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Summer Lee declared victory late Tuesday in the Democratic primary race to represent Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House, voicing confidence that the remaining uncounted votes will favor her campaign over corporate attorney Steve Irwin's.
"We built a movement in Western Pennsylvania that took on corporate power."
With 93% of precincts reporting, Lee holds a 446-vote lead over Irwin, a former Republican U.S. Senate staffer who benefited from super PAC cash that poured into the district in the contest's final stretch. Irwin has not conceded defeat as the race remains too close to formally call.
United Democracy Project (UDP), a super PAC founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), spent nearly $3 million in recent weeks boosting Irwin and attacking Lee, a progressive state representative who supports Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and Palestinian rights.
"The people took on the corporations and the people won," Lee said in a statement. "We built a movement in Western Pennsylvania that took on corporate power, stood up for working families, and beat back a multimillion-dollar smear campaign."
"This was never about one candidate—it was about the people of this district who have been left behind by corporations who put their profits over our lives," she added. "Today is a new way forward for everyone in the Commonwealth with no one left behind."
PA United, a group that ran a major field operation for Lee alongside Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party, said Wednesday morning that "as a long time leader of the progressive movement and the first Black woman to be elected as a state representative from Western PA, Summer's campaign energized a strong multiracial, working class base and overcame the political machine yet again."
"Summer Lee proved that money is surmountable when you organize and run on a progressive platform."
"PA United is proud to have helped Summer Lee overcome massive spending by her opponents and AIPAC and help supercharge her ground game," the organization added. "The supercharged field program is likely to have provided the margin of victory—knocking more than 30,000 doors, calling more than 35,000 people, and sending 25,000 texts to help ensure a victory. PA United will continue to stand by Rep. Lee through the November election and as she gets to work in Congress next year."
The youth-led Sunrise Movement, which also led a turnout operation in support of Lee in Pennsylvania's 12th District, declared in a statement that "this election pit people power against millions of dollars, and... Summer Lee proved that money is surmountable when you organize and run on a progressive platform."
"Young and working people were able to defeat Super PACs through local organizing," said Varshini Prakash, the group's executive director. "We showed our power, we knocked on doors, we called voters, and we decided this election."
If her victory is confirmed, Lee will face off against Republican Mike Doyle, the council president of Plum, Pennsylvania who ran unopposed in the GOP primary.
"We got here because of the power of the people," Lee said during her election party Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, WCBD reported that a Charleston, South Carolina man headbutted police officers and screamed racial slurs and threats at them after being arrested for making drunken, violent threats against people partying at a nearby house.
"Charleston County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence on Joy Ave. in West Ashley around 10:20 p.m. in reference to a disturbance," reported WCBD's Sophie Brams. "According to the caller, a man, later identified as Kevin Suite (57), threatened to use a firearm against partygoers at a nearby residence stating he 'had a clear line of sight to the party' and blocked one of the guests from leaving the property."
"When deputies arrived, they reported that Suite was 'extremely intoxicated,' uncooperative, and shouting expletives and racial slurs," said the report. "He was placed under arrest for public disorderly conduct. While Suite was being escorted to the patrol car, he reportedly head-butted a sergeant twice, striking him first in the chest and then again in the chin."
According to the report, while in the back of the police vehicle while being transported to jail, Suite shouted at one deputy, “I will bust your f**king brains out n****r. You’ve got a f**king bullet, n****r. "You’ve got bullets coming your way, you’re f**king done yo, that’s f**king it baby, it’s coming to you bang bang, I got your name n****r. N****r, you’re gonna f**king die yo for real, I hope your f**king family enjoys you because they next, bang bang.”
The report also states that when Suite arrived at the detention facility, he "head-butted the transport deputy in the chin."
He faces multiple counts of assaulting police officers, as well as disorderly conduct and threatening the life of a public official.
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Kathy Barnette was among those who marched on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 alleging that Donald Trump's 2020 election results were rigged and that he won the election. In the final week of the Republican Party primary, Barnette saw a surge in support as the election approached.
In the final days, however, Donald Trump phoned into a rally with Mehmet Oz and did a robocall to Trump supporters encouraging them to support Oz over Barnette. Meanwhile, both behind the scenes and in front of cameras, Fox News host Sean Hannity was trying to help Oz, who thanked him in the election night speech.
Given Barnette's support of the so-called "big lie" and her election loss, some of her disappointed supporters are adopting the Trump strategy of suggesting the election was rigged. The final days of the election showed polls with Barnette almost eight points higher than where she ended up on Tuesday.
When Barnette ran for the U.S. Congress in 2020, she claimed that she only lost because Pennsylvania was rigged when incumbent Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean beat her by a sizable margin.
Supporters urged Barnette not to concede and to fight the results.
Don\u2019t concede. It was a stolen & rigged election - the evidence is overwhelming. #AuditPennsylvania— Jason (@Jason) 1652881525
Was the Pennsylvania GOP Primary rigged? #DrOz #PennsylvaniaPrimary #KathyBarnette #davemccormick— Ultra MAGA Kevin (@Ultra MAGA Kevin) 1652850143
#DrOz is a phoney. Him and Trump lied. They rigged the election against Kathy Barnette. \n\n#PennsylvaniaPrimary \nDavid McCormick— Psy Cho Ma Ga (@Psy Cho Ma Ga) 1652872229
The fact that Barnette is losing is proof of fraud in PA. No way all these people voted for RINOs.— \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\udf3cKarmela from VA \ud83c\udf38\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 Say NO to RINOs (@\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\udf3cKarmela from VA \ud83c\udf38\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 Say NO to RINOs) 1652882398
Its obvious Biden rigged this election again. No way #DrOz beats Ultra-MAGA #KathyBarnette \n\n#Pennsylvania \nPennsylvania Primary \nMcCormick— Psy Cho Ma Ga (@Psy Cho Ma Ga) 1652843094
On the other side, the idea of voter fraud and a rigged election was used to outright mock Barnette, with folks asking if she intends to protest the election results after doing so in 2020.
Jeez. What could go wrong with two election deniers and a result much closer than the 2020 pres in PA. These ppl have been screaming fraud and don't trust the count. Why stop now?\n\nPS. Barnette's underperf is susp, right? Who's with me?— Hijokr (@Hijokr) 1652851923
I'm not saying this happened, but it would be interesting if it turns out that Oz & McCormick are both guilty of some kind of electoral fraud that gets found out about soon and a judge disqualifies them both, handing the race to whoever came in 3rd... meaning Barnette if #s hold.— Emily Rose | #GME #AMC Ape Chaplain (@Emily Rose | #GME #AMC Ape Chaplain) 1652871308
She really won. Election was totally rigged. Massive dumps for Dr Oz. The my pillow guy already has the packet captures.— K-State Turk (@K-State Turk) 1652876050
I've seen enough Kathy Barnette wins and beats the DemoKKKrat fraud— Alto's Alt (@Alto's Alt) 1652848756
Kathy Barnette is a typical poor loser. She won\u2019t be a team player against the Democrats. Disgusting.https://www.abc27.com/2022-united-states-senate-election-in-pennsylvania/pa-sen-race-kathy-barnette-wont-support-republican-nominee-if-she-loses/amp/\u00a0\u2026— Schock (@Schock) 1652873882