Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Rivals of Trump-backed US Senate candidate amass millions

Harrisburg, Pa. (AP) — An endorsement by former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania’s US Senate race is not backing rival Republicans, with one putting millions to his campaign and the other getting a seven-figure pledge from a donor .

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, loaned her campaign $3 million, according to her first federal fundraising report due on Friday.

Sands, 61, has significant personal wealth left from her and her late husband’s California-based real estate investment firm, and her campaign said Friday that for the first time candidates are ready to put their personal wealth into the race.

Another candidate, real estate investor Jeff Bartos, could see significant help from a Super Pac supporting him.

Scott Wagner, the GOP’s gubernatorial nominee in 2018 and a major Republican campaign donor in Pennsylvania, said Friday that he has pledged $1.5 million to the Bartos-aligned Jobs for Our Future PAC. He may give more to help Bartos in the future, Wagner said.

Trump endorsed Sean Parnell last month, a convicted former Army Ranger who wrote a memoir of his service in Afghanistan, which became a New York Times bestseller.

But Wagner said he doesn’t know how much support for Trump weighs.

“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk because of an endorsement,” Wagner said. “Right now, the political winds are changing very quickly.”

And while Wagner said the Republican Party isn’t necessarily moving away from Trump, he also said the election won’t be about who Trump supports.

“I think they’re going to vote for the best candidate,” Wagner said. “that’s the point.”

Next year’s competition for Pennsylvania’s open US Senate seat could be the most competitive in the country. For Democrats, it’s one of the best chances for them to make it to the Senate as Republican Sen. Pat Tomei is retiring.

For Republican candidates, support for Trump was seen as a key element to success in the GOP primary.

This, so far, hasn’t given Parnell a fundraising windfall: On Friday, it reported raising $1.1 million in the three months ended Sept. 30. After spending most of it, he had roughly the same amount left in his campaign account.

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Even though Parnell surpassed Sands and Bartos in total cash in their accounts by September 30, he pointed to his campaign by counting dollars from donors over the course of three months, including all of his opponents.

He earned four times the amount as Bartos – who has lent $1.2 million to his campaign – and more than twice the amount as Sands.

Still, Trump’s support didn’t always last the day in the primaries for open seats.

Last year, for example, Trump-backed Linda Bennett was beaten For the seat of North Carolina Congress by Madison Cawthorne. In July, Republican Jake Elzee of Texas won the US House seat., defeating Trump-backed Susan Wright.

There’s also a crowd in the Democratic region. Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman reported about $4.2 million in cash to lead Democratic field fundraising in his campaign account as of September 30.

It is also unclear what the significance of Trump’s support in the general election against Democrats.

Trump lost to Pennsylvania last year by nearly 80,000 votes, or 1 percentage point, to Joe Biden, who reclaimed the swing state for Democrats in 2016 after what turned out to be a surprise move as Trump ascended the White House.

Sands’ and Wagner’s millions.

However, Jobs for Our Future PAC – taking a cue From Bartos’ campaign — already on TV and online — Parnell has been attacked over allegations in Butler County court in his controversial divorce and custody case.

Meanwhile, Sands — away from shunning Trump or saving his money — is running a 30-second TV spot on Fox News, which opens with a photo greeting Trump in the Oval Office.

“While serving on President Trump’s economic and foreign policy teams, I helped counter the threats posed by communist China and Putin’s Russia,” she explains, before attacking Biden on three of Trump’s favorite topics: immigration. Socialism and the Police.

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Follow Mark Levy on Twitter https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter.

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