(NewsNation) — As Pennsylvania voters gear up to cast their primary ballots, Republicans find themselves picking from two frontrunning MAGA-aligned candidates to be the Republican nominee for the state’s open Senate seat — but only one with Donald Trump’s endorsement.
Rather than seeing it as a party divided, Conservative Political Action Conference Chairman Matt Schlapp says it’s another example of primaries being “tough interfamily squabbles.”
Trump endorsed Mehmet Oz, who is best known as the heart-surgeon-turned-celebrity and host of daytime TV’s “The Dr. Oz Show.” He’s running against former hedge fund CEO David McCormick.
Both candidates have warmed up to the former president after criticizing him in the past. Oz is also under fire for connections to China and previous comments supporting gun control, among other stances his critics describe as too liberal. McCormick, who once decried populism, now regularly uses phrases like “America first.”
“Pennsylvania is another tough state where a lot of us know Dave McCormick, he’s a friend — I know his wife, worked with his wife — and for Donald Trump to pick Dr. Oz, that’s hard,” Schlapp said.
Voters are still largely undecided with 11 days to go, according to a new Franklin & Marshall College poll. They found 39 percent of the 357 registered Republicans they surveyed aren’t sure who they will vote for.
Oz got 18 percent, while McCormick got 16 percent. Before Trump’s endorsement, Franklin & Marshall College had them at 16 and 15 percent, respectively.
Schlapp prefers to look at this as a good problem for conservatives.
“I think the bigger story here is, why do Republicans have so many great candidates running for Senate? I am amazed at how many CEOs, people of great wealth and success are running,” Schlapp said. “It’s a great sign for the Republican party that we have these big vigorous primaries with a lot of talented people. We haven’t had that in these cycles before.”
The primary election is May 17.