Pennsylvania Senate GOP nominee Mehmet Oz has attempted to pivot to the center in the closing days of his race against Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, saying during a debate last week that he wants “Washington to be civil again.”
Josh Bashline, a paid political adviser to the campaign as recently as Sept. 30, according to FEC records, told a local newspaper on Jan. 8 that he’d attended the rally as part of a bus group. Bashline, who was described by Oil City, Pa.‘s The Derrick as working as a field organizer for former President Donald Trump in 2020, told the paper that there were “a lot more people there dressed up like militia members” than at other rallies he’d attended.
Bashline said he later marched with the group to the Capitol but did not enter the building, and that “a group of agitators charged the steps and became violent.” Bashline also told the paper he was “shocked” by the violence he saw, and that “the only way to do things is non-violently.”
Additionally, Oz’s volunteer campaign coordinator for Northampton County not only attended the Jan. 6 rally but also took part in the infamous Jan. 2 Zoom call with former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and hundreds of state legislators who plotted ways to decertify the election, Rolling Stone reported.
“It was an informative call,” Gloria Lee Snover, the chair of the Northampton County GOP, said in a Jan. 4 interview with conservative talk radio. “It was all fact-based, informative. It was really not even a political call.”
Snover, who also said she marched to the Capitol but didn’t enter, was much less conciliatory than Bashline. “I got to the Capitol steps,” she told Lehigh Valley Live. “I did not see any violence today… the only violence I saw were the police tear-gassing patriots for no reason.”
Five people died during the Capitol riot, and another four Capitol police officers killed themselves in the aftermath.
Snover initially described Oz as a “real carpetbagger and an opportunist” in an interview with Politico in January—but after Trump endorsed him, she called him a “great candidate.”
Oz’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jan. 6 attendees are well-represented on Republican campaigns this year. A top spokesperson for Nevada GOP Senate nominee Adam Laxalt marched with members of the extremist Oath Keepers group, CNN reported in July, and at least 10 Republican candidates themselves have boasted that they were at or near the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to CBS News.
Oz has flip-flopped on the thoroughly disproven lie that the election was fraudulent and stolen from Trump. During a primary debate earlier this year, Oz said that “we cannot move on” from 2020; last month, however, he told reporters he would have voted to certify Pennsylvania’s and Arizona’s electoral votes.
“I would not have objected to it,” Oz told reports. “By the time the delegates and those reports are sent to the U.S. Senate, our job was to approve it. That’s what I would have done.”
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