With Pat Toomey retiring, Pennsylvania is absolutely the Democrats' top spot to flip a seat and make up for the almost sure loss in New Hampshire, where brain-dead conservative Democrat Maggie Hassan voted against raising the minimum wage and has been abandoned by enough Democratic voters to defeat her. According to the most recent Franklin & Marshall poll, most Democrats (42%) don't know who they're going to vote for in the Pennsylvania primary. The frontrunner-- by far-- is progressive Lt. Governor John Fetterman with 33%, followed by conservative, GOP-lite Congressman Conor Lamb (12%), an equally worthless EMILY's List candidate, Val Arkoosh (6%) and another progressive, state Rep Malcolm Kenyatta (5%).
Republican voters are even less certain who they want as their nominee with a whopping 66% unsure, presumably waiting for Señor Trumpanzee to tell them what to do, although bother Trump and Trump Jr. have quietly endorsed Parnell. Some major Trump-world figures, though, have endorsed Barnette, including Michael Flynn, Sebastian Gorka and Vernon Jones.
• Sean Parnell- 14%
• Kathy Barnette- 6%
• Jeff Bartos- 4%
• Sean Gale- 3%
• Carla Sands 1%
• someone else- 7%
• unsure- 66%
I guess anti-Trump Republican ex-congressmen Charlie Dent and Ryan Costello haven't made up their minds yet. The NeverTrumper already in the race, former Arlen Spector chief of staff, isn't registering in any of the polling, even though he's been endorsed by big shots in NeverTrump world like Bill Kristol, Miles Taylor and Joe Walsh.
I don't know much about any of these Republicans other than right-wing warmonger and nut job author Sean Parnell. Fortunately, Nick Field from Decision Desk HQ assessed each Republican running.
Parnell is an Army Ranger who ran against Connor Lamb last year in PA-17, setting up a potential re-match. Parnell lost 48.9% to 51.1%, although he never conceded and was part of the effort to overturn the state’s official results.
An August Franklin & Marshall poll found Parnell leading the field with 14%. Conversely, 0% cited him as their second option, a possible indicator that his candidacy faces a hard ceiling.
Coming in second in that Franklin & Marshall survey with 6% was conservative commentator and author Kathy Barnette. Barnette, who has a number of Fox News appearances on her resume, was also the Republican nominee for the PA-4 Congressional race in 2020. Winning as an outspoken conservative in a D+9 district was always a long-shot, and she did end up losing by nineteen points, but it seems that enhanced visibility was her real goal. Discounting personal loans, Barnette raised more money in the last quarter than any other GOP candidate.
On paper at least, Bartos can make a strong case that he’s the Republican front-runner. The businessman already made the jump into the political arena when he became the GOP’s 2018 nominee for Lt. Governor. While his ticket lost 57.8% to 40.7%, he still gained experience running statewide as well as the support of his ticket-mate Scott Wagner. Bartos also scored the endorsement of Congressman Fred Keller and Treasurer Stacy Garrity.
Additionally, a stint as Chair of the PA GOP Finance Committee gives Bartos the financial connections necessary to support a statewide candidacy. Financial supremacy must be a major component to his strategy, given that he loaned his campaign $400,000 to ensure he posted two consecutive $1 million fundraising quarters.
Franklin & Marshall found Bartos in third with 4%, although there was a silver lining. When asked who their second choice would be, a plurality of 18% picked Bartos. He’ll need to use that cash to appeal to those who, while not yet behind him, are still open to supporting him.
Seeing Gale secure 3% in the F&M survey was a bit of a surprise. Sean and his older brother Joe are both seeking statewide office in 2022. Joe, who serves as the GOP representative on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, is running for Governor while younger brother Sean runs for Senate. Gale and Barnette will both be fighting over a dwindling share of Republican voters in Montgomery County as they seek to break from the pack.
We’ll finish with the intriguing case of Carla Sands. The ex-actress certainly has the cash to make a serious run. The widow of businessman Fred Sands, Carla now serves as CEO of Vintage Capital. She’s also got the requisite Trump connections, given that she sat on his economic advisory council and donated to his inauguration. As a reward for her support, Carla was appointed Ambassador to Denmark.
Yuck-- not just Sands, all of them. Sounds like a perfectly awful crew of Trumpist garbage. We haven't made a decision at Blue America yet but we're leaning towards Fetterman. Beware Conor Lamb. It would;dn't surprise me if Schumer jumps in on his side and there's no way he would win this election-- but that's Schumer. He can always be counted on to pick the wrong candidates.