NEWTOWN, Pa. – Kathy Barnette, a previously little-known Republican Senate candidate in Pennsylvania whose underdog campaign has spiraled into surprising contention, made her pitch to a packed house Wednesday night at a candidate forum in Newtown, eastern part of the state.

Ms. Barnette, a Trump-style conservative commentator who has a history of inflammatory remarks and reinforcing the former president’s lie, has risen in the polls against two major rivals, Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick.

As Election Day draws nearer on Tuesday, Ms. Barnette one of 15 Republican candidates running for local, state and federal elections addressing voters at the forum. (Dr. Oz was also present.)

In front of a standing-only crowd in the warehouse-sized indoor athletic complex, she said her newfound momentum was more about herself than her. “You made me relevant,” she said. “People are feeling pressured right now and our country is in trouble.”

“I’m you,” she added. “I come from very humble beginnings.”

As she waited to address the crowd at the event, run by Bucks First! America First!, a group hoping to elect a slate of conservative candidates to the Republican State Committee, a steady stream of supporters approached her, hoping for a selfie.

“I love her story,” said Christine Heitman, a 50-year-old software engineer.

Mrs. Barnette shared it with the hundreds of voters gathered.

“Pig ranch. Alabama, in a house with no insulation, no running water,” she said. “Outbuilding in the back and a well on the side. But this land allowed me to create a different story for myself. kids have no idea what it feels like to stand in front of an empty fridge door and wonder where their next meal will come from.”

Her story and her tough conservative politics appealed to voters here. Eric Fasci said he first met Mrs. Barnette about a year before she started her campaign, and he was immediately captivated. “She’s very addictive,” said Mr Fasci, 49, who shares Mrs Barnette’s opposition to abortion. ‘She’s pure. She’s honest. She is direct.”

Sally Schlotter, 58, walked away with four of Mrs. Barnette’s lawn signs.

“I like her stance on pro-life,” Ms. Schlotter said. “I like that she’s not bullshit.”

The candidates spoke in alphabetical order, allowing Dr. Oz as the second to last. Mr McCormick was not present.

dr. Oz began by criticizing President Biden and ended with an attack on Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert.

“Joe Biden, the only thing he’s built better is the Republican Party,” said Dr. oz. “But to fight Joe Biden, we need to understand why Washington is always wrong. And I think they’re wrong because they don’t have our values. They don’t know our values ​​here in Bucks County.”

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