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Barnette Begins 2022 Campaign with Words for the 'White Man That Sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue'

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As another GOP senator eyes retirement in 2023, a bold outsider has stepped forward with hopes to fill the void.

Conservative author and commentator Kathy Barnette officially threw her hat in the ring Tuesday morning, announcing intentions to seek the seat of junior Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey in the 2022 midterm elections.

A prominent anti-Trump moderate, Toomey has served on his state delegation for two terms and initially signaled retirement last October, despite widespread concerns the Senate GOP will face an uphill battle in the coming election with more at-risk seats than the opposition.

In the months that followed, the senator voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, just after the party lost its hold on the Senate, ceding a slim supermajority to the Democrats in a Georgia runoff.

“Pennsylvanians are hungry for a strong conservative to fill the shoes of retiring Senator Pat Toomey,” Barnette spokesman Adam Jones told The Western Journal shortly after the candidate released her announcement video.

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“America is hungry to restore balance in the United States Congress by electing Kathy Barnette to the United States Senate.”

Barnette fell to incumbent Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean in Pennsylvania’s purple 4th congressional district last fall, but the author and U.S. Army veteran was clear her fight was far from over. Barnette hinted at a “statewide” run during an interview with The Western Journal at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.

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A successful campaign would make Barnette the first black Republican woman elected to the U.S. Senate — a premise that seems to have excited conservative audiences on social media, where her campaign announcement video received roughly 20,000 interactions in just 12 hours.

Prominent black conservatives like Wayne Dupree, Larry Elder, former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones and freshman Rep. Burgess Owens of Utah were among early supporters. Adam Jones indicated Barnette was “energized” by the endorsements.

Down almost 20 percentage points on Dean when the 2020 presidential election finally went into the books, Barnette ran her last campaign on a traditional conservative platform but did not fail to capitalize on growing populist sentiment in the base as she lifted up term limits, infrastructure and, more recently, election integrity as key issues on the trail.

The candidate was no stranger to hot-button cultural issues, however. Born to Alabama pig farmers, Barnette witnessed the power of the American dream firsthand and has been stalwart in highlighting the lack of growth seen by communities of color under long-term Democratic leadership.

“The black community can be seen as a Petri dish of what happens when the left comes in and takes control,” Barnette told The Western Journal at CPAC. “They want all control, right? And you begin to see people in predominantly the black community broke, broken and bruised by the policies of the left.”

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The candidate hammered that point further in her early 2022 campaign material, suggesting in her Tuesday announcement video that the Democratic Party has failed to make good on the promise of its Black Lives Matter rhetoric, ignoring and even devaluing the voices of those who break with the left’s monolithic view of the black community.

“The white man that sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue believes he has the power to take away my blackness because I’m a conservative,” she said.

“But I will keep on. I will never let the words of another define me or determine my value. You can try to demean me or call me names for what I believe, but Joe Biden, after the November election in 2022, you can call me something else: senator.”

Barnette is one of the only widely known Republican quantities to announce a run for Pennsylvania’s junior senatorial seat.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the other is real estate developer and failed 2018 lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Jeff Bartos, who waded into uncertain waters early, leaving former Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello, GOP fundraiser Carla Sands and a series of others to weigh their options.

Across the aisle, a sizable field has already developed, with Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman already in the running. Ambitious Democratic Pennsylvania Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Conor Lamb are also believed to be eyeing the field for an optimal entry point.

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