Dr. Mehmet Oz may have gotten former President Donald Trump's endorsement in Pennsylvania's closely-fought race for the U.S. Senate, but that just further exposed that the doctor is "not a conservative," Kathy Barnette, a frontrunner for the GOP nomination, told Newsmax Saturday.
"We appreciate what President Trump did for us [conservatives] but we can walk and chew gum at the same time," Barnette said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "President Trump is not Jesus, so he gets to be wrong."
Barnette said that after Trump endorsed Oz about four weeks ago, she "got all the benefits almost immediately."
"My numbers shot up in poll after poll for the past almost four weeks," she said. "I have been in a statistical tie for first place."
That's because Oz has such high name identification that "people on our side know he's not a conservative," Barnette continued. "On this endorsement what the people of Pennsylvania are saying is that he's wrong on this endorsement. As a result, the only thing President Trump could have done better for me was to endorse me. The other thing he could have done for me is to endorse someone like Mehmet Oz."
Barnette made headlines during this week's Newsmax-sponsored debate in Pennsylvania when she went on the attack against statements Oz has made about abortion by telling her own story about being born after her mother, at the age of 11, was raped by a 21-year-old man.
"I'm still not just a lump of cells," she said at the debate. "My life has value and that is one of the reasons why it was so very disturbing when I saw Mehmet Oz running for this particular race when I've seen him on numerous occasions and specifically at the Breakfast Club, saying that my life was nothing more. Then an acorn with electrical currents."
She told Newsmax Saturday that she is "grateful to God" that she has an "amazing platform to compete for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans on life and when life begins."
"This is a story I don't share a lot, but I recognize that my life has value," Barnette said. "If it wasn't for adults in the room when my very young mother — she was 11 years old when I was conceived — I wouldn't be here. I'm so grateful that I get to use whatever platform that I have to fight for those lives."
Barnette also on Saturday rejected critics' arguments about her loss last year, during a red wave election, and pointed out she "did better than any other Republican in my very woke district" just outside of Philadelphia.
"I did better than any other Republican who ran in this district and I outperformed President Trump," she said. "He lost by over 26% so I was not only able to keep our base, but I was able to get Democrats as well."
And now, people in Pennsylvania want someone different in office after "what Democrats did," said Barnette.
"This story is about me to some extent, but it's really about the people here," she said. "They want different. They want an actual conservative and they want someone with a backbone and so again, Oz got the endorsement, but people immediately started looking for a better option. And this time we don't have to hold our nose and go vote for the lesser of two evils."
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