May 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kathy Barnette's Senate campaign fizzles out

Kathy Barnette. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Kathy Barnette's Senate candidacy fizzled out on Tuesday, appearing headed to a third place finish behind Trump-backed Dr. Oz and hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick.

Between the lines: The Oz-McCormick race was too close to call as of 11:00pm ET on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The longshot candidate surged in the last weeks of the campaign with her compelling life story — which still hasn't faced deep scrutiny — while winning accolades from some Trumpworld figures for her "ultra-MAGA" beliefs.

  • Barnette’s past bigoted statements have come to light in recent weeks, including attacks on gay people and Islam. She also refused to concede her 2020 U.S. House race, echoing baseless claims about fraud in her own election and the presidential contest and attended the rally on Jan. 6 in Washington D.C.

State of play: Barnette's sudden rise panicked Republican operatives, kicking off a wild scramble to destroy her chances in the final stretch of the campaign, as Axios' Jonathan Swan, Lachlan Markay and Andrew Solender reported.

  • Former President Trump waded into the fray himself last week, saying that Barnette would be unable to win the general election because "she has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted."
  • Trump promised that he would "be behind her all the way" if she was able to explain discrepancies in her background.

The big picture: The race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is one of the most closely watched in the nation and could decide control of the chamber.

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