NEWTOWN, Pa. — Kathy Barnette, a previously little-known Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania whose underdog campaign has vaulted into surprising contention, made her pitch to a full house on Wednesday night at a candidate forum in Newtown within the eastern a part of the state.
Ms. Barnette, a conservative commentator within the Trump style who has a history of incendiary remarks and has amplified the previous president’s stolen-election lie, has been climbing within the polls against two big-spending rivals, Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick.
With Election Day on Tuesday drawing closer, Ms. Barnette was amongst 15 Republican candidates running for local, state and federal elections who addressed voters on the forum. (Dr. Oz attended, too.)
In front of a standing room-only crowd on the warehouse-size indoor athletic complex, she said that her newfound momentum was more about them than her. “You could have made me relevant,” she said. “People feel squeezed without delay, and our country is in trouble.”
“I’m you,” she added. “I come from some very humble beginnings.”
As she waited to deal with the group on the event, run by Bucks First! America First!, a gaggle hoping to elect a slate of conservative candidates to the Republican State Committee, a gentle stream of supporters approached her, hoping for a selfie.
“I really like her story,” said Christine Heitman, a 50-year-old software engineer.
Ms. Barnette shared it with the a whole lot of voters gathered.
“Pig farm. Alabama, in a house with no insulation, no running water,” she said. “Outhouse within the back and a well on the side. But this country allowed me to give you the option to create a special narrative for myself. My children do not know what it looks like to face in front of an empty refrigerator door and wonder where their next meal goes to return from.”
Her story, and her hard-line conservative politics, appealed to voters here. Eric Fasci said he first met Ms. Barnette a couple of 12 months before she began her campaign, and he was immediately enthralled. “She’s very addictive,” said Mr. Fasci, 49, who shares Ms. Barnette’s opposition to abortion. “She’s pure. She’s honest. She’s direct.”
Sally Schlotter, 58, walked away with 4 of Ms. Barnette’s lawn signs.
“I like her stance on pro-life,” Ms. Schlotter said. “I just like the indisputable fact that she’s no nonsense.”
The candidates spoke in alphabetical order, leaving Dr. Oz second to last. Mr. McCormick was not in attendance.
Dr. Oz began with criticism of President Biden and ended with an attack on Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
“Joe Biden, the one thing he’s built back higher is the Republican Party,” Dr. Oz said. “But to be able to fight Joe Biden we now have to know why Washington keeps getting it flawed. And I feel they get it flawed because they don’t have our values. They don’t know our values here in Bucks County.”