PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Republican Pat Toomey’s Senate seat is up for grabs and the list of candidates who want to fill it is set for the general primary on May 17. Ahead of voting day, abc27 has compiled a list to help decipher who’s who in the 2022 race.
Tuesday, March 15, marks the official day for candidates to hand in their signed petitions to officially add their names to the ballot. Senator candidates must receive 2,000 signatures.
The information provided about each candidate below is based on their campaign websites or information gathered by abc27 reporters. To learn more beyond the information provided, visit each of the candidate’s campaign websites below:
The former hedge fund CEO for Bridgewater Associates joined the Senate race at the start of January 2022. Just two weeks later, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas headlined a rally for Dave McCormick at a skeet shooting facility near Allentown.
McCormick’s career in politics includes his time as a Treasury official for former President George W. Bush’s administration.
Another frequent frontrunner, often neck-and-neck with Oz, is McCormick. Since he announced his run for Senate, McCormick has also been endorsed by Pennsylvania Senior Republican Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, former Senate candidate Sean Parnell, and others.
In the recent WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll, McCormick finished first in the Senate race with 17.8%. Taking into account how undecided voters would lean, McCormick’s lead in the poll increased to 27.2%.
While McCormick led in the WHTM poll, he fell to second, coming in behind Oz in other recent polls. In the Trafalgar Group poll, McCormick came in second with 19.7% of the voters’ support, and in the poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall, McCormick received 15% of the votes, just 1% behind Oz.
As the CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, McCormick reported that he earned more than $22 million last year. After quitting the position to run for Senate, McCormick raised $11.3 million since his campaign started.
Similar to Oz, McCormick has been criticized for not recently living in Pennsylvania. In an interview with abc27’s Dennis Owens, McCormick responded by highlighting his background as a “seventh-generation Pennsylvanian.”
In the tight race between Oz and McCormick, the lead-up to the primary has grown increasingly tense and personal.
As previously reported by TheHill, Oz has thrown barbs McCormick’s way over his former hedge fund’s ties to China, a top boogeyman in U.S. politics, and released ads highlighting past comments praising Beijing.
McCormick and his allies have deflected the charge, claiming the business experience makes him better able to tackle issues surrounding Beijing, and ramped up his criticism of China.
On his campaign website, McCormick says, if elected, he will lower taxes on working-class Americans, bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, support mining coal and promote policies to cultivate natural gas production, finish building “The Wall” to secure the border, and work to ensure Pennsylvania has Voter ID requirements.
His name was officially added to the ballot for the May primary on March 14.
To learn more about McCormick, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
When she announced her candidacy in July 2021, former President Trump’s Danish Ambassador, Carla Sands, said “The race is getting real. Others are in the race as well but I told [former President Donald Trump] I’m the only one that’s not a RINO but can also get elected.”
Recently, in response to not receiving Trump’s endorsement, the Cumberland Valley High School graduate said, “I don’t think the President is getting very good advice. If you don’t want to send a RINO to represent us, I hope you’ll choose me, I’ll never let you down.”
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania primary poll, Sands came in fifth amongst the candidates debating on Monday. She received 7.7% of the voters’ support. She also received the fifth-highest percentage of voters in the Franklin & Marshall poll, coming in behind candidate Jeff Bartos with 5%.
Her percentage of support did increase in the Trafalgar Group poll. She moved into fourth with 11.2%, pushing Bartos into the fifth-place spot.
According to Q1 financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, Sands raised the third-highest amount behind McCormick and Fetterman with $103,193.13 in the first three months of 2022 and $4,625,022.26 since her campaign started.
Democrats have painted Sands as a carpetbagging Trump surrogate who’s out of touch with the working class and likely to vote against their interests. Sands has vowed to fight what she calls the radical Biden-Harris agenda.
“We see open borders, gas up more than a dollar a gallon just since they came into office. We see cancel culture critical race theory where our kids are being indoctrinated not educated,” Sands said.
On her campaign website, Sands says, if elected, she wants to be “Pennsylvania unwavering energy Senator” and will utilize an “America First Platform.”
Sands’ candidate status was approved and her name was added to the ballot on March 11.
To learn more about Sands, visit her campaign website by clicking here.
Not too far behind Sands, Jeff Bartos announced his candidacy in March 2021. He was the second Republican candidate to enter the race.
In the 2018 campaign cycle, Bartos was the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor. Outside of politics, he owns a contracting company and several real estate acquisition and developing companies in the Greater Philadelphia market.
Despite recently undergoing surgery to remove his thyroid after a routine doctor’s appointment located a nodule, Bartos was at the debate Monday night.
Bartos came in behind Barnette, receiving 8.9% of voters’ support in the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania poll. However, when adding in the undecided voters who said they are leaning toward Bartos, he surpassed Barnette with 17.1% of the voters’ support.
According to Kimball, Bartos is the leading Republican candidate among female voters, receiving 20% of their support. In the Trafalgar Group poll, Bartos came in fifth with 7.7% of the voters, and in Franklin & Marshall’s poll he came in fourth with 6% of the voters’ support.
As previously reported by WTAJ, at a dinner in Blair County, Bartos said he’s running on the actions he’s already taken to help Pennsylvanians. Bartos established the 30 Day Fund, a nonprofit that provides forgivable loans to small businesses that were struggling during the pandemic. It’s an idea that he says was born in Blair County.
“During the pandemic while others were living in Colorado or Connecticut or other places…I had my sleeves rolled up on main streets across all 67 counties,” Bartos said. “Raising money and getting it out the door to save small businesses.”
Bartos did not outline his issues on his campaign website. Tune in on Monday night to learn more about where he stands.
To learn more about Bartos, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
The Philadelphia attorney launched his campaign for Senate at the beginning of January 2022. Last year, George Bochetto helped prevent a 144-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus from being torn down in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press.
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania primary poll, Bochetto received 3.8% of voters’ support. With undecided voters’ and in which way they lean taken into account, his support increased to 4.6%.
According to Q1 financial filings, Bochetto had $192,213 contribute in the first three months of 2022 and reported $45,284.54 in cash on hand.
Bochetto’s name was added to the ballot on March 14, just a day before the deadline.
To learn more about Bochetto, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
Once the host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and attending physician at NY Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center, candidate Mehmet Oz announced his candidacy in December 2021. Since then, he has been a front runner in the Republican field ahead of the May 17 primary election.
In a recent WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania primary poll of 1,000 very likely Republican voters, Oz came in second with 16.6% behind candidate David McCormick who received 17.8% of the voters’ support.
When undecided voters in the poll were allocated to who they lean toward, Oz’s percentage of voters increased to 20.6%. The poll was conducted prior to former President Donald Trump announcing his endorsement for Oz in early April.
In a poll conducted after Trump’s endorsement, which was conducted by The Trafalgar Group, Oz led the Senate candidates, receiving 22.7% of the 1,074 likely Republican Primary voters with McCormick tailing behind him. Oz also led in a Franklin & Marshall poll, which was almost done with data gathering when Trump announced his endorsement. Oz received 16% of voter support.
According to Q1 financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, Oz also leads the Republican candidates with the most amount raised in the first three months of 2022. He received $2,375,164.64 in the first quarter and has received $13,431,080.20 since the start of his campaign.
While he is not the only multimillionaire in the Republican primary field, Oz did report that he amassed assets worth more than $100 million, including homes, stock, life insurance, and connections to his in-laws’ tree-trimming empire. His filing was a part of a financial disclosure form required of all candidates for Senate.
In the media, Oz has faced scrutiny for not residing in Pennsylvania. He currently resides in New Jersey. He has also faced criticism from a key rival in the race for his Turkish citizenship, which he says he will renounce before being sworn into Senate if he wins.
On his campaign website, Oz says, if elected, he will reverse Biden’s failed agenda, incorporate financial literacy from an early age into education criteria, secure the border to stop “ghost flights” or flights with “illegal immigrants,” from entering Pennsylvania airports, and support the Second Amendment
Oz’s name was officially added to the ballot on March 11 and he was endorsed by Donald Trump on April 9.
To learn more about Oz, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
Business and health care attorney Sean Gale announced his candidacy in February 2021. Gale’s brother Joe is also in the midst of campaigning for Pennsylvania governor to fill Governor Tom Wolf’s seat.
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill primary poll, Gale rounded out the seven candidates with 2.5% of voters’ support. With the undecided voters taken into account, his percentage increased to 4.3%.
According to Q1 financial filings, Gale received $12,438.36 in the first three months of 2022. At the time of the filing, he had $8,806.81 in cash on hand.
Gale received his signatures and his candidate status was approved on March 14.
To learn more about Gale, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
Rounding out the top three in recent polls, former adjunct professor of corporate finance and a regular commentator for Fox News, Kathy Barnette, joined the race in April 2021.
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill Pennsylvania poll, Barnette came in third with 10.2% of likely Republican voters’ support. When taking into account the undecided voters and who they said they will lean toward, Barnette’s support increased to 14.8%.
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, noted, “Republican women voters are more supportive of Bartos (20%) and Barnette (17%) than their male counterparts.”
In the Traglagar Group poll, Barnette’s support increased to 18.4%, just 1.3% behind McCormick. However, the gap between McCormick and Barnette was larger in the Franklin & Marshall conducted poll with Barnette sitting at 7%.
According to the Q1 financial filings, Barnette has received $356,463.80 since the start of 2022 and has received $1,585,548.71 since the start of her campaign.
During a live interview with a WTAJ anchor, Barnette highlighted why she stands out from the other candidates saying, “We need people to go to D.C. who have a backbone made of something sturdier than ear cartilage, who will stand up and fight for us knowing what to do is not generally the hard thing. It is deciding I’m going to do what is right. Even though the party or lobbyists or bureaucrats are telling me to do the opposite.”
On her campaign website, Barnette says, if elected, she will create an economy where corporations don’t have to leave the county to flee the onerous tax system, encourage states to take control of their own healthcare systems, secure the border with a wall, technology, and personnel, and work to secure elections by stopping the federalization of our elections.
She received her required signatures and her name, therefore, added to the ballot on March 7.
To learn more about Barnette, visit her campaign website by clicking here.
The U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 17th District, which includes much of the Pittsburgh area and all of Beaver County, announced his run for the open Senate seat in August 2021. Conor Lamb seeks the nomination as a former Marine who is now the vice-chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in Congress.
At the meeting of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee on Jan. 30, where no endorsement for U.S. Senate was offered, Lamb led the way with just a few votes short at 60%.
The only other candidate to receive a double-digit percentage of voters in the Nexstar/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll is Western Pennsylvania Congressman Lamb (D-17). He received the second-highest number of voters, behind Fetterman, with 10% of the 508 Democrats.
The percentage of voters committed to voting for Lamb in the primary increased in the Franklin & Marshall poll. Again coming in behind Fetterman, Lamb received 17% of voters.
A month ago, and prior to either poll, an Associated Press article noted that Lamb is a rising star among moderates in the House. He is being supported by a super PAC, which “laid the groundwork for attacks over electability, effectively presenting Fetterman as just as tied to the left as Sanders or the Squad and painting Lamb as a more palatable alternative.”
Democrats who support Lamb see such attacks as their best shot of beating Fetterman as he changes the tone of the race.
In the Democratic party, Lamb also has the second most Q1 contributions in the first three months of 2022, with $1,759,096.46. Among all candidates in either party, he has raised the fourth-highest amount with $5,740,022.26.
On his campaign website, Lamb says he supports raising the minimum wage to $15, protecting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, recommitting to public education, and reinventing clemency and the pardon process in Pennsylvania.
As of March 11, Lamb has received the petition signatures and has been approved for the May primary ballot.
To learn more about Lamb, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor made his candidacy official in February 2021. A month prior to his announcement, Fetterman had an exploratory fundraising campaign that raised over $1 million.
Fetterman previously ran for and served as mayor of Braddock from 2005 until 2019.
At the meeting of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee on Jan. 30, Fetterman finished second in votes. His candidate status was approved for the May ballot on March 14, a day before the deadline.
While many of the polls recently conducted did not reveal a clear leader in the Republican primary, there has been a consistent frontrunner for the Democratic party — Pennsylvania’s Lt. Governor Fetterman.
A Nexstar/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll conducted from March 26 to 28, interviewing 508 Democrats, showed Fetterman receiving 33.4%, a significant lead over the other candidates. In a breakdown by age, Fetterman led in all age ranges and a significant number of white voters supported him over any other candidate.
In an even more recent poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall, while nearly half the 785 registered voters surveyed between March 30 and April 10 said they will vote for a Republican congressional candidate, Fetterman still led the Democratic party. His advantage increased to 41% of voters.
As previously reported by The Hill, analysts believed Fetterman was pulling ahead in the nominating contest before either poll was conducted.
Financially, Fetterman also leads the Democratic field when it comes to total campaign fundraising. According to Q1 financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, Fetterman raised $3,1000,176.86 in the first three months of 2022.
Plus, he leads all Senate candidates in either party with $15,098,281.49 raised since his campaign began.
As reported by the Associated Press last week, Fetterman has been on the defensive in recent weeks after Lamb, Kenyatta, and a super PAC supporting Lamb accused Fetterman of being extreme. Fetterman responded by saying to a crowd of party voters in State College last week that he would only run a “positive campaign.”
Another highly discussed criticism of Fetterman is over a 2013 incident when, shotgun in hand, he confronted someone who he thought was involved with gunfire in Braddock. Lamb and Kenyatta have raised the issue more than once.
On his campaign website, Fetterman says that the criminal justice system needs a significant overhaul, plus, he supports legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, a $15 minimum wage in the state, and that health care is a fundamental right.
To learn more about Fetterman, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
As the second Democrat to enter the race, Philadelphia’s Malcolm Kenyatta announced his candidacy in February 2021. Kenyatta is the State Representative for Pennsylvania’s 181st district.
At the meeting of the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee on Jan. 30, Kenyatta finished third in votes.
Coming in third in both of the previously mentioned polls is State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (D-181). In the Nexstar/Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll Kenyatta received 7.6% of the 508 Democratic voters. The gap between Fetterman and Kenyatta did shrink, however, in African-American voters with Fetterman leading only by 1.2% more.
The percentage of voters committed to Kenyatta dropped, however, in the Franklin & Marshall poll. He received 4% of the voters.
The State Representative from Philadelphia received the third-highest Q1 contributions in the first three months of 2022 with $301,173.62. He also has the seventh-highest total raised among candidates in both parties with $1,844,861.88.
While Kenyatta has received the least among the three candidates debating Thursday night, he has received both donations and verbal support from multiple celebrities including Halle Berry, Amy Schumer, Robin Thicke Tasha Smith, and Wanda Skyes, during his campaign run.
Another high point in Kenyatta’s campaign: he was the first to receive the required number of signatures just three days after the petitioning window opened for the Senate candidates. He collected signatures from seven different counties to be the first official candidate added to the May 17 primary ballot.
On his campaign website, Kenyatta says he supports implementing reform in the criminal justice system, funding schools equally and expanding programs within school systems, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in order to curb mass incarceration.
Kenyatta was the first candidate approved for the ballot just three days after the window for candidates to gather signatures opened. His candidate status was official for the May primary on February 28.
To learn more about Kenyatta, visit his campaign website by clicking here.
The candidate from Montgomery County filed with the Federal Election Commission in February 2021. Alexandria Khalil is a former small business owner, a member of the Jenkintown Borough council, and ran as a Bernie Sanders delegate for Montgomery County in 2016.
In the WHTM/Emerson College Polling/The Hill primary poll, Khalil rounded out the Democratic field with 2.8% of voters’ support.
Khalil’s candidate status was approved on March 15 after she filed her petitions.
To learn more about Khalil, visit her campaign website by clicking here.
- Eric Orts
- Sharif Street
- Val Arkoosh
- Kevin Baumlin
Did Not Meet Petition Requirements:
Everett Stern — According to election officials, Stern did not meet the petition requirements to appear on the primary ballot. The founder and intelligence director of Tactical Rabbit announced his candidacy for the open Senate seat in February 2021. Everett Stern is known, as described on his campaign website, as a “whistleblower for federal law enforcement.” Born in New York City, Stern has been a resident of Pennsylvania since his move in 2011.
Robert Jeffries — After launching and dropping a campaign to challenge Scott Perry for Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district seat, the Hershey Republican announced his run for Senate. He filed with the Federal Election Commission in April 2021.
Ronald Johnson — The candidate from Oil City filed with the Federal Election Commission in May 2021 but did not meet the petition requirements.
David Xu — The candidate from Ashland filed with the Federal Election Commission in August 2021 but did not meet the petition requirements.
Martin Rosenfeld — The candidate from Weedville filed with the Federal Election Commission in February 2021 but did not meet the petition requirements.
James Edward Hayes — The candidate from Allison Park filed with the Federal Election Commission in March 2021 but did not meet the petition requirements.
Israel Cruz — The candidate from Shamokin filed with the Federal Election Commission in October 2021 but did not meet the petition requirements.
This page will continue to be updated as candidates join or drop from the race. Information about each candidate will also be updated as we get closer to May 17. Candidates confirmed thus far is based on official announcements and filings with the Federal Election Commission. Visit Pennsylvania Politics or Your Local Election HQ on abc27.com for more information on upcoming elections.