Barnette, who is running for the GOP Senate nomination in the state, has been locked in a fierce battle with Oz and Dave McCormick, the latter of whom has moved into third place in most polls. Now, she’s letting it be known that she will not support any of the other Republicans if she loses the primary.
— Sy Snyder (@PoliticsPA) May 16, 2022
This is a big red flag, not because it’s not acceptable to have principled disagreements with competitors in a primary, but because the ultimate goal has to be delivering control of the Senate to Republicans. In the grand scheme of things, it simply doesn’t matter whether the senator from Pennsylvania is Barnette, Oz, or McCormick as long as the GOP has the power to stop Biden’s radical judges and nominees going forward.
Again, that’s not to say you shouldn’t vote your conscience in the primary. Of course, you should, and if that’s Kathy Barnette for some people, pull the lever for her. Yet, just as much as the gloves must come off during a primary, they must go back on when the balance of power nationally is at stake and the general election kicks into gear. That Barnette is saying she’d help nuke the GOP’s chances of regaining the Senate if she loses fair and square is not the way.
I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a fan of Oz, and in fact, I’ve been largely complimentary of Barnette, but this changes things for me. We need nominees who understand the power dynamics at play and are willing to do what’s necessary to ensure victory. This isn’t middle school, and no candidate, even if they lose a primary, should just take their ball and go home. While I understand the skepticism toward GOP leadership, it is imperative given the state of the country and where we are headed that Republicans take the Senate and have the ability to block damaging legislation and judges.
Just as I would expect Trump and Oz to support Barnette, she should give them her support if that’s how the chips fall. That she doesn’t want to do that makes me question whether she has the strategic vision and ability to hold the office she’s running for. As much as I dislike globalism, the stakes are too high to get into a drawn-out slap fight when the race gets real. Hopefully, Barnette reconsiders her position if she doesn’t come out on top Tuesday evening.