PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The race for the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is heating up, as Republican Jeff Bartos accuses fellow Republican Sean Parnell of being "unelectable."
In an interview seen only on KDKA, political editor Jon Delano questioned Bartos about this claim and his own candidacy.
Bartos, a Montgomery County real estate developer, was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor three years ago. Now he is running to be the GOP nominee for Senate in 2022.
"If we had more common-sense business people on the floor of the Senate, we would make smarter decisions," Bartos said on Monday afternoon.
Parnell, the Afghan War veteran who narrowly lost last year to U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, is Bartos' chief opponent. Parnell was just endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Delano: Do you think President Trump's endorsement is important in a race for the U.S. Senate?
Bartos: Well, we did not actively seek the endorsement. So I guess actions speak a lot louder than words. I respect very much what the former president and his team did to move our country forward.
Bartos is not willing to embrace the Big Lie that Trump won, and the suburban Philadelphia Republican does not condone the violence of Jan. 6.
"I was very disturbed by what I saw on Jan. 6," Bartos said. "Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania, and Joe Biden won the presidency."
Bartos did contribute $1,000 to bus people to what turned into a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Delano: As far as you know, were any of the people on that bus involved in any of the illegal activities that took place?
Bartos: I have no knowledge. I sent a contribution to the gentleman who was organizing it because I feel he's done great work over the last five years that I've known him.
As for Parnell, who appears frequently on cable news, Bartos noted, "I'm not going to Washington to be on the talk shows, to give sound bites, to fight to build a brand."
Bartos' biggest charge against Parnell is that he is "unelectable" in the general election.
"I took no joy, I certainly took no pleasure in bringing forth these issues," Bartos said.
In his first TV interview since releasing a memo entitled "Parnell's Disturbing History," Bartos defended his attack on fellow Republican Parnell.
"Sean is not electable. And so we as Republicans cannot put up a candidate who cannot win a general election. We have to hold this seat," Bartos said.
In his memo, Bartos calls Parnell "a poison pill in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh suburbs" because of Parnell's comments about women on cable news and court documents filed in a contentious divorce proceeding.
"I believe firmly that Sean is unelectable," Bartos said.
Delano: And why is he unelectable?
Bartos: I think as we've said, the past statements and the documents we drew your attention to make him unelectable.
Delano: Yeah, but you're not telling me specifically what you draw from those documents that make him unelectable.
Bartos: I'm going to stand by what I said before.
Bartos' refusal to elaborate his claims on camera brought this response from the Parnell campaign:
"If Jeff Bartos had a fraction of the integrity as Sean Parnell, he would drop out of the race. He is an unserious man for serious times and has shown he has no business running as a Republican for the United States Senate."
With strong words from both sides at this early stage of the campaign, one can only imagine how much more negative it will be before Republicans pick their Senate nominee next May.
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