Trump, who is backing famed politician Mehmet Oz in the Republican primary, slammed insurgent candidate Kathy Barnette on Monday, alleging she hasn’t been fully vetted.
“People don’t know her,” Trump said of Barnette in an interview with The Washington Post. “She was not properly checked. She ran for Congress fairly recently and dropped about 20 points. Barnette, who aligned herself with many of Trump’s ideas despite not having his support, participated in the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6, 2021, the day the US Capitol was attacked by a pro-Trump mob.
Barnette did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks.
The former president reiterated that he was behind Oz “all the way”. He said he had a personal relationship with Oz and argued he would give Republicans the best shot at taking the seat in November. “I also think Oz will do better in the general election,” Trump said.
Trump also recorded a robocall in support of Oz that disparaged Barnette and another rival, businessman David McCormick. He called the latter an “insider who absolutely sold us out to China” and hit out at Barnette for a proposal she made during her losing 2020 campaign for a U.S. House seat to erect a statue of the Obama family in Washington. “It’s not good,” the former president said on the call. “These are not candidates who put America first.”
McCormick’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s attack. His campaign had previously responded to a similar attack from Trump by saying, “Dave’s proven track record will make him one of the strongest senators in Washington to hold China accountable and restore pro-growth policies, America first. Prior to running for the Senate, McCormick ran a hedge fund with significant investments in China.
Polls showed a competitive Republican race, with support for Barnette on the rise. Adding to tensions in the race, Barnette said Monday she would not support McCormick or Oz in the general election. “I have no intention of supporting the globalists,” Barnette told Breitbart News on Monday. “I believe we ran out of space on this runway for this spacecraft.”
Voters head to the polls in five states on Tuesday to choose candidates for November’s midterm elections. The vote will be the final test of Trump’s influence over his party.
The Senate race in Pennsylvania is one of many expected to consider which party controls the upper house of Congress next year. The retirement of Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) sparked the open race.
Fetterman, who polls show is far ahead in the Democratic race, said Sunday he suffered a stroke late last week and was recovering.
“I didn’t feel well, but I was so focused on the campaign that I ignored the signs and carried on. On Friday it finally caught up to me,” Fetterman said in a statement. “I had a stroke that was caused by a clot from my heart being in an A-fib rhythm for too long.”
Doctors at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital were able to “quickly and completely remove the clot,” he added in his statement. He said his doctors told him he “didn’t have any cognitive damage.”
Uncertainty surrounding the details of his return to the campaign trail loomed over the race in the final hours before voters were ready to cast their ballots. Rep. Conor Lamb and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, two Democrats running against Fetterman, wished him a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, Trump’s influence with Republicans was being tested in other states as well.
In North Carolina, he defended Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Monday even as members of his party denounced the GOP rookie as a fame-seeking fabulist.
“He’s made some stupid mistakes lately, which I don’t believe he’ll make again,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, the media site he launched this year but rarely contributed to. “Let’s give Madison a second chance!”
Some local Democrats urged their constituents to draw a Republican ballot to beat Cawthorn, and polls for State Sen. Chuck Edwards showed him having a chance of forcing the congressman to a runoff. To avoid this, Cawthorn must win more than 30% of the vote.
Also in North Carolina, Trump endorsed Representative Ted Budd in the GOP primary to replace Senator Richard Burr, a Republican who is retiring. Polls in the final weeks of the race showed Budd taking a lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory.
In Idaho, while Trump endorsed Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s challenge to Gov. Brad Little (R), he did not campaign there and McGeachin raised little money to fund a far-right campaign which called for a complete ban on abortion. — and included video recorded for attendees at a white nationalist conference.
The Idaho conservatives were more optimistic about their chances of unseating another Republican, Rep. Mike Simpson, who is on the ballot for the first time since voting against GOP challenges in the 2020 election. and since backing last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. One challenger, Bryan Smith, loaned his campaign nearly $330,000 to fund Simpson-ripping ads.
Many of Tuesday’s most expensive races were in safe Democratic neighborhoods, where the party’s left wing is trying to expand its influence and where well-funded centrist PACs have invested resources to stop them.
In Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district, which covers Louisville, retired Democrat John Yarmuth has endorsed state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) to succeed him. McGarvey entered the race after State Representative Attica Scott (D), who would be the first black member of Congress from the Commonwealth, set up a campaign.
Both candidates supported Liberal priorities such as Medicare for All and legal marijuana, but McGarvey raised far more money than Scott, spending more than $1 million when she spent less than $200,000. dollars. And McGarvey has benefited from the support of Protect Our Future, a new PAC largely funded by 30-year-old cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried – although McGarvey said he knew little about the group initially.
“It’s kind of scary, as a candidate,” McGarvey admitted at a Louisville forum last week, “because we don’t know what they’re going to do, what they’re going to say, or how they will do it.”
Protect Our Future has spent big in other Tuesday primaries, making its biggest splash in Oregon, where it spent at least $11 million supporting pandemic preparedness researcher Carrick Flynn on a crowded Democratic field. in the new 6th congressional district outside of Portland. A number of liberal groups have backed state Rep. Andrea Salinas, as well as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which has attacked the PAC for trying to block Oregon from electing its first Latino congressman.
Outside money also shaped the primary in the state’s new 5th congressional district, which stretches from Salem to Bend. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), a leader of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, takes on Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a liberal lawyer and emergency response expert.
Four of the district’s five county Democratic parties endorsed McLeod-Skinner, who calls the incumbent the “Joe Manchin of Oregon,” because of his support for drug companies and his vote to scrap a prescription drug plan from social spending passed by the House last year. invoice.
“People are really angry about his votes and the fact that he won’t recognize it,” McLeod-Skinner said in an interview last month, shortly before ballots were sent out for the election by correspondence.
The party left faces another test in Pennsylvania, where the US Israel Public Affairs Committee and its PAC have been spending big bucks to help attorney Steve Irwin in a close race against state Rep. Summer Lee . The Pittsburgh-based 12th congressional district was drawn to elect a Democrat, and Irwin, a moderate who has occasionally donated to Republicans, is endorsed by Rep. Mike Doyle (D), who is retiring.
Lee, a Democratic socialist who would be the first black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress, has touted herself as a potential ally of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The ad campaign against her portrayed her as a treacherous Democrat who wouldn’t do anything in Washington, an argument Sanders flew to Pittsburgh last week to refute.
In North Carolina, outside spending has shaped two races for open Democratic seats — the competitive 1st congressional district and the deep blue 4th district. In the 1st, liberal groups backed former state senator Erica Smith over state senator Don Davis, with NARAL Pro-Choice America and other Smith supporters attacking the anti-abortion voting record of Davis.
AIPAC supports Davis in this race and has placed itself behind State Senator Valerie Foushee in the 4th District.
Annie Linskey in Charlotte contributed to this report.