Kathy Barnette is a political commentator and author who is running for for Senate in Pennsylvania as a social conservative and “America First” adherent.

This is Barnette’s first bid for Senate, though she unsuccessfully ran for U.S. House in 2020. Recent polls show her gaining momentum ahead of the May 17 primary election, and she may be emerging as the third candidate in the top tier alongside the ultra-wealthy front-runners, David McCormick and Mehmet Oz, who are flooding the airwaves with ads.

» READ MORE: Get to know the 2022 candidates for Pa. Senate and governor

What is Kathy Barnette’s background?

Barnette, 50, grew up on a pig farm in Alabama with no running water and became the first person in her family to graduate from college. She served in the U.S. Army Reserves and worked in the financial industry, then became a regular commentator on Fox News during the Obama administration.

In early 2020, Barnette published her book, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: Being Black and Conservative in America, which is about her “journey off the Democrat plantation.”

The same year, she ran for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 4th district in the Philadelphia suburbs, and was unopposed in the primary. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean won the general election by 19 points.

Barnette then undertook a futile search for voter fraud that made her a prominent figure in the national election denial movement. During a recent debate, she said there was “legal fraud” and “irregularities” in 2020, but that she “never said” she won her election.

There is no evidence of any significant fraud in Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election, or in Barnette’s race.

What are Kathy Barnette’s top policy priorities?

Barnette is running on the premise that Democrats are trying to “fundamentally change the nation” and wades often into culture war issues that have become national flashpoints. Her campaign website features a section on “critical race theory,” a graduate-level academic field of study about how race factors into American institutions that has become a catch-all term for how race is taught in schools. She calls it “neo-Jim Crow nonsense.”

She says the most important issue facing the country is election integrity, and she is strongly opposed to coronavirus-related mandates.

Barnette is antiabortion, a position she says was shaped by being the “byproduct of rape” when her mother was 11. During a recent debate, she said she believes life begins at conception and abortions should be performed only “for the absolute life of the mother.”

She says she favors a “merit-based” immigration system, and that people who enter the United States “through fraud” should be barred from obtaining legal status.

Who is backing Kathy Barnette?

Barnette’s most high-profile endorsement came early in her campaign from Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who’s well-known on the pro-Trump right and pressed the former president to use the military to overturn the 2020 election. (After the election, former President Donald Trump pardoned Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador.)

She’s also been endorsed by Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), and State Sen. Cris Dush (R., Jefferson), who chairs the committee that is pursuing a partisan investigation of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about voting in the 2022 Pennsylvania primary election

Among her most steadfast supporters is State Sen. Doug Mastriano, one of the Republican front-runners for Pennsylvania governor. Barnette and Mastriano campaign together often.

What else should I know?

Trump has endorsed Oz, but Barnette says she’s still carrying the MAGA mantle and often invokes “America First.” She has left the door open to supporting either Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024.

“MAGA does not belong to President Trump,” she said during a recent debate. “MAGA, although he coined the word, it belongs to the people. Our values never shifted to President Trump’s values. It was President Trump who shifted and aligned with our values.”