The polls opened on May 17 for the closely-watched primary elections for the U.S. Senate and the governor’s seat in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is term-limited, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R) is retiring. Voters in the Keystone State will determine who meets in the general election to fill the seats.
In the U.S. Senate race, the Donald Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz has spent $12 million of his own funds on the campaign. Hedge fund executive and former U.S. Treasury Department official David McCormick has poured $11 million into the hotly contested race.
Kathy Barnette, a U.S. Army Reserves veteran, and commentator, has operated her quest to become Pennsylvania’s next U.S. Senator on a shoestring budget after raising $1.7 million. In May, she emerged as a contender to Oz and McCormick.
Her ascent in the race is attributed to a powerful personal life story that includes a personal climb out of poverty, being a child conceived from rape, which has shaped her staunch pro-life stance. Barnette has picked up support from conservative groups, including the well-funded Club for Growth Action super PAC.
In a new Emerson College poll released on May 16, Barnette tallied 24 percent support, with Oz leading with 28 percent and McCormick with 21 percent support.
According to the survey, 15 percent are undecided.
When undecided voters who lean toward a specific candidate are included in the poll, Oz is in first place with 32 percent, followed by Barnette with 27 percent and McCormick at 26 percent.
Last week, Trump discouraged voters from supporting Barnette.
“Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left Democrats,” Trump said in a statement. “Dr. Oz is the only one who will be able to easily defeat the crazed, lunatic Democrat in Pennsylvania. A vote for anyone else in the primary is a vote against victory in the fall!”