WILKESBARRE, Pennsylvania (AP) — Larry Mitko votes for Donald Trump But the Republican from Beaver County in western Pennsylvania says he has no plans to endorse his party’s Senate candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Mitoko doesn’t feel like she knows the celebrity heart surgeon who narrowly won in May’s primary Backed by Trump. Instead, Mitoko plans to vote for Lt. John Fetterman, Oz’s Democratic rival.a name he is familiar with from Fetterman’s time as mayor of nearby Braddock.
“Dr. Oz hasn’t shown me anything to get me to vote for him,” he said.
Mitko’s thoughts highlight the political challenges facing Trump and the rest of the Republican Party.Former President Mitko will run for the general election Saturday night at the first rally of the fall campaign in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. switch to mode.
Hours before Trump spoke, crowds poured into the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, filling most of it.
Oz, Republican hardline Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, and Trump ally Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green warmed the crowd with stump speeches.
Perhaps the biggest applause of the night came when Green repeated Trump’s lie about the 2020 election — “President Trump won the 2020 election,” she said to a standing ovation — And that was when Mastriano promised President Joe that he would bus the “illegal” people across the Pennsylvania border. Biden’s house in Delaware. “He can get them,” Mastriano said.
While Mr. Trump’s nominees won many Republican primaries this summer, many of Mr. Trump’s backed candidates are inexperienced and have struggled in November. This jeopardizes the control of the Senate, once considered the Republican rock.
Along with Oz are writer JD Vance from Ohio, venture capitalist Blake Masters from Arizona, and former football star Herschel Walker from Georgia.
“Republicans have nominated a number of candidates who have never run for public office before in a very high-profile Senate race,” said Witt Ayers, a veteran Republican pollster. He hasn’t written down his party’s chances yet, but says, “It’s a far more difficult endeavor than any candidate who has won some tough political competition so far.
The stakes are particularly high for Trump laying the groundwork for the expected 2024 presidential election amid a series of escalating legal challenges, including the recent seizure of classified documents by the FBI. From home in Florida. Investigators also continue to investigate his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Biden gave a primetime speech in Philadelphia last week Trump and other “MAGA” Republicans — an acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — have warned that they pose a threat to American democracy. Biden has tried to frame the upcoming vote as a battle for the “soul of the country,” similar to the 2020 election.Biden’s Labor Day visit to Pittsburgh A sign that Pennsylvania matters in an election year.
Republicans were once seen as likely to take control of both houses of Congress in November, although they have benefited from soaring inflation, rising gas prices and weak Biden approval ratings. , Republicans have defended since the Supreme Court overturned Landmark Roe v.Wade’s decision to protect abortion rights.
Some candidates, like Mastriano, have run major campaigns in hopes that they can win by alienating or ignoring more moderate voters but by revealing Trump’s loyal base. I am sticking to the strategy of
Mastriano, who wants to outlaw abortion even if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or endangers the mother’s life, is Trump’s ally to overturn the 2020 election. It played a leading role in the effort and was spotted outside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. , when a pro-Trump mob stormed a building.
But some are trying to broaden their appeal by removing references to anti-abortion messages from their websites. It is out of step with mainstream politics. Others downplayed Trump’s once-prominently featured endorsement.
A changing climate has lowered hopes that the Republican Party will regain control of the Senate, prompting rounds of condemnation within the party, including Kentucky’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who cited “candidate quality” last month. caused it.
Florida Senator Rick Scott, who heads the Republican National Senate Committee, said people complaining about the party’s candidate: have a “contempt” for the voters who elected them.
Trump also hit back, calling McConnell a “disgrace” when he defended the party’s nominee roster.
Democrats have piled up too.
“The Senate campaign has been a candidate-on-candidate battle, and Republicans have turned in a deeply flawed recruit roster,” said David Bergstein, communications director for the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.
He credited Trump with discouraging seasoned Republicans from running, promoting flawed candidates, and forcing them to take positions out of step with voters at large. . A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to a request for comment.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans hope Oz’s shortcomings as a candidate are overshadowed by concerns about Fetterman, who had a stroke days before the primary and was out for much of the summer. . He continued to keep his public schedule light and struggled to speak fluidly at recent events.
Republicans struggled to understand Oz was real and fought back, as Fetterman trolled him on social media over the summer, portraying him as a super-wealthy, out-of-touch carpetbagger from New Jersey. I admit it was too late.
Fetterman leads Oz in the polls and fundraising, but Republicans expect the funding gap to narrow, with Oz in the lead after being hit with $20 million in negative advertising during the primary. I am happy to be near you.
The National Republican Senate Committee is helping raise a new round of funding for Oz’s TV ads, and the Senate Leadership Fund, an ultra-political action committee affiliated with McConnell, has added $9.5 million to the TV purchase, it said. said, pushing the overall commitment to $34.1 million by election day.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DNY.
Oz won once-skeptic voters like Glenn Rubendall, who didn’t vote for the TV Doctor in the seven-way primary.
“I used to listen to him, and now I have an opinion in favor of Oz,” said former state prison officer Rubendor.
Registered independent Tracy Martin also appears to support abortion rights, despite an ad aired during the primary election that featured Oz’s remarks in the past. I plan to vote for Oz.
“I hope he’s[anti-abortion],” Martin said.
Colvin reported from New York. His AP writer Brian Slodysko in Washington contributed to this report.
Follow AP for full coverage of the midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ap_politics)