EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — From Your Local Election Headquarters. The race for a Pennsylvania Senate seat will take center stage Monday night as five Republican candidates will square off in a live statewide televised debate.

The debate will be broadcast from 8:00 to 9:00, Monday night from our sister Nexstar station in Harrisburg, WHTM. The candidates are seeking the seat currently held by Republican Pat Toomey, who is not running for re-election.

Political observers say this seat could help shift the balance of power in Washington, a so-called ‘flip seat.’

Last week, the Democrat candidates faced off. And Monday night it’s the Republicans’ turn. This race has heated up in recent weeks with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz.

The race for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania Senate has seen the candidates crisscross the Keystone state.

Debating face to face will be Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dave McCormick, Jeff Bartos, Kathy Barnette, and Carla Sands. Recent polling shows Oz and McCormick neck and neck, out in front of the pack.

But those same polls show a large number of undecided voters yet to be had. Eyewitness News spoke with political scientist Dr. Dave Sosar. He says Barnette, Sands, and Bartos have to use this debate to gain voter support.

“They’ve got to break through, they’ve got to get their names in front of the people. To rise up in the polls in these last few days,” said Sosar.

Earlier this month, former President Donald Trump endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz. Dr. Sosar says the endorsement had an immediate impact on polls.

“The Trump endorsement showed probably most important in what’s known as the republican pollsters. The Trafalgar polls took Oz from 18 percent to 21 percent, 23 percent from 21 and dropped McCormick down to 26 percent dropped him down to 21,” said Dr. Sosar.

But Dr. Sosar says, ‘will that endorsement be a game changer moving forward?’

“So it had an influence now, will it continue on?,” questioned Dr. Sosar.

As for the topics he thinks all five candidates will focus on Monday night…

“They’re going to be talking about the economy. Talking about gas prices, they are going to be talking about all those They are talking about it in the bars and family dinner tables. Talking about the high cost of everything, about jobs, talking about inflation,” said Dr. Sosar.

You can watch the live debate on WBRE/WYOU at 8:00 Monday night, and then at 9:00 Eyewitness News will present ‘This Week in Pennsylvania Debate Night’ on WBRE. Both events will be live streamed.

Eyewitness News will talk with a political analyst, as well as an active member of the GOP about their take on the debate and the campaign moving forward to the May 17 primary.

We will also have a special edition of Eyewitness News on WBRE at 9:30 p.m.