A Black woman for the GOP

Posted: May 17, 2022 by chrisharper in politics
Tags: ,

By Christopher Harper

Today’s GOP primary here in Pennsylvania, particularly in the U.S. Senate race, underlines the unpredictability of the state’s Republican Party.

Seven candidates are vying for the ability to replace Pat Toomey, a significant disappointment for many Republicans.

David McCormick, a former hedge-fund executive, has millions of dollars to spend, but his close ties to China make him unpalatable even though he has been at or near the top of the polls. Moreover, his connections are mainly to New Jersey rather than Pennsylvania.

Mehmet Oz, a surgeon and a television talk show host, has the support of President Trump. But Oz’s past statements in support of abortion and other liberal issues have offended many conservatives in the state.

As a result, Kathy Barnette, a former soldier and Fox News analyst, has gained traction in recent weeks.

This trio stands atop the polls in what has become one of the most expensive and dirtiest campaigns in Pennsylvania’s history.

Barnette has been the recent target of such attacks, including her tweets about Islam and gays.

“My phone is blowing up with people who never call who are asking who they should vote for,” said Doug McLinko, a Bradford County commissioner and local Republican Party official in northern Pennsylvania.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, McLinko said he has rarely seen as much confusion and indecision among conservatives. “Spending all this money to attack each other isn’t helpful because it has confused the voters,” he said. “I’ve never seen such a mess.”

If successful, Barnette would be the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate as a Republican. During the campaign, she has questioned the commitment of her better-funded rivals on abortion and other conservative causes.

 “I am the byproduct of a rape,” she said in one debate, as she criticized Oz for past support of abortion. “My mother was 11 years old when I was conceived. My father was 21. I was not just a lump of cells.”

Barnette said she was raised on a pig farm in Alabama that lacked running water.

In her book, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America, Barnette argues that liberal policies have failed the Black community. 

I think Republicans need someone different to set the party apart from the Democrats. A Black woman from a hardscrabble background might make a powerful candidate against the Democrats, who depend heavily on the Black communities in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. 

Club for Growth Action, a conservative super PAC, has endorsed Barnette and placed an order for $2 million in advertising in support of her. Barnette, who lost a bid to join U.S. House of Representatives in 2020, also won the backing of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group.

Conventional wisdom argues that a Black female Republican will have difficulty beating the likely Democrat John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor. But Fetterman suffered a stroke over the weekend and may not be as formidable as many experts think. 

I don’t think conventional wisdom and experts work much anymore. As a result, I plan to vote for Barnette. I think she might be just the right candidate to keep the seat in Republican hands. 

Comments are closed.