clearn.png
Friday January 27th, 2023 8:14PM

Trump rallies for Oz, Mastriano in Pa. amid midterm worries

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MYERSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Larry Mitko voted for Donald Trump in 2016. But the Republican from Beaver County in western Pennsylvania says he has no plans to back his party's nominee for Senate, Dr. Mehmet Oz — “no way, no how.”

Mitko doesn’t feel like he knows the celebrity heart surgeon, who only narrowly won his May primary with Trump's backing. Instead, Mitko plans to vote for Oz's Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a name he's been familiar with since Fetterman’s days as mayor of nearby Braddock.

“Dr. Oz hasn’t showed me one thing to get me to vote for him,” he said. “I won’t vote for someone I don’t know."

Mitko's thinking underscores the political challenges facing Trump and the rest of the Republican Party as the former president heads to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for his first rally of the general election season.

While Trump's endorsed picks won many Republican primaries this summer, many of the candidates he backed were inexperienced and polarizing figures now struggling in their November races. That's putting Senate control — once assumed to be a lock for Republicans — on the line.

Among those candidates are Oz in Pennsylvania, author JD Vance in Ohio, venture capitalist Blake Masters in Arizona and former football star Herschel Walker in Georgia.

“Republicans have now nominated a number of candidates who've never run for office before for very high-profile Senate races," said veteran Republican pollster Whit Ayres. While he isn't writing his party's chances off just yet, he said, “It’s a much more difficult endeavor than a candidate who had won several difficult political races before."

The stakes are particularly high for Trump as he lays the groundwork for an expected 2024 presidential run amid a series of escalating legal challenges, including the FBI's recent seizure of classified documents from his Florida home. Investigators also continue to probe his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

This past week, President Joe Biden gave a prime-time speech in Philadelphia warning that Trump and other “MAGA” Republicans — the acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — posed a threat to U.S. democracy. Biden has tried to frame the upcoming vote, as he did the 2020 election, as a battle for the "soul of the nation.” Biden's Labor Day visit to Pittsburgh will be his third to the state within a week, a sign of Pennsylvania’s election-year importance.

While Republicans were once seen as having a good chance of gaining control of both chambers of Congress in November amid soaring inflation, high gas prices and Biden's slumping approval ratings, Republicans have found themselves on defense since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion rights.

Some candidates, like Doug Mastriano, the GOP's hard-line nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, are sticking with their primary campaign playbooks, hoping they can win by turning out Trump's loyal base even if they alienate more moderate voters.

Mastriano, who wants to outlaw abortion even when pregnancies are the result of rape or incest or endanger the life of the mother, played a leading role in Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election and was seen outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as pro-Trump rioters stormed the building.

But others have been trying to broaden their appeal, scrubbing from their websites references to anti-abortion messaging that is out of step with the political mainstream. Masters, for instance, removed language from a policy section of his website that labeled him “100% pro-life,” as well as language saying, “if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today." Others have played down Trump endorsements that were once featured prominently.

The shifting climate has prompted rounds of finger-pointing in the party, including from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who last month cited “candidate quality” as he lowered expectations that Republicans would recapture control of the Senate in November.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said those who complain about the party's nominees have “contempt” for the voters who chose them.

“It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause,“ he wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner.

Trump, too, fired back, calling McConnell a “disgrace” as he defended the party's candidate roster.

“There's some very good people,” he said in a radio interview. “You know, takes a lot of courage to run and they spend their wealth on it and they put their reputations on the line.”

Democrats have also piled on.

“Senate campaigns are candidate versus candidate battles and Republicans have put forward a roster of deeply flawed recruits," said David Bergstein, the Senate Democratic campaign committee's communication director. He credited Trump with deterring experienced Republicans from running, elevating flawed candidates and forcing them to take positions that are out of step with the general electorate.

"All those factors have contributed to the weakness of the slate of Republican candidates they’ve been left with," he said. A Trump spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans are hoping Oz's shortcomings as a candidate will be overshadowed by concerns about Fetterman, who suffered a stroke just days before the primary and has been sidelined for much of the summer. He continues to keep a light public schedule and visibly struggled to speak at a recent event.

Republicans acknowledge that Oz struggles to come off as authentic and was slow to punch back as Fetterman spent the summer trolling him on social media and portraying him as an out-of-touch carpetbagger from New Jersey.

While Fetterman, whom Republicans deride as “Bernie Sanders in gym shorts,” leads Oz in polls and fundraising, Republicans say they expect the money gap to narrow and are pleased to see Oz within striking distance after getting hammered by $20 million in negative advertising during the primaries.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is helping finance a new round of Oz’s television ads, and the Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-aligned super political action committee, says it added $9.5 million to its TV buy — boosting its overall commitment to $34.1 million by Election Day.

“Regardless of what people may have heard in the primary, they’re going to realize that Oz is the best choice for Pennsylvania,” said Pennsylvania Republican National Committeeman Andy Reilly.

A super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says it has made $32 million in television ad reservations in the state.

Oz has won over some once-skeptical voters, like Glen Rubendall, who didn’t vote for the TV doctor in his seven-way primary — a victory so narrow it went to a statewide recount — but said he’s come around.

“I’ve been listening to him speak, and I have a pro-Oz view now,” said Rubendall, a retired state corrections officer.

Traci Martin, a registered independent, also plans to vote for Oz because she opposes abortion, despite ads that aired during the primary featuring past Oz statements that seemed supportive of abortion rights.

“I hope he is (anti-abortion),” Martin said, “but the sad part is we live in an age when we see politicians say one thing and do another.”

___

Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko in Washington contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump rallies for Oz, Mastriano in Pa. amid midterm worries
Former president Donald Trump heads to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Saturday for his first rally of the general election season
12:16AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Serena Williams loses to Tomljanovic in US Open farewell
Serena Williams has lost what is expected to be the last match of her transcendent tennis career
12:15AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Old Dominion does it again, beats Virginia Tech 20-17
Blake Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 33 seconds to play and Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech for the second time in as many tries on its home field, 20-17
12:13AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Serena thanks parents, praises Venus | US Open updates
Serena Williams tearfully thanked her parents after a loss in what’s expected to be her final match
11:10PM ( 1 hour ago )
Apparent assassination attempt against VP roils Argentina
An apparent assassination attempt against Argentina’s powerful Vice President Cristina Fernández has shaken the country and threatened to further roil its tumultuous political scene
10:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
Border Patrol: 8 migrants found dead in Rio Grande at Texas
At least eight migrants were killed as dozens attempted a hazardous crossing of the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, officials said Friday
10:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Serena loses first set vs Tomljanovic | US Open updates
Serena Williams has lost the first set of her third-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic
8:15PM ( 4 hours ago )
Thousands told to flee 3 towns ahead of fast California fire
Authorities say a fast-moving fire in Northern California is threatening hundreds of homes and at least 5,000 residents across three communities have been ordered to leave immediately
6:59PM ( 5 hours ago )
College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams by '26 season
The College Football Playoff that determines the national champion is expanding from four teams to 12
6:54PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
US OKs $1B arms sale to Taiwan as tensions rise with China
The Biden administration has announced a more than $1 billion arms sale to Taiwan as U.S.-China tensions escalate over the status of the island
8:18PM ( 4 hours ago )
John Harwood exits CNN amid changes at the news channel
CNN White House correspondent John Harwood says he’s exiting the news channel
7:05PM ( 5 hours ago )
Biden seeks $47B for Ukraine, COVID-19, monkeypox, disasters
President Joe Biden is asking Congress to provide more than $47 billion in emergency dollars that would go toward the war in Ukraine, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing monkeypox outbreak and help for recent natural disasters in Kentucky and other states
5:15PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
White House seeks $13.7 billion more for Ukraine
President Joe Biden is asking Congress to provide $13.7 billion in emergency dollars for Ukraine as U.S. aid to the war-torn country is running out
12:35PM ( 12 hours ago )
Extremist lawmaker surges ahead of elections in Israel
An extremist Israeli lawmaker who was once relegated to the margins of Israeli politics is surging in the polls ahead of the country's November elections
2:09AM ( 22 hours ago )
Nissan eager to leverage US tax credit on electric vehicles
Nissan says it's aggressively pushing electric vehicles to take advantage of a new U.S. law that gives up to $7,500 in tax credits
10:42PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Trump White House lawyer arrives for Jan. 6 grand jury
The White House counsel under then-President Donald Trump has arrived for his appearance before a federal grand jury investigating efforts to undo the 2020 presidential election
11:38AM ( 13 hours ago )
Myanmar court convicts Suu Kyi of vote fraud, adds jail time
A court in Myanmar has sentenced the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to three years' imprisonment after finding her guilty of involvement in election fraud
3:42AM ( 20 hours ago )
Myanmar court sentences Suu Kyi to 3 years for voting fraud
A court in Myanmar has sentenced the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to three years' imprisonment after finding her guilty of involvement in election fraud
1:24AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Elections
Lawyers in Trump White House to appear before 1/6 grand jury
The White House counsel under former President Donald Trump and his top deputy are set to appear before a federal grand jury investigating efforts to undo the 2020 presidential election
12:43PM ( 1 day ago )
Biden's prime-time speech to call out Trump, his loyalists
The November elections are less than 10 weeks away, and President Joe Biden plans to use a prime-time speech Thursday night at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to frame them as part of an ongoing battle for what he's calling the “soul of the nation.”
9:30AM ( 1 day ago )
Peltola beats Palin, wins Alaska House special election
Democrat Mary Peltola has won the special election for Alaska’s only U.S. House seat, besting a field that included Republican Sarah Palin
4:26AM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
South African president hit by tough questions in parliament
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa faced a grilling by lawmakers in Parliament as they demanded answers from him on his handling of the theft of millions of dollars from his farm
2:57PM ( 3 days ago )
Angolan opposition UNITA rejects ruling party's election win
Angola’s opposition party has filed a complaint against the election victory of the ruling MPLA party in which President Joao Lourenco won a second term and the party got a reduced majority in the legislature
12:59PM ( 3 days ago )
Lebanon presidential candidate backs anti-Hezbollah platform
A granddaughter of a former Lebanese president has announced her long shot candidacy for the cash-strapped country's upcoming presidential elections
10:25AM ( 4 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Oz's Senate bid could be a Muslim first but is 'complicated'
If Dr. Mehmet Oz is elected to the U.S. Senate this fall, he'll be the first Muslim to serve in the chamber
1:04AM ( 1 week ago )
Oz sharpens attack on Fetterman health after 'crudites' flub
Dr. Mehmet Oz is taking a sharper tone in attacking the health of Democrat John Fetterman in their Pennsylvania Senate race
2:45PM ( 1 week ago )
Florida Democrats choose Rep. Crist to challenge DeSantis
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has won the Democratic nomination for governor in Florida, putting him in position to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis this fall in a campaign the Republican incumbent is eyeing as the first step toward a potential White House run
6:11AM ( 1 week ago )
General Senate Election News
Serena Williams loses to Tomljanovic in US Open farewell
Serena Williams has lost what is expected to be the last match of her transcendent tennis career
12:15AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Old Dominion does it again, beats Virginia Tech 20-17
Blake Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 33 seconds to play and Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech for the second time in as many tries on its home field, 20-17
12:13AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Northern California wildfire burns homes, causes injuries
A California fire official says “several people” have been injured in fast-moving Northern California wildfire
11:48PM ( 50 minutes ago )
Rays beat Yankees 9-0 to move within 5 games in AL East
Jeffrey Springs pitched neatly into the sixth inning, Christian Bethancourt hit a two-run homer in the seventh, and the Tampa Bay Rays moved within five games of the AL East-leading New York Yankees with a 9-0 victory
11:41PM ( 57 minutes ago )
D'Arnaud hits 2 of Braves' 5 homers in 8-1 win over Marlins
Travis d’Arnaud and Vaughn Grissom homered off Sandy Alcantara in a four-run fourth inning, Michael Harris II homered in the sixth and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, tying a season-high with five long balls in an 8-1 win over the Miami Marlins
11:39PM ( 58 minutes ago )