Where Do Pennsylvania’s US Senate Candidates Stand on Trump’s ‘Big Lie?’

Dr. Oz, Carla Sands, and David McCormick are the three leading candidates in the Republican Senate Primary in Pennsylvania

By Patrick Berkery

April 28, 2022

Pennsylvania was a flashpoint for Donald Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. What do Republicans running for US Senate from the state think?

Not one of the four Democratic candidates running for US Senate in Pennsylvania believe in Donald Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

No surprise there.

Meanwhile, three of the seven GOP candidates have rejected President Joe Biden’s victory, supported Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, and/or called for an audit of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results.

Three others have skillfully danced around the question when asked, or refused to answer.

No surprise there, either.

“It’s just an entirely next level of performance art, and it’s all grounded in the knowledge that everyone that’s engaging in it knows that they are lying,” Lt. Gov. and Democratic candidate John Fetterman told Vanity Fair in January about the election denials coming from his rival GOP candidates. 

Let’s take a look at where the Republicans running for US Senate from Pennsylvania stand on Trump’s “big lie.”

Kathy Barnette

Kathy Barnette’s 2020 loss to Madeleine Dean in the race for Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District sent the former educator-turned-conservative pundit on a quest to uncover election fraud in Montgomery County

While she found zero evidence, some feel the conspiracy theories Barnette floated lit the fuse that sent Trump on a frenzy about voter fraud in the commonwealth, and prompted state Republicans’ “forensic investigation” into Pennsylvania voter information. 

Jeff Bartos

Jeff Bartos is unique in that he acknowledges that Biden won Pennsylvania and the presidency, but also favors an investigation of the 2020 election. Specifically, he questions the credibility of mail-in ballots — even though he has said that his entire family voted by mail.  

And when asked by The Philadelphia Inquirer if he would vote to certify the results of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results, Bartos was mum.

George Bochetto

George Bochetto has acknowledged Biden’s victory and said there “is no substantial evidence to demonstrate that the election was stolen.” He has said he would have voted to certify the 2020 election results; he is the only Republican candidate to have said so.

Sean Gale

Sean Gale hasn’t gone on record about the 2020 election. But in this campaign ad, he chastises outgoing Republican US Senator Pat Toomey for supporting “a 2020 election outcome riddled with serious concerns and questions.”

He also clearly seems unwilling to acknowledge President Joe Biden’s victory in this Facebook photo taken outside the former Lancaster home of President James Buchannan.” Or, as Gale refers to him, “the only President elected from Pennsylvania.”

Where Do Pennsylvania’s US Senate Candidates Stand on Trump’s ‘Big Lie?’

David McCormick

On his campaign website, David McCormick pledges to “ensure Pennsylvania has Voter ID requirements, absentee ballot signature verification, and that election observers have the right to meaningfully observe elections to ensure they are free and fair.”

Party-line stuff. But does he support Trump’s big lie?

A reporter from Bloomberg asked that question of McCormick directly four times for this feature and the candidate never answered, saying only that “I think that within Pennsylvania, certainly there were lots of doubts” regarding election integrity.

Mehmet Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz has remained silent on the subject of the 2020 election. And since he recently gained Trump’s endorsement, he’s not about to cross the ex-president now.

On his campaign website, Oz pays vague lip service to the GOP’s notion of free and fair elections, and says he supports voter ID.

Carla Sands

Carla Sands didn’t answer when asked by the Inquirer if she would have signed off on Pennsylvania’ 2020 election results.

Read into that what you will about her stance on the 2020 election, along with the fact that Sands was appointed by Trump as US ambassador to Denmark in 2017. 

Like Oz, she tows the party line on elections. From her campaign website: “Carla will work to secure our elections by stopping the federalization of our elections and work to ban Mark Zuckerburg and his friends from stealing our elections.”


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