(WHTM) — Five Republican candidates vying for Pennsylvania’s open United States Senate seat will take the stage on Monday, April 25, to debate for one hour starting at 8 p.m.
All candidates on the ballot who meet eligibility criteria were invited to participate. Candidates who have committed to attend include Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, Dave McCormick, Mehmet Oz, and Carla Sands.
The debate will both air and live-stream in 10 markets across Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Maryland, reaching 9.8 million TV and streaming households in every county of the Keystone State.
The one hour debate will air on eight television stations serving the state: WHTM-TV (ABC) in Harrisburg/Lancaster, Lebanon, York, WPXI-TV (NBC) in Pittsburgh, WPHL-TV (MyNetworkTV) in Philadelphia, WTAJ-TV (CBS) in Johnstown/Altoona/State College, WBRE-TV (NBC) and WYOU-TV (CBS) in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton, WJET-TV (ABC) and WFXP-TV (FOX) in Erie, and MyYTV in Youngstown, OH.
|WHTM-TV||ABC||Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, PA||Abc27.com||@abc27news|
|WBRE-TV||NBC||Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, PA||Pahomepage.com||@eyewitnessnewstv|
|WTAJ-TV||CBS||Johnstown, Altoona, State College, PA||Wearecentralpa.com||@wtajtv|
WHTM abc27 News anchor and Capitol Bureau Reporter Dennis Owens and WPXI Anchor Lisa Sylvester co-host the debate from the abc27 studio in Harrisburg.
In addition, the debate will be live-streamed on WETM-TV (NBC) in Elmira, NY, WPIX-TV (CW) in New York, NY, WIVB-TV (CBS) in Buffalo, NY, and WDVM-TV (IND) in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Senate Debate stream on the following websites:
|Station||Network||Market (Counties)||Station Website||Social|
|WETM-TV||NBC||Elmira, NY (Tioga)||Mytwintiers.com||@wetm18news|
|WPIX-TV||CW||New York, NY (Monroe)||Pix11.com||@pix11news|
|WIVB-TV||CBS||Buffalo, NY (McKean, Potter)||Wivb.com||@News4buffalo|
|WDVM-TV||IND||Washington, DC (Fulton)||Localdvm.com||@wdvmtv|
Additionally, all radio stations throughout the commonwealth will be provided free access regardless of their market.
Ahead of the debates, catch up on each candidate that will participate on Monday night, below:
Once the host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and attending physician at NY Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center, candidate Mehmet Oz announced his candidacy in December 2021. Since then, he has been a front runner in the Republican field ahead of the May 17 primary election.
In a recent WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania primary poll of 1,000 very likely Republican voters, Oz came in second with 16.6% behind candidate David McCormick who received 17.8% of the voters’ support.
When undecided voters in the poll were allocated to who they lean toward, Oz’s percentage of voters increased to 20.6%. The poll was conducted prior to former President Donald Trump announcing his endorsement for Oz in early April.
In a poll conducted after Trump’s endorsement, which was conducted by The Trafalgar Group, Oz led the Senate candidates, receiving 22.7% of the 1,074 likely Republican Primary voters with McCormick tailing behind him. Oz also led in a Franklin & Marshall poll, which was almost done with data gathering when Trump announced his endorsement. Oz received 16% of voter support.
According to Q1 financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, Oz also leads the Republican candidates with the most amount raised in the first three months of 2022. He received $2,375,164.64 in the first quarter and has received $13,431,080.20 since the start of his campaign.
While he is not the only multimillionaire in the Republican primary field, Oz did report that he amassed assets worth more than $100 million, including homes, stock, life insurance, and connections to his in-laws’ tree-trimming empire. His filing was a part of a financial disclosure form required of all candidates for Senate.
In the media, Oz has faced scrutiny for not residing in Pennsylvania. He currently resides in New Jersey. He has also faced criticism from a key rival in the race for his Turkish citizenship, which he says he will renounce before being sworn into Senate if he wins.
On his campaign website, Oz says, if elected, he will reverse Biden’s failed agenda, incorporate financial literacy from an early age into education criteria, secure the border to stop “ghost flights” or flights with “illegal immigrants,” from entering Pennsylvania airports, and support the Second Amendment.
Another frequent frontrunner, often neck-and-neck with Oz, is former hedge fund CEO, Dave McCormick. Since he announced his run for Senate, McCormick has been endorsed by Pennsylvania Senior Republican Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, former Senate candidate Sean Parnell, and others.
In the recent WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll, McCormick finished first in the Senate race with 17.8%. Taking into account how undecided voters would lean, McCormick’s lead in the poll increased to 27.2%.
While McCormick led in the WHTM poll, he fell to second, coming in behind Oz in other recent polls. In the Trafalgar Group poll, McCormick came in second with 19.7% of the voters’ support, and in the poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall, McCormick received 15% of the votes, just 1% behind Oz.
As the CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, McCormick reported that he earned more than $22 million last year. After quitting the position to run for Senate, McCormick raised $11.3 million since his campaign started.
Similar to Oz, McCormick has been criticized for not recently living in Pennsylvania. In an interview with abc7’s Dennis Owens, McCormick responded by highlighting his background as a “seventh-generation Pennsylvanian.”
In the tight race between Oz and McCormick, the lead-up to the primary has grown increasingly tense and personal.
As previously reported by TheHill, Oz has thrown barbs McCormick’s way over his former hedge fund’s ties to China, a top boogeyman in U.S. politics, and released ads highlighting past comments praising Beijing.
McCormick and his allies have deflected the charge, claiming the business experience makes him better able to tackle issues surrounding Beijing, and ramped up his criticism of China.
On his campaign website, McCormick says, if elected, he will lower taxes on working-class Americans, bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, support mining coal and promote policies to cultivate natural gas production, finish building “The Wall” to secure the border, and work to ensure Pennsylvania has Voter ID requirements.
When she announced her candidacy in July 2021, former President Trump’s Danish Ambassador, Carla Sands, said “The race is getting real. Others are in the race as well but I told [former President Donald Trump] I’m the only one that’s not a RINO but can also get elected.”
Recently, in response to not receiving Trump’s endorsement, the Cumberland Valley High School graduate said, “I don’t think the President is getting very good advice. If you don’t want to send a RINO to represent us, I hope you’ll choose me, I’ll never let you down.”
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania primary poll, Sands came in fifth amongst the candidates debating on Monday. She received 7.7% of the voters’ support. She also received the fifth-highest percentage of voters in the Franklin & Marshall poll, coming in behind candidate Jeff Bartos with 5%.
Her percentage of support did increase in the Trafalgar Group poll. She moved into fourth with 11.2%, pushing Bartos into the fifth-place spot.
According to Q1 financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, Sands raised the third-highest amount behind McCormick and Fetterman with $103,193.13 in the first three months of 2022 and $4,625,022.26 since her campaign started.
Democrats have painted Sands as a carpetbagging Trump surrogate who’s out of touch with the working class and likely to vote against their interests. Sands has vowed to fight what she calls the radical Biden-Harris agenda.
“We see open borders, gas up more than a dollar a gallon just since they came into office. We see cancel culture critical race theory where our kids are being indoctrinated not educated,” Sands said.
On her campaign website, Sands says, if elected, she wants to be “Pennsylvania unwavering energy Senator” and will utilize an “America First Platform.”
Rounding out the top three in recent polls, former adjunct professor of corporate finance and a regular commentator for Fox News, Kathy Barnette, joined the race in April 2021.
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania poll, Barnette came in third with 10.2% of likely Republican voters’ support. When taking into account the undecided voters and who they said they will lean toward, Barnette’s support increased to 14.8%.
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, noted, “Republican women voters are more supportive of Bartos (20%) and Barnette (17%) than their male counterparts.”
In the Traglagar Group poll, Barnette’s support increased to 18.4%, just 1.3% behind McCormick. However, the gap between McCormick and Barnette was larger in the Franklin & Marshall conducted poll with Barnette sitting at 7%.
According to the Q1 financial filings, Barnette has received $356,463.80 since the start of 2022 and has received $1,585,548.71 since the start of her campaign.
During a live interview with a WTAJ anchor, Barnette highlighted why she stands out from the other candidates saying, “We need people to go to D.C. who have a backbone made of something sturdier than ear cartilage, who will stand up and fight for us knowing what to do is not generally the hard thing. It is deciding I’m going to do what is right. Even though the party or lobbyists or bureaucrats are telling me to do the opposite.”
On her campaign website, Barnette says, if elected, she will create an economy where corporations don’t have to leave the county to flee the onerous tax system, encourage states to take control of their own healthcare systems, secure the border with a wall, technology, and personnel, and work to secure elections by stopping the federalization of our elections.
Despite recently undergoing surgery to remove his thyroid after a routine doctor’s appointment located a nodule, senate candidate Jeff Bartos will be at the debate Monday night.
Bartos came in behind Barnette, receiving 8.9% of voters’ support in the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania poll. However, when adding in the undecided voters who said they are leaning toward Bartos, he surpassed Barnette with 17.1% of the voters’ support.
According to Kimball, Bartos is the leading Republican candidate among female voters, receiving 20% of their support. In the Trafalgar Group poll, Bartos came in fifth with 7.7% of the voters, and in Franklin & Marshall’s poll he came in fourth with 6% of the voters’ support.
As previously reported by WTAJ, at a dinner in Blair County, Bartos said he’s running on the actions he’s already taken to help Pennsylvanians. Bartos established the 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit that provides forgivable loans to small businesses that were struggling during the pandemic. It’s an idea that he says was born in Blair County.
“During the pandemic while others were living in Colorado or Connecticut or other places…I had my sleeves rolled up on main streets across all 67 counties,” Bartos said. “Raising money and getting it out the door to save small businesses.”
Bartos did not outline his issues on his campaign website. Tune in on Monday night to learn more about where he stands.
The primary election for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania is scheduled to take place on May 17. Voters must register to vote by May 2.
To register to vote, please visit https://www.vote.pa.gov/Register-to-Vote. For more information regarding the upcoming elections, including early voting dates, polling locations and voter identification requirements, please visit https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov.