Rick Klein on the TAKE
The next seven days could be the most crucial of the primary season, especially for Republicans, who have a number of Senate races coming up in which President Donald Trump’s endorsements have raised concerns about the types of candidates the party will field this year.
Pennsylvania voters will sort through a tumultuous Senate GOP battle on Tuesday. Dr. Mehmet Oz’s Senate nomination has opened an odd path for Kathy Barnette, a Black veteran with an incredible personal background but a long history of contentious words and activities, including the disclosure Monday that she marched with protestors into the Capitol last January 6.
Even before that contest is decided, Republicans are worried about the Georgia primary next Tuesday. Trump’s endorsement of Herschel Walker for Senate puts him in a dominating position in a campaign in which he has mainly avoided debates with GOP competitors and refused to tackle charges of domestic violence, physical threats against women, and stalking.
“There’s a pattern of deflect, defer, run, hide, twist,” Gary Black, the Georgia agriculture commissioner and Walker’s top-polling Republican candidate, told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff for a report that will appear on “Nightline” on Tuesday. “It is unfit for service in the Senate of the United States. In my judgement, the majority of Georgians will agree.”
Walker, according to Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, must to answer problems made about his past before the primary next Tuesday: “If he doesn’t, I believe it will be a difficult election day in Georgia in November, and we will send, unfortunately, another Democrat to represent us as a U.S. senator.”
Walker and his campaign claim that he has recovered from his mistakes and accepted responsibility for them. His team termed bringing up previous claims “an obvious political attack job” in a statement supplied to ABC News, and said Walker has addressed his past in a book in a 2008 interview with Woodruff.
Unlike in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, the national Republican establishment has decided not to campaign against Trump in Georgia. Many assumed Walker would be a strong candidate to unite the party against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., because of his celebrity and ties to Trump.
Trump is particularly interested in Georgia, which he lost in November 2020 and where he continues to falsely allege the election was rigged against him. Many Republicans haven’t forgotten that, or how Trump’s misleading allegations may have sunk turnout to the point where the GOP lost both Senate seats in the January 2021 runoffs.
Averi Harper on the RUNDOWN
Many have criticised the mainstream of white “replacement theory” in the context of the racially motivated shooting rampage at a Buffalo supermarket.
The conspiracy theory is based on the idea that population change and immigration are being used to reduce white people’s influence by outnumbering them. It was the subject of the 180-page manifesto written by the suspected Buffalo shooter, which promoted racist and antisemitic views. The ten people killed in the rampage were all black.
While there is a long history in our nation of racially motivated threats and violence associated with people of colour pursuing and obtaining political power, the severity of this argument has grown in recent years in the dark corners of the internet.
Some far-right politicians have used elements of the idea to rally their supporters. Conservative news organisations have likewise used similar rhetoric. According to an Associated Press-NORC study, 42% of Republicans believe in the conspiracy.
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York received backlash on Monday for a Facebook ad on her campaign website accusing Democrats of plotting to offer undocumented immigrants citizenship in order to “overthrow our current electorate.” Stefanik’s adviser branded the comments a “new despicable low for the Left” in a statement. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., attended a white nationalist conference earlier this year, which was condemned by lawmakers and organisations on both sides of the aisle.
“White nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism have been encouraged by the House GOP leadership. What begins with words usually ends in considerably worse, as history has shown “Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, tweeted about it. “These thoughts and people who espouse them must be renounced and rejected by @GOP leaders.”
Cheney’s censure comes as authorities examine the Buffalo killing as a hate crime, and Homeland Security officials warn that domestic violent extremists could use abortion and immigration arguments to encourage murder.
Alisa Wiersema on the TIP
Following news of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s stroke and the ongoing three-way race between Dr. Mehmet Oz, Kathy Barnette, and Dave McCormick, Pennsylvanians go to the polls Tuesday amid a shifting Senate primary environment.
Barnette’s rising profile continues to disclose facts of previous activities that could pose challenges if she runs for president. On Jan. 6, two films of Barnette moving toward the Capitol were verified by ABC News, but no images of Barnette breaching the Capitol were found. Independent researcher Chad Loder made the footage public via Twitter.
Barnette’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News. According to the campaign, which also confirmed Loder’s research, “Kathy was in DC to show her support for President Trump and to demand electoral transparency. Any claim that she participated in or encouraged property destruction is deliberately untrue. She has no ties to the Proud Boys in any way.”
Barnette told Breitbart Radio on Monday that if Oz or McCormick win, she will not vote for them, adding, “I have no intention of voting for globalists.”
Meanwhile, Democrats on the other side of the aisle are concerned about how Fetterman’s health crisis might affect voter turnout. His campaign stated on Monday that the lieutenant governor would not attend his election night celebration in Pittsburgh and would instead focus on his recuperation. Gisele Fetterman, his wife, will be hosting election night celebrations.
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THE COMPLETE PLAYLIST
The “Start Here” podcast from ABC News. Start Here on Tuesday morning starts with updates on the Buffalo supermarket massacre and the broader background of “replacement theory.” New details are provided by ABC’s Pierre Thomas and homeland security expert John Cohen. Then, ABC’s Matt Gutman investigates the motive behind the church massacre in California. Rachel Scott of ABC News explains the major developments in Pennsylvania.