Maybe money really can’t buy everything.
Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette appears to be dead just days before the May 17 primary, according to a new poll.
Barnette, a conservative commentator who has campaigned relentlessly on a tight budget, had the support of 23.2% of the probably GOP Voters in the poll released late Sunday by Republican Trafalgar Group. That put her right next to Oz (24.5%) and McCormick (21.6%). Allowing for a margin of error of 3 percentage points, the poll suggests that the candidates are effectively undecided.
The results are similar to those of an April Trafalgar poll and add to the evidence that Barnette has emerged as a likely alternative to her ultra-rich rivals Oz and McCormick. Although each of them spent more than $11 million a piece out of their own pocket, none of them could walk away with the race.
Montgomery County developer Jeff Bartos was a distant fourth in the poll with 7.2%, while Carla Sands, the former ambassador to Denmark, had 6.5% support.
Oz, the famous surgeon known as “Dr. Oz” and McCormick, an army veteran and former hedge fund CEO, have been blasting each other for months, potentially dragging each other down and leaving voters looking for an alternative.
Both men have also faced questions about their authenticity.
» READ MORE: Who Is Kathy Barnette, the Conservative Commentator Running for Senate?
Oz lived in New Jersey for decades before moving to Pennsylvania before his Senate term (he attended medical and business school in Philadelphia and his wife’s family is from the suburbs). During his election campaign, he had to repudiate numerous previous statements that broke with conservative orthodoxy on issues such as guns and abortion.
Former President Donald Trump backed Oz, but at a rally Friday, some Trump supporters booed the candidate.
McCormick, meanwhile, has tirelessly attempted to portray himself as an “America First” Republican in Trump’s vein, only for the former president to blast him as “the candidate of the special interests and the globalists and the Washington establishment” and undermine much of his message. He lived in Connecticut for years before returning to Pennsylvania to start his Senate campaign, although he grew up in Bloomsburg.
» READ MORE: Trump backs Pa Senate nominee Mehmet Oz – and declares rival David McCormick ‘not MAGA’
Barnette, with a personal story of rising out of poverty after growing up on a pig farm in Alabama, has criss-crossed the state in her campaign and has risen in the polls despite only spending about $1.6 million Has. She would be the first woman and the first black person to be elected to the Senate from Pennsylvania.
She has fought effectively in conservative circles for the past three years, including a failed race for a seat in the US House of Representatives in the Philadelphia suburbs in 2020, after losing that race by nearly 20 percent Points, she pursued a wide-ranging and baseless hunt for voter fraud in deeply democratic Montgomery County and served as a leader in the state’s vote-penalty movement.
Barnette has also closely linked her campaign to gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who has backed her and is leading the polls in the GOP gubernatorial primary, potentially boosting her standing.
A Trafalgar poll released Monday morning showed as much Mastriano in the gubernatorial primary with 27.6% of the vote, compared to 17.6% for former US Rep. Lou Barletta, 15.1% for former Delaware County Councilman Dave White, and 14.4% for former US Attorney Bill McSwain. That’s a bigger lead for Mastriano than in some other recent polls, although he and Barletta are consistently at the top in most polls.
The Senate poll polled 1,080 likely Republican voters Friday through Sunday.