Who is Kathy Barnette? The GOP candidate surging late in Pennsylvania Senate race

·3 min read

The GOP primary race for Senate in Pennsylvania appeared to come down to two candidates: the Donald Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz and millionaire former hedge fund manager Dave McCormick supported by top Republicans. But in a new poll, Kathy Barnette, a political commentator, appears to have made it a three-way race.

Barnette’s late surge has alarmed some prominent conservatives, including Trump, who warned that Barnette could “never” win in a general election and raised questions about her past.

The latest RealClearPolitics average poll showed Barnette less than three points behind Oz, and less than one point ahead of McCormick.

More coverage: Pennsylvania's candidate-packed, toss-up, celebrity-laden Senate race could decide control of Congress

Analyst: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette is surging in the polls because top contenders David McCormick and Mehmet Oz spent months tearing each other down in negative campaign ads. (May 13)
Analyst: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette is surging in the polls because top contenders David McCormick and Mehmet Oz spent months tearing each other down in negative campaign ads. (May 13)

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Who is Kathy Barnette?

Barnette is best known for her career as a political commentator. She has appeared on Fox News and other conservative TV shows. She also hosts a Christian talk radio show.

According to her campaign site, Barnette had a career in corporate finance and served 10 years in the military reserves. She also was an adjunct professor at Judson University in Illinois. Her first campaign for Congress failed in 2020, when she lost an election for a House seat to Democrat Madeleine Dean.

She is originally from the South, where she grew up living in poverty on a pig farm, according to her campaign website.

As the possibility that Barnette could win the GOP grew days before the election, high-profile conservatives began raising concerns about Barnette’s past.

Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is backing Oz, expressed concerns in a segment on his show Thursday about Barnette’s past homophobic and anti-Muslim tweets, saying they would make her unelectable in the general election.

Trump echoed the same in a statement Thursday.

“Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats,” Trump said in the statement. “She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted, but if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party.”

Barnette's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How old is Kathy Barnette?

Barnette is 50 years old and was born in Alabama.

Who has endorsed Kathy Barnette?

The most well-known individual endorsing Barnette is Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser who publicly called on the former president to institute martial law following his 2020 presidential election defeat. A number of state legislators and Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, a Republican, are backing Barnette as well.

What is Kathy Barnette’s platform?

Barnette’s platform is in line with much of the GOP’s agenda.

It includes proposals such as banning so-called “critical race theory” from schools, achieving energy independence while opposing the "Green New Deal", implementing a tougher “merit-based” immigration system and codifying the “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy started under Trump.

Barnette has promised to serve only two terms as Senator if elected and not to own any stock during her time in office as part of a pledge to “Remain True to My Oath and Root Out and Punish Corruption.”

Barnette is also anti-abortion, pro-gun rights and vowed to protect free speech, suggesting the break up of “big tech monopolies” in one of her proposals.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Kathy Barnette? Senate candidate running in Pennsylvania

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