Sunday morning talking heads

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania is 72 hours away and what was supposed to be a two-man race now involves three candidates. The upstart, Kathy Barnette, is the star guest this morning on “Fox News Sunday,” capitalizing on a bit of free national media to offset the enormous spending advantage Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick have over her. She’ll be pressed on her old tweets about gays and Muslims and how she feels as an “ultra MAGA” star hearing Donald Trump and Sean Hannity say she can’t win a general election.

The Times has been on the ground in Pennsylvania interviewing voters. Anecdotally, it’s not looking good for Oz, the candidate of the MAGA establishment:

Many voters said they were choosing who they believed would carry out Mr. Trump’s ideals, even if they and the former president disagreed on who could best accomplish that. And interviews showed how effectively Ms. Barnette, who has never held public office, had used her life story as a poor, Black child of the South to connect with white working-class voters in western Pennsylvania. At events and in her ads, Ms. Barnette often invokes the phrase “I am you.”

Many voters who said they planned to vote for Ms. Barnette struggled to remember her name and said they were supporting “that Black woman.” Those who said they were voting for her said they were unaware of or unbothered by her history of homophobic and anti-Muslim views. But her strong anti-abortion beliefs — Ms. Barnette calls herself a “byproduct of rape”— have been a key part of her appeal to white conservatives…

“She’s 100 percent on our side — close the border, pro-life,” Mr. Artzberger, 68, said of Ms. Barnette. “If she gets it, she’s going to be for the people.” Like many other Republicans in Butler County, Mr. Artzberger views Dr. Oz’s previous time in the spotlight with disdain.

What’s this country coming to when a True Conservative like Dr. Oz can’t get traction?

Speaking of Trump losing in a primary, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will chat with “State of the Union” about Trump’s recent failure to propel Charles Herbster to victory in his state’s GOP gubernatorial race. Ricketts is also planning to drop by Georgia this week and campaign for Brian Kemp in yet another thumb in the eye for the “great MAGA king.” He may have an interesting take on what all this means for Trump’s control over the party.

Finally, former Trump defense secretary Mark Esper will speak with “Face the Nation” about his new book and why he thinks his old boss is a threat to democracy. The full line-up is at the AP.