Attacks dominate Pennsylvania’s Senate GOP primary debate

May 4, 2022, 7:20 AM | Updated: 9:32 pm
Kathy Barnette, Mehmet Oz, moderator Greta Van Susteren, Carla Sands, David McCormick, and Jeff Bar...

Kathy Barnette, Mehmet Oz, moderator Greta Van Susteren, Carla Sands, David McCormick, and Jeff Bartos, (left to right) pose for photo before they take part in a debate for Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Republican candidates, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Grove City, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — What could be the final primary debate between Republicans running for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat devolved into a string of attacks over China, abortion and more as the candidates stretched Wednesday night for any perceived advantage in a wide-open and expensive race.

In many cases, the five candidates blew off questions during the hour-long debate in favor of repeating talking points and attacking rivals.

Attackers often tried to make hay out of the business ties to China by former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and Mehmet Oz, best known as the heart surgeon-turned-celebrity and host of daytime TV’s “The Dr. Oz Show.”

Abortion made one question at the debate, despite headlines being dominated in the wake of a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion suggesting the court’s conservative majority is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

The candidates called themselves “pro-life” and applauded the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but none responded directly to the sole question on abortion: whether the candidates support any exceptions for abortion and if they have changed their opinion over the years.

Instead, McCormick and conservative activist Kathy Barnette tried to paint Oz as insufficiently loyal to the anti-abortion cause because of comments on a 2019 radio show in which Oz said most people support the standard set in 1973’s Roe v. Wade opinion. That standard bans abortion after the fetus is viable outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

In the appearance on “The Breakfast Club” morning show on New York’s WWPR-FM, Oz said he did not want anyone in his family having an abortion and seemed to criticize the idea of banning abortion just because a heartbeat is detected — which usually happens at around six weeks of pregnancy.

He also criticized the broader fight over abortion and suggested that states that do ban abortion will see businesses flee the state.

At the debate, Oz insisted he is pro-life and said “life starts at conception,” a talking point for anti-abortion groups that want to ban abortion of any diagnosed pregnancy.

Barnette has special cachet on the topic: she has told of being the product of rape when her mother was 11 and repeated that story at the debate.

“I was not just a lump of cells,” Barnette said. “As you can see, I’m still not just a lump of cells.”

The primary is May 17, leaving the candidates less than two weeks to distinguish themselves as spending exceeds an eye-popping $60 million in the Republican primary.

The debate was sponsored by the conservative broadcaster Newsmax and held in a packed auditorium at a private Christian school, Grove City College in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Oz is endorsed by Donald Trump and is attending a rally with the former president in western Pennsylvania on Friday.

Meanwhile, McCormick has significant establishment ties going back to his service at the highest ranks of former President George W. Bush’s administration.

At other points, Oz and Bartos suggested that McCormick’s former hedge fund is responsible for billions in debt at the state’s largest public pension fund that began piling up two decades ago amid a market downturn and inadequate contributions by the state.

In reality, the hedge fund — while making nearly $700 million in fees going back to 2004 — often met expectations on its investments, according to pension system officials.

Barnette, at another point, called McCormick and Oz “globalists” and tried to tie them to the World Economic Forum — which has been the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Oz told Barnette.

“Globalist” is a derogatory term with an antisemitic origin adopted by Trump and others in his orbit to conjure up an elite, international coterie that doesn’t serve America’s best interests.

___

Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at twitter.com/ap_politics

___

Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at twitter.com/timelywriter

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announces a new federal office of envir...
Associated Press

Biden administration launches environmental justice office

WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) — Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vuci...
Associated Press

EU candidate Serbia and Russia sign foreign policy agreement

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia has signed an agreement with Russia for mutual “consultations” on foreign policy matters, the Balkan country’s media reported Saturday. Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic signed the agreement Friday along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, where most […]
2 days ago
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General A...
Associated Press

On Ukraine, Russia repeats insistence that it had no choice

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia made its case to the world Saturday for its war in Ukraine, repeating a series of grievances about its neighbor and the West to tell the U.N. General Assembly meeting of leaders that Moscow had “no choice” but to take military action. At the heart of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s […]
2 days ago
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Defense Department shows Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo. The solide...
Associated Press

Soldier who went missing during Korean War accounted for

BOSTON (AP) — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War and was later reported to have died in a prisoner of war camp has been accounted for using modern scientific techniques, military officials said. Army Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo, 19, of East Boston, was accounted for in August, according to a […]
2 days ago
FILE - Roger Waters performs at the United Center on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Chicago. Polish med...
Associated Press

Pink Floyd founder cancels Poland concerts after war remarks

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has canceled concerts planned in Poland amid outrage over his stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, Polish media reported Saturday. An official with the Tauron Arena in Krakow, where Waters was scheduled to perform two concerts in April, said they would no longer take place. “Roger […]
2 days ago
A model wears a creation as part of the Dolce & Gabbana women's Spring Summer 2023 collection prese...
Associated Press

Kim Kardashian culls Dolce & Gabbana archives for Milan show

MILAN (AP) — Kim Kardashian took Milan by storm on Saturday, curating a new collection for Dolce & Gabbana that took inspiration from 20 years of archival looks. It was a day of debuts in Milan, including Maximilian Davis, a 27-yeaer-old British designer with Afro-Caribbean roots, at the creative helm of Salvatore Ferragamo and Filipino […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Attacks dominate Pennsylvania’s Senate GOP primary debate