to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is one of the key battlegrounds for the 2022 midterms, particularly since President Joe Biden won the state 80,000 votes, according to the official tally.

"There are only two states on the map that Republicans hold that Democrats won in the presidential race, and those are Pennsylvania and Wisconsin," according to Cook Political Report analyst Jessica Taylor. "Of those races, Pennsylvania, I think especially given that it's an open seat, is really the best opportunity that Democrats have to flip a seat."

The Trafalgar Group polling, which correctly projected the Ohio GOP Senate primary winner J.D. Vance in Tuesday night's election, has the Pennsylvania Senate GOP primary:

  1. Oz 22.7%.
  2. McCormick 19.7%
  3. Barnette 18.4%.
  4. Carla Sands 11.2%.
  5. Jeff Bartos 7.7%.
  6. George Bochetto 2.5%.
  7. Sean Gale 0.8%.

The poll had 17% of likely Pennsylvania GOP primary voters still undecided and a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.

After Trump's 2020 election integrity investigations and allegations, many Republicans on Pennsylvania's campaign trail have talked up the need to expand Pennsylvania's voter identification requirement and to ban drop boxes.

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