Republican Senate Candidat Jeff Bartos from Pennsylvania claims that his main rivals in the GOP nomination race for the key battleground state’s open seats are “political tourists”.
Bartos, who is also a real estate developer and philanthropist was nominated by the Republican Party as the lieutenant- governor candidate in 2018. The plan called “Pennsylvania First”, and it was unveiled by the candidate this week. He also gave an interview to Fox News and shared his Keystone State roots through a digital advertisement and in a new statewide video.
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The contrast between the races is quite clear. “We have candidates that parachuted in Pennsylvania to pursue their goals,” Bartos claimed during his interview. “I’ve been referring to them as political tourists or Airbnb candidates.”
Bartos launched last March his campaign to succeed retired GOP Senator Pat Toomey. This race could decide whether Republicans win the Senate majority this year.
“I’m running to continue to serve Pennsylvania while others are running for Pennsylvania to serve them,” he charged.
While Bartos didn’t name names, it’s pretty clear whom he was targeting.
Mehmet Oz, the well-known celebrity surgeon is likely to be at the top. The cardiac surgeon, author and host of TV’s “Dr. Oz Show” five weeks ago jumped into the race as he declared his candidacy.
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Oz lived for years in New Jersey, but his campaign notes he registered to vote as a Republican a year ago in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County, using the home of his wife’s parents in the affluent Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Athyn as his residence. Election records show that he cast absentee votes twice in Pennsylvania between 2021 and 2022. Oz lived in the Keystone State decades ago, as he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school and Wharton business school in 1986.
Responding to Bartos comments, the Oz campaign stated that Dr. Oz was focused on giving power to Pennsylvanians as well as winning back the Senate majority in favor of Republicans.
Bartos could also have been referring to David McCormick who is a former official of the Treasury Department in President George W. Bush’s administration and a former executive at a hedge fund, West Point, combat veteran, and former Treasury Department official. He’s expected to start a Senate within days. McCormick last month established an exploratory panel and has been airing TV commercials for the past few weeks. This week, McCormick resigned his position as CEO at Connecticut-based Bridgewater Associates ahead of a possible campaign announcement.
McCormick, whose wife Dina Powell McCormick was a top national security adviser in former President Trump’s administration, grew up in Pennsylvania, where his family has deep roots, but has lived in Connecticut in recent years. McCormicks have recently purchased a Pittsburgh home.
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Carla Sands was another rival, serving as Ambassador to Denmark in the Trump Administration. This Pennsylvanian native lived in California for most of her adult life, becoming a television and movie star and chiropractor. Before marrying Fred Sands, a prominent Republican campaign donor and real-estate mogul.
After her husband died, Sands assumed control of his real estate investment company and raised money for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Following her time as Denmark’s ambassador, Sands moved to Pennsylvania.
Bartos mentioned in the interview that he was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. He and Sheryl raised their children and began their business in Montgomery County.
Bartos stated, “For me this entire campaign has always been about salvaging Main Street Pennsylvania.”
“For us, the Pennsylvania First plan is an expansion of that effort,” he noted, “to take the learning and to take the issue that we hear about every day on the campaign trail from our fellow Pennsylvanians and make sure that we’re putting those concerns, those worries, those hopes and dreams into action, into a plan that addresses the issues most important to Pennsylvanians.”
Bartos’ plan proposes to address key issues facing Republican voters such as immigration and crime, political security, economic prosperity, and dealing with China’s threats. Bartos lauds his close ties with the state at the end of his plan. He claims that he stands alone in having strong ties to it and has a history of creating jobs for the state.
It’s a similar theme in the candidate’s digital ad which spotlights his plan.
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Bartos told Fox News that he’ll be pushing the same theme in the weeks and months ahead in TV and radio ads to “make sure the voters of Pennsylvania know the contrast between” him and his rivals, who he once again negatively characterized as “these political tourists.”
Bartos was one of the eight GOP candidate candidates in the primary on May 17. Seven Democrats are running for their party’s Senate nomination, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Rep. Conor Lamb.