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Trump’s former ambassador to Denmark is the latest Republican to join the Pennsylvania Senate race

Carla Sands' wealth and ties to Trump and could be significant factors in a critical Republican Senate primary.

Carla Sands, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark.
Carla Sands, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark.Read moreCourtesy of the Sands campaign / les kaner

Carla Sands, the former U.S. ambassador to Denmark, launched a campaign for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, with an opening video emphasizing her “Christian values” and ties to former President Donald Trump.

“The radical left isn’t looking out for you,” Sands says in the video. “Every child should have access to an outstanding education. That’s why I will stand up to woke culture, censorship, and critical race theory.”

While Sands until recently lived in one of Los Angeles’ most exclusive neighborhoods, the video points to her childhood in Cumberland County, near Harrisburg, and depicts her amid sweeping farmland as she stresses her support for farmers and Pennsylvania’s energy economy.

“This is where Carla grew up and helped raise her brothers and sisters to have the Christian values and the servant’s heart her parents instilled in her,” a narrator says. The video prominently includes photos of her with Trump in the Oval Office and concludes with a vow to “put Pennsylvania first.”

» READ MORE: Pennsylvania Republicans have a path to victory in 2022. Pro-Trump candidates may not follow it.

Sands, 60, joins a growing field for the Republican nomination in a nationally watched race — one that could determine control of the Senate after next year’s midterm elections. The incumbent Republican, Sen. Pat Toomey, is not seeking reelection.

Other top Republicans in the 2022 primary include Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer from Montgomery County, and Sean Parnell, a former congressional candidate and Army Ranger from Allegheny County.

Sands grew up in Camp Hill, just outside Harrisburg, had a brief acting career, and worked for years as a chiropractor. She eventually settled in California and married real estate mogul Fred Sands, becoming CEO of his company, Vantage Capital, after his death in 2015.

Trump named her to his economic advisory council and then appointed her ambassador. Sands had previously hosted a major fund-raiser for Trump in her Bel-Air home and donated $100,000 to his inauguration, the kind of political support that has often paved the way for plum diplomatic appointments under presidents in both parties.

» READ MORE: What Sean Parnell, Liz Cheney, and Rudy Giuliani show about Trump’s hold on Pennsylvania Republicans

After the 2020 election, as Trump repeatedly raised false claims about voter fraud, Sands tweeted multiple times that her absentee ballot hadn’t been counted in Pennsylvania. Public records reported by the New York Times showed that it had been.

Sands has never held public office and has lived a significant part of her adult life outside Pennsylvania but, according to her tweets, changed her residence back to the state in 2020. She again lives in Camp Hill, according to her campaign.

Her ties to Trump could prove important, given his continued sway over the GOP. Sands could also potentially bring significant personal wealth to bear. Vantage Capital had more than $150 million in assets as of 2019. Sands sold her 14,700-square-foot Bel-Air home for $19.5 million that year, according to the Los Angeles Times, having previously sold a home in Malibu for almost $13.7 million.