Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News AM, when I came across this item about an ad attacking Kathy Barnette, a super-Trumpy candidate in the Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary.
→ USA Freedom Fund, which is funded, at least in part, by Club for Growth Action, has a new ad running in Pittsburgh slamming Kathy Barnette for being a “woke Republican” who wants to build a statue of former President Barack Obama. This is ironic since Barnette has a long history of attacking Obama, including repeated false accusations that he’s a Muslim.
What the hell, Doc – are we totally through the looking glass at this point?
We’re not just through the looking glass, we’re deep into Queen of Hearts Off With Their Heads territory.
That’s what’s going on in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary right now. Medical fraud Mehmet Oz (the Doc, of all people, should know) and MAGA fraud Dave McCormick have spent a combined $28 million on ads blowtorching one another, as WHYY’s Katie Meyer has reported.
[McCormick] has raised nearly $16 million — $11 million was a loan from himself — and spent more than $14 million, chiefly on big ad buys.
That doesn’t count money from Honor Pennsylvania, a super PAC spending on McCormick’s behalf — primarily funding ads attacking Oz. The PAC has spent more than $11 million . . .
[Oz has] loaned himself more than $12 million, and he’s pulled in another $3 million or so from donors. He’s also supported by a PAC, American Leadership Action, that has spent nearly $3.5 million to oppose McCormick.
Also like McCormick, Oz has spent around $14 million, primarily on ads.
It’s a campaign classic: 1) Candidate A spends all his time telling voters Candidate B is a bum. 2) Candidate B returns the favor. 3) Voters believe them both and turn to Candidate C. (See Carol Moseley Braun’s improbable 1992 U.S. Senate victory in Illinois for further details.)
Candidate C in Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate race is Kathy Barnette, “a conservative Christian commentator with a history of advocating, among other things, that the U.S. reject Muslim immigrants and that abortion be completely banned. She’s also a high-profile proponent of baseless voter fraud theories, and is running to the right of the rest of the field,” according to Meyer.
Beyond that, Barnette is surging in the polls, despite having spent a paltry $137,000 on campaign ads so far and despite Donald Trump’s endorsement of Oz. New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina captured the current dynamic in this piece.
Many voters said they were choosing who they believed would carry out Mr. Trump’s ideals, even if they and the former president disagreed on who could best accomplish that. And interviews showed how effectively Ms. Barnette, who has never held public office, had used her life story as a poor, Black child of the South to connect with white working-class voters in western Pennsylvania. At events and in her ads, Ms. Barnette often invokes the phrase “I am you.”
Other conservatives, however, are attacking Barnette. The super PAC USA Freedom Fund is running this ad accusing her of being a “woke Republican” for proposing a statue of Barack Obama in D.C.
PolitiFact has labeled the ad “mostly true.”
[USA Freedom Fund] claimed “Kathy Barnette wants to build a statue of Barack Obama right next to the one of Abraham Lincoln on Capitol Hill.”
Barnette said she did propose a statue of Obama and his family, but she never voted for him, or backed his policies. Her idea was to use three statues to show how far Black people have come since the time of slavery.
The statement is accurate but needs clarification. We rate this claim Mostly True.
But the “woke Republican” label is a joke, given Barnette’s anti-Muslim, homophobic, Big Lie track record.