Four GOP debate candidates for Pennsylvania Senate say party shouldn’t make it through 2020 election
Four candidates vying for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race from Pennsylvania said during a GOP debate on Monday night that it was not yet time for their party to advance to the 2020 election.
The candidates – Mehmet Oz, David McCormick, Carla Sands and Kathy Barnette – have each argued for keeping attention on the last election cycle to some degree, despite the lack of any evidence of fraud or widespread election irregularities. The other candidate on stage, Jeff Bartos, didn’t answer the question directly, saying instead that the 2020 election will act as a “catalyst.”
“I’ve discussed it with President Trump and we can’t move on,” Oz said of the 2020 election. Drastic changes have been made to our election laws by Democratic leaders, and they have blocked proper reviews of some of these decisions. We have to be serious about what happened in 2020, and we can’t fix it until we can really look under the hood. »
The focus on the 2020 election underscores former President Donald Trump‘s hold on the party and his dominant influence in the race. Monday night’s debate comes two weeks after Oz won Trump’s coveted endorsement – something McCormick and other candidates had aggressively sought.
Oz used the endorsement to fend off attacks from other candidates as they portrayed him as a flip-flopper and a liberal throughout the debate.
“Look, the reason Mehmet keeps talking about endorsing President Trump is because he can’t stand on his own positions and his own records, and what’s true is that he did flip-flop on all the major issues that we’re talking about in this campaign,” McCormick said. “The problem, doctor, is that there’s no magic bullet for flip-flops, and Pennsylvanians see through your sham and that’s what you’re dealing with.” And that’s why you’re not taking off in the polls.
Sands, meanwhile, said, “President Trump doesn’t always get the best advice. It’s unfortunate but true,” while Barnette argued that “’MAGA’ doesn’t belong to President Trump.”
“It belongs to the people,” Barnette said. “Our values have never, ever changed to President Trump’s values. It was President Trump who changed and aligned with our values.
Beyond Trump, Oz and McCormick traded attacks on abortion rights, foreign policy, oil production, transgender athletes and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That’s where Mehmet Oz cracks me up, because I hear all these statements about Covid now, and he’s a guy who, on national TV, said the Chinese are doing a great job with the lockdown of Covid, who complimented Anthony Fauci as a great scientist and a great leader,” McCormick said.
“Anthony Fauci, who was the leader of this initial response, should be fired. I asked for it to be removed,” Oz refuted.
Barnette and Sands also had a number of intense exchanges. Sands attacked Barnette for losing her former election, while Barnette brought up election integrity – which could be why she lost.
McCormick and Oz declined to speak to reporters after the debate.
The Republican candidates will face off on May 17 in a primary for the seat, held by Republican incumbent Pat Toomey. Democrats will also have a competitive primary for the seat, and the race will be one of the highest-profile, and likely one of the most expensive, of November’s midterm elections.
This could represent the Democrats’ best chance of landing a seat held by the GOP.