When Kathy Barnette declared her candidacy for the vacant seat of Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey, tweeted that she is “running to become the first black Republican woman elected to the United States Senate.”
Barnette’s April announcement followed a failed run for Congress in a suburban Philadelphia district last year. Now the conservative commentator is part of a crowded and contentious field of Republican candidates hoping to win a race in America’s latest battleground.
Raised on a South Alabama pig farm with no insulation or running water, Barnette came to attention last month when her campaign finance report from the Federal Election Commission revealed that she indignant Jeff Bartos and Sean Parnell, both considered pioneers in the Republican primaries. Barnette’s campaign raised over $ 591,000 from 900 taxpayers mostly from out of state.
But the encouraging fundraising figures cannot erase the political realities of Pennsylvania, which favored Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race by 81,660 votes. Following Donald Trump’s similarly narrow victory in 2016, negative-voting Republicans have lost ground in suburban areas of the state, including past Republican strongholds in Greater Philadelphia, such as the County-based 4th Congressional District. Montgomery, where Barnette lost by nearly 20 percentage points the current Democrat Madeleine Dean.
To prevail in the primaries, followed by a competitive general election, Barnette would have to win victories among conservative voters in dark red counties that did not necessarily run for Trump in 2020. His campaign would also require making inroads among enough residents of the United States. Suburbs handing out tickets that reject both the GOP’s embrace of Trump and the left-wing leadership of the Democratic Party on issues like political correctness and public safety.
It is a daunting task for any candidate in this ideologically fragmented state. But it’s especially difficult for Barnette, whose rise as a Republican Senate candidate followed her questioning of the results of last year’s Congressional elections.
Like the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported, last November “Barnette and her supporters began knocking on hundreds of doors in … Montgomery County, looking for evidence that their defeat was tainted.” This certainly doesn’t bode well in Pennsylvania’s major and Democratic-controlled suburbs, where voters drove Biden’s victory across the state.
Barnette, who criticized the Inquirer report, responded that it raised more than $ 1 million (the average donation was $ 55) in a strongly Democratic district. “I had more Democrats who voted for me than for President Trump,” he told me.
In 2016, Toomey livestock re-election following the Republican blueprint that has evidently worked for decades in the Keystone state: getting suburban support through an emphasis on fiscal conservatism. As a self-styled warrior of culture, Barnette is a dramatic contrast, and perhaps what the state’s most right-leaning voters are looking for. When asked if the Republican Party should be the tax-cutting party, he replied, “I hope not,” later invoking the late-conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbart’s slogan “politics is post-culture.”
As it stands, Barnette focuses on three priorities. She believes that the Constitution, especially the first and second amendments, are “under attack” by the Biden administration. Fighting critical breed theory, followed by addressing freight costs and material shortages, are Barnette’s second and third main problems.
Speaking of CRT, Barnette said she would “join the chorus of voices within the House and Senate that are proposing legislation to ban it.” He added: “No federal dollar should be spent teaching our children to hate themselves, to be racist against their fellow citizens.”
Across Pennsylvania, parents with children in K-12 schools have protested “Anti-racism” curricula, which respondent as a matter of concern among voters. It may be a winning issue for Barnette and his fellow Republican candidates, such as Parnell, a retired US Army infantry captain. He said Fox News that the dogma “should not be close to our military.”
Regarding the shortage of the national supply chain, which paste The industrial regions of Pennsylvania harshly, Barnette discussed rising inflation. In fact, a recent Department of Commerce report indicates prices are rising rapidly after months of stimulus money infusions and COVID lockdowns.
As someone who has worked in the financial industry, including for Bank of America, Barnette is the kind of Republican one might see as a friend of big technology and big business. But he supports repeal of Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act, which grants legal immunity to websites if they remove content. He also believes in enforcing antitrust laws, like breaking up tech companies.
“These are very big platforms for how people choose to express themselves,” Barnette told me. “A big part of our freedom of expression is the platform that most people use to speak out and share their ideas. I think every honest observer sees the bias. ”He regretted the removal of Trump platforms by social media companies.
However, the former businesswoman took a more free-market position when asked about the possible negative implications of companies such as Amazon moving into communities, including closing family business closures and Social isolation.
Does Barnette think there should be more corporate regulations in Pennsylvania?
“I’m in favor of free enterprise, and if these businesses are doing well, and as the market judges them … this is what they want to bring to their communities, then the government shouldn’t necessarily violate that,” he said.
Barnette sees the clash between large and small companies “as a more local problem than a federal problem”, since “local companies, local ordinances, have the opportunity to vote whether or not they want to incorporate these big boxes.” Such a political position does not align with most figures on the populist right, such as Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.
In addition to the national debate over corporations, Pennsylvania figures crucially in the fight for the expansion of voter identification laws.
In late July, Republican state legislators Announced his reintroduction of an electoral reform bill that includes requiring voters to present valid identification at polling places. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who vetoed a similar bill in June, has since said that he is open to the new voter identification requirements. Surveys, including a recent Franklin & Marshall poll in Pennsylvania, they have shown voters overwhelmingly support for Identification mandates.
Barnette also supports them as a matter of practicality.
“I don’t know of any black person who doesn’t have an ID,” he said. “And I know a lot of black people with different educational backgrounds, different zip codes, economic situations, socioeconomic strata.” Barnette, evidently expressing his views on the 2020 elections, also said that “we have to clean up our voter rolls” as “the dead being allowed to stay is ridiculous.”
Barnette hopes to win a Republican primary in a state where Trump’s signage, even today, decorates the roads of working-class communities. Can you carry this enduring enthusiasm to the Senate? It remains to be seen, especially in a state with a long tradition of rewarding political restraint.