Fox News host Sean Hannity and Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Kathy Barnette are having a bit of a spat following the Keystone State’s primary results, which show Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick neck-and-neck—and well ahead of Barnette.
At a watch party late Tuesday night, Oz thanked Hannity for his support, adding that the Fox host played an integral role in his Senate bid. “He understands just how to make a difference and he’s been doing that the entire campaign,” Oz said. “Much of it behind the scenes—giving me advice in late-night conversations. Again, the kinds of things true friends do for each other.”
Oz’s account of Hannity’s campaign assistance aligns with how Hannity has at times acted like a political operative, as evidenced by his revealing text messages with GOP officials and bedtime phone calls with then-President Donald Trump. (Hannity’s relationship with the ex-president was so close, in fact, that he was dubbed Trump’s shadow chief of staff.)
When Barnette caught wind of Oz’s remarks on Wednesday, she was not pleased. In a tweet that afternoon, the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally attendee urged Pennsylvanians to “never forget” how Hannity “intentionally interfered in our election sowing lies and disinformation.”
In response, later that night Hannity addressed Barnette’s comment despite saying he didn’t want to “belabor” the issue.
“Kathy, my first instinct was to put up all of your incendiary tweets again, and there’s a ton of them, but I really don’t need to defend myself,” the Fox host said. “You are the one that really needs to answer the questions about all of your comments, and all of your tweets that are there. You can lash out at me all you want. You are not the first person.”
Last week, Hannity showed viewers several of Barnette’s posts—one of which labeled then-President Barack Obama a “Muslim”—as part of his argument against her candidacy.
Hannity said his show made repeated attempts to contact Barnette, but she “refused to answer our questions.” He then reiterated that Barnette “will never get elected to statewide office, in my opinion, unless she is willing and able to answer questions about her past comments, conduct, rhetoric, and tweets.”