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(LifeSiteNews) — Six months ago, the Pennsylvania Senate race, recognized early as one of the most competitive, must-win elections of the 2022 midterms, seemed destined, in most ironic fashion, for a fairly predictable primary season.
Democrats, in their ongoing embrace of the hardcore left, would nominate John Fetterman, the Commonwealth’s salt-of-the-earth lieutenant governor and a natural favorite among progressives, staving off what would prove a futile challenge from the middle in the form of Conor Lamb, a young Congressman once thought to be a rising star in the party but who’s made almost zero impression in the time since taking office.
Republicans, on the other hand, seemed headed towards a similarly inevitable conclusion: With pro-impeachment incumbent Pat Toomey opting to retire after a series of feckless votes that were bound to deter what little support remained among the conservative base, Sean Parnell, an Army veteran who lost a close House race to Lamb in 2020 but won an early endorsement from President Trump for 2022, seemed all but certain to ride the MAGA wave to victory.
And yet today, with Pennsylvanians finally headed to the polls to select their nominees for this all-important Senate seat, there’s never been more uncertainty about how this thing will actually play out.
That is, on Republican side, where uncertainty always reigns king.
Back in November, the GOP’s ship was left without a captain when Parnell suddenly withdrew from the campaign in the midst of a brutal custody battle, tossing the entire race into politically precarious territory.
Still in the running were a field of lesser-known prospects including Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer and 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor; Carla Sands, Trump’s ambassador to Denmark from 2017 to 2021; and Kathy Barnette, an Army Reserves veteran and political commentator known for her appearances on Fox News. None, however enjoyed the same levels of name recognition or fundraising capability that Parnell did, leaving the field without a frontrunner for the first time in nearly a half a year.
In the aftermath of the leak of the Supreme Court majority opinion draft overruling Roe v. Wade, lawless vandals backed by the abortion lobby and pro-abortion politicians have launched riots and violent attacks on pro-life entities across America, from pregnancy centers to churches, and even targeted Justices' homes.
This widespread, organized effort not only sets a dangerous standard for how groups and individuals may opt to stage demonstrations going forward, but begs the question of how the pro-abortion crowd would behave if and when the Supreme Court officially overturns Roe later this summer.
And, worst of all, the White House has largely turned a blind eye to these riots, with Joe Biden -- who at one time claimed to be personally opposed to abortion due to his Catholic faith -- now acting as the foremost advocate for unfettered abortion access in America.
Biden's nonexistent response must be addressed, and the White House needs to know that the American people demand better from their supposed "leader."
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition calling on Joe Biden to stop beating around the bush and finally issue a formal statement condemning the violent riots and attacks on pro-life institutions across our country in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court majority opinion draft overturning Roe v. Wade.
Over Mother's Day weekend, pro-abortion attacks broke out across America, with increasingly depraved activists targeting pregnancy centers, pro-life advocacy organizations, and churches with either disruptive demonstrations or, in some cases, vandalism and outright violence.
Among the most barbaric occurrences was the vicious attack on Wisconsin Family Action, a pro-life group headquartered in Madison, where vandals threw a Molotov cocktail into an office window, started a fire on one of its walls, and left a threatening graffiti message reading "If abortions aren't safe then you aren't either."
Review a FULL LIST of other appalling attacks HERE.
They even descended upon the homes of Supreme Court Justices like Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who appear poised to formally issue the final blow to Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks, after publishing a map with their private addresses.
The case, which was decided nearly 50 years ago in 1973, saw members of the bench fabricate a constitutional "right" to abortion, depriving individual states from crafting their own laws to protect life. However, should Roe, as expected, be overturned, the matter of abortion would be returned to the states, where it always belonged, giving lawmakers the ability to propose legislation that would either place strong restrictions on the procedure or, in some cases, ban it outright.
And while, of course, freedom of speech must be protected and defended for all Americans, demonstrations that devolve into vandalism, rioting, the use of intimidation tactics against members of the judiciary (or anyone else, for that matter), or violence in any form must NEVER be tolerated.
But the White House seems to be taking a different approach...
It wasn't until Monday afternoon that Press Secretary Jen Psaki finally acknowledged the threat posed to Supreme Court Justices by out-of-control pro-abotion activists, claiming that "judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety."
This is true, but it took Psaki an entire week to make any semblance of a definitive statement about the White House's position on this urgent matter. In fact, Psaki previously refused to discourage the targeting of Justices' homes when asked, insisting that pro-abortion groups were staging "peaceful protests" instead; she even failed to condemn the leak itself -- an unprecedented breach of trust and rejection of institutional norms that could permanently damage the standing of the court and its ability to function as an apolitical body.
And, of course, Joe Biden, himself, has been virtually silent on the matter, failing to effectively speak out against these riots and reassure the American people that those who seek to vandalize property and perpetrate violence will be held legally accountable for their actions by the Department of Justice.
This is entirely unacceptable behavior from a commander-in-chief, and as political allies like Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (rather ironically) incite insurrection by labeling the Supreme Court's pending decision a "call to arms," the American people must demand that Joe Biden clarify where he stands, and whose side he's really on.
The rule of law must be upheld and applied equally, and that means calling out radical anti-life rioters and ensuring there are consequences for their violent outbursts and destruction of property across the country.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition calling on Joe Biden to condemn these rioters, and direct the U.S. Department of Justice to take action that will hold them accountable for their actions under the law.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
'‘Rise up, fight back’: Pro-abortion protesters descend upon Justice Alito’s house over imminent abortion ruling' (LifeSiteNews)
**Photo Credit: Shutterstock
But that opening didn’t last long. Within a week, popular cardiothoracic surgeon and daytime talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, dubbed “America’s Doctor,” announced his bid for the seat on the heels of reports indicating that he’d begun hiring campaign staff earlier in the month. Even so, his plan to run as an “America First” Republican came as a shock to many given his background in television – an industry that hasn’t exactly been a breeding ground for conservatism in any form.
Oz entered the primary as the favorite, nonetheless, leading most polls at the time due to his near-universal name recognition alone; however, most surveys showed a significant portion of the electorate remained undecided.
By January, though, a second name started to circulate: Dave McCormick, the CEO of Bridgewater Associates, a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund, and former Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs under George W. Bush, jumped into the race, as well, setting up what most analysts predicted would be a one-on-one showdown between two heavyweight candidates in the now wide-open primary field.
As candidates, Oz and McCormick brought similar assets to the table, foremost among them the ability to not only raise the funds necessary to compete in both the primary and general elections, but also to self-fundas an expedient means to get their candidacies off the ground at the outset. This apparent advantage, however, would ignite an exceedingly negative slugfest that ultimately would carry both men to primary day.
As of today, Oz and McCormick’s campaigns have spent a combined $22.83 million on advertising – much of it negative – with an additional $25.39 million in ads coming from Super PACs aligned with both candidates, already securing Pennsylvania’s status as one of the most expensive Senate races of the year.
While McCormick hit out at Oz as an opportunistic Hollywood liberal masquerading as a conservative and Oz painted McCormick as an establishment insider with ties to major Chinese corporations, an overlapping tenet of both men’s messaging has been their attempts to out-Trump each other, while simultaneously wooing the 45th president for his much-coveted endorsement.
Those months of lobbying, both public and private, produced the desired result for one contender, when Trump, whom many assumed would remain neutral through the primary, officially backed Oz on April 10, emphasizing his ability to appeal to voters in Pennsylvania’s two largest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, who wouldn’t normally vote Republican, and, in turn, giving him the best chance of defeating Fetterman in the general election.
Trump’s endorsement was enough to propel Oz back to a narrow but steady lead in polling after briefly losing the top spot to McCormick, but the campaign took yet another surprising turn when the five leading candidates gathered for the final debate of the primary season on May 4 – just one day after the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s majority decision overturning Roe v. Wade went public.
When Kathy Barnette, who would be the first black Republican woman elected to the U.S. Senate, mentioned that she had been conceived in rape after the candidates were asked about their pro-life credentials, most mainstream news outlets treated her admission as a bombshell revelation, even though she’d consistently mentioned it on the campaign trail.
In fact, Barnette and I discussed it at length during a one-on-one interview back in October.
“I am the byproduct of a rape,” she declared during the debate. “My mother was 11 years old when I was conceived. My father was 21. I was not just a lump of cells. As you can see, I’m still not just a lump of cells. My life has value.”
As a result, the moment went viral, and almost immediately catapulted Barnette, who’d been vastly overlooked by her opponents, into contention, shaking up an already unpredictable contest with an eleventh-hour surge from a candidate who spent only $189k on advertising, and less than $2 million total.
In the last two weeks alone, no fewer than half a dozen polls have showed her within one to five points of the lead, with McCormick falling to third in most cases, but still within the margin of error, making the Republican primary a statistical three-way tie for first place.
But the reality remains that, even despite her near nonexistence on television and in most widely circulated publications, Barnette still made enough of an impression to consistently hang onto third place in most polling since the start of the campaign – typically no more than ten or so points behind Oz and McCormick, who dumped millions into advertising campaigns meant to define each other, all while allowing a third, often disregarded prospect to define herself.
Of course, Barnette’s new status as a co-frontrunner has resulted in a mad dash by all parties – literally and figuratively – to take on that responsibility in a matter of mere days, which, as we’ll find out tonight, could prove either an advantage or disadvantage for Barnette.
On one hand, last-ditch attacks by her opponents may well have the opposite of their desired effect. They could drum up enough votes for Barnette from those who’d been wary of both Oz and McCormick from the get-go to keep her momentum going strong into primary day and ending in a grassroots, shoestring budget victory once the votes have been tallied.
On the other hand, an electorate that finds itself largely concerned with nominating, as William F. Buckley characterized it in 1967, “the most right [conservative], viable candidate who could win,” may also find itself unable to adequately navigate the sudden criticisms of Barnette – ranging from incendiary tweets sent nearly a decade ago to her supposed support for the installation of a Barack Obama statue in Washington, DC’s Lincoln Park – in a manner that could translate to sufficient support at the polls.
Even President Trump recorded a last minute robocall to Republican voters in Pennsylvania encouraging support for Oz and opposition to Barnette, undoubtedly casting further doubt on her candidacy among the MAGA base, which she desperately needs to break – in large numbers – from Oz to claim victory.
Regardless of the final result, if there’s a lesson to be learned by the ensuing chaos of the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary, it’s that lightning can (and will) strike in the political process every now and then – and most often when people, from voters to analysts and even other candidates, least expect it.
Likewise, it also raises the reemerging question of just how many more times we’ll allow ourselves to be surprised when it does happen.
In this case, it’s Kathy Barnette who, win or lose, finds herself the source of a major, under-the-wire shift in the fundamentals of a crucial election that may well determine who controls Congress next January.
As far as predictions go, I, personally, would surmise that her rise will mark the collapse of McCormick, making what was once a guaranteed two-man race an extraordinary showdown between the Trump-endorsed Oz and the “ultra-MAGA” Barnette.
“MAGA does not belong to President Trump,” Barnette remarked during the same debate that marked the beginning of her rise.
“Although he coined the word, MAGA actually belongs to the people. Our values never, never shifted to President Trump’s values. It was President Trump who shifted and aligned with our values.”
Time will tell. But one way or the other, tonight’s results will be a good indicator.