PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A former ambassador to Denmark is one of two Republican women seeking the nomination for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania.
Carla Sands is joining a crowded field to succeed the retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
At last count, there are 13 Republican candidates for Senate in this state, including two women, both of whom make the pundits' list of top five candidates because of their wealth or name recognition. Sands is one of them.
"I am a pro-life, pro-First and Second Amendment constitutional conservative woman, and I grew up in Cumberland County in the middle of our great commonwealth," Sands told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. "I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Elizabethtown College. I became the third in my family, third generation of chiropractic and practiced alongside my father in our hometown clinic in Camp Hill."
Besides being a chiropractor, Sands had a brief acting career in the 1980s, appearing in film and "The Bold and the Beautiful" before marrying Fred Sands, a very successful real estate capitalist in California.
When he died in 2015, she became CEO of the Vintage Capital Group, donating money to the Trump campaign and the Republican Party.
"There's nobody else in this race that I have seen year after year, decade after decade, contributing five and six figures to the RNC, the Republican National Committee," says Sands.
Having lived in California at least half her life, her opponents level the same charge against her as they do against Dave McCormick, who moved back here from Connecticut, and Mehmet Oz, who moved into the state from New Jersey.
WATCH: More With Carla Sands
Delano: Did you move back to Pennsylvania just to run for the U.S. Senate?
Sands: It's a fair question, Jon. My Pennsylvania ancestors fought in the American Revolution. They fought in the Civil War. I have deep roots in Pennsylvania. This is my time to fight to save our country.
Sounding a lot like the president she worked for, Sands says this is a battle to stop what she calls left-wing radical Democrats who have taken over the country.
"We're going to take our country back, restore rule of law, secure our border, grow our energy, protect our farmers, make sure our kids get educated not indoctrinated and kill this Biden inflation. That is my goal," Sands said.
Sands has stiff competition in fellow Republicans Kathy Barnette, Jeff Bartos, McCormick and Oz, so finding a way to stand out among the crowd is key. Most candidates like Sands are hoping for Donald Trump's endorsement.
"The people that love and support President Trump know that I supported America first policies for the last four-plus years. They know they can trust me," Sands said.
Sands says she was an early supporter of Trump.
"I worked hard to help him get elected, personally contributed, raised a lot of money for him, and he appointed me to his economic advisory council and then as his ambassador to Denmark," she said. "I am the only candidate in this race that has worked on America first the entire time of the Trump administration."
While the other GOP candidates talk a good game of support, Sands says she was actually in the trenches for Trump.
"I am the only candidate in this race that actually worked for President Trump, putting forward America First policies," Sands said.
Sands minces no words about Pennsylvania in 2020, a state she says was stolen legally from Trump.
Delano: Do you think President Trump won Pennsylvania in 2020?
Sands: Pennsylvania is definitely a Trump state. We're mostly working class, energy state, agrarian. This is Trump territory.
WATCH:One On One With Carla Sands
Sands cites U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who has claimed Mark Zuckerberg and others funded efforts to, in their words, "infiltrate election offices."
"They put a lot of money into Pennsylvania to get this done in key counties," she said. "So they were very selective. They were very smart in how they deployed their capital, and they did actually affect the outcome of the 2020 election."
Zuckerberg did give over $400 million to two non-partisan groups that assisted county election offices across the nation with voter outreach and pandemic-related safety measures.
"Without that private money – this is American oligarch money -- controlling how that election was held," insists Sands, "Donald Trump would be president today."
A spokesperson for Zuckerberg has stated that a majority of the 2,500 jurisdictions that applied for and got election assistance dollars were Republican, not Democratic. And there is no claim that Zuckerberg or the non-profits did anything illegal.
Sands, like other GOP candidates, is relying on the fact that many Republicans still feel Trump, who lost the state by over 80,000 votes, actually won Pennsylvania.
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