Barnette, outspent underdog, may benefit from undecided voters in PA

Barnette, outspent underdog, may benefit from undecided voters in PA

Barnette, outspent underdog, may benefit from undecided voters in PA

A conservative activist is closely watching a U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania, where she is supporting a late-blooming candidate who is climbing in the polls.

According to RealClearPolitics, Republican frontrunner Dr. Mehmet Oz is still leading in a big field of primary candidates. Polls by Fox News and by Trafalgar show him leading with 22% and 25% respectively, and a poll of likely GOP voters by a Fox affiliate in Philadelphia gives Oz 23%.

Gramley, Diane (AFA of Pennsylvania) Gramley

That survey by Fox29 shows 25.9% of 750 voters said they remain undecided in a primary that is next week, May 17, which may be good news for Kathy Barnette (pictured above). The author, Fox News commentator, and U.S. Army veteran is running second in the same RCP polls with only two points separating her from the well-known and better-financed frontrunner.

Diane Gramley, who leads American Family Association of Pennsylvania, told AFN in April she was supporting Barnette over the other candidates and that endorsement has not wavered.

“Kathy Barnette is surging in the polls, especially after the debate last week at Grove City College,” Gramley says. “And she proved again that she's the best candidate out there."

Oz, a cardiac surgeon who owes his fame and fortune to Oprah Winfrey and daytime TV, received Donald Trump’s endorsement despite a history of expressing Democrat-sounding views on abortion and the Second Amendment. It is also no secret that Oz, a native of Pennsylvania, has been living in New Jersey for decades. He registered to vote absentee in 2021 using the address of his in-laws in Montgomery County.

Barnette, 50, was rising in the polls and in public recognition when she disclosed during last week’s debate she was the “byproduct” of rape.

“I was not just a lump of cells,” she said onstage. “As you can see, I’m still not just a lump of cells​.”

Barnette used that moment in the debate to ding Oz for his flip-flopping position on abortion, especially since the cardiac surgeon, in a 2019 radio interview, dismissed pro-life “heartbeat” bills because the fetal heart beat at an early stage is more like an electrical pulse.

“I am wondering if the good doctor,” Barnette told Oz, and the GOP voters watching the debate, “has now since changed his position on that.”

According to the candidate score cards at iVoterGuide, Barnette is rated a “Conservative” and Oz is rated a “Moderate.”

According to Gramley, Oz is using the talking points and catch-phrases that conservative voters expect to hear from candidates but she predicts primary voters, in the end, will see through him.

“I believe that conservatives are smarter than that,” she tells AFN. "And they're not accepting the rhetoric that's coming from him."

However, Maria Gallagher of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Political Action Committee says Oz has definitely changed his tune and is now pro-life.

"He's backed that up in many debates, on his website, in interviews, [and] in questionnaires," she told AFN last week. "Dr. Oz is pro-life, and we welcome him to the pro-life movement. We're very thankful that Dr. Oz is pro-life."