Trump Criticizes Kathy Barnette as She Surges in Pennsylvania’s G.O.P. Senate Primary

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Politics|Trump criticizes Kathy Barnette arsenic she surges successful Pennsylvania’s G.O.P. Senate primary

Ms. Barnette’s momentum successful the polls has drawn the attraction of the erstwhile president, who endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz successful the race.

Kathy Barnette, a Republican campaigner  for the Senate, speaking astatine  a forum successful  Newtown, Pa., connected  Wednesday.
Credit...Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Michael C. Bender

By Michael C. Bender

  • May 12, 2022, 4:41 p.m. ET

A precocious surge from Kathy Barnette successful Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate superior is officially connected erstwhile President Trump’s radar.

Mr. Trump criticized Ms. Barnette, a blimpish writer and governmental commentator, connected Thursday and said she was unvetted and unelectable. “Kathy Barnette volition ne'er beryllium capable to triumph the wide predetermination against the extremist near Democrats,” Mr. Trump said successful a statement.

Ms. Barnett’s momentum successful the polls has jeopardized Mr. Trump’s 2nd effort to power the superior race, which comes to a adjacent connected Tuesday. He endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz, a longtime tv host, aft his archetypal prime for the seat, Sean Parnell, suspended his campaign successful November amid a tribunal conflict implicit the custody of his children.

Ms. Barnette’s abrupt emergence comes arsenic Dr. Oz has been locked successful a contentious superior combat with David McCormick, a erstwhile hedge money enforcement with heavy ties to Mr. Trump’s governmental orbit. A Fox News Poll connected Tuesday showed her astatine 19 percent, down Mr. McCormick astatine 20 percent and Dr. Oz astatine 22 percent.

Her ascent has amazed galore watching the Pennsylvania contention — including Mr. Trump, who ne'er earnestly considered supporting her earlier helium announced his endorsement of Dr. Oz little than 5 weeks ago, according to 2 radical acquainted with the determination who insisted connected anonymity due to the fact that they were not authorized to sermon backstage conversations.

But Ms. Barnette’s candidacy is being taken earnestly by the Club for Growth, which endorsed her connected Wednesday and announced a $2 cardinal TV advertisement buy to enactment her. Her opponents, meanwhile, are scrambling to excavation up dirt, similar a 2016 tweet successful which she claimed then-President Barack Obama was a Muslim. (Mr. Trump repeatedly raised doubts astir Mr. Obama’s religion and questioned whether helium was a Muslim.)

Another motion of the staying powerfulness of Ms. Barnette’s surge: Mr. Trump’s disapproval of her grounds allowed for the anticipation that she whitethorn win. That contrasts sharply with however helium has repeatedly attacked Mr. McCormick.

“She has galore things successful her past which person not been decently explained oregon vetted,” Mr. Trump said successful his statement, “but if she is capable to bash so, she volition person a fantastic aboriginal successful the Republican Party — and I volition beryllium down her each the way.”

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