Barnette Campaign Manager Hangs Up on Reporter After Request for Military Records

Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Kathy Barnette’s campaign manager dodges Free Beacon request for standard-issue document

May 11, 2022

Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Kathy Barnette is touting her military service on the campaign trail—but asked on Wednesday to provide basic details about that record, Barnette's campaign manager abruptly ended a phone call.

The incident is the latest in a series in which Barnette's campaign has rebuffed requests for her DD214, a standard form issued to service members when they leave the military. The form would show when Barnette served, under which branch, and the terms of her discharge.

Her failure to provide the form has raised questions from military veterans, including former Republican candidate and decorated combat veteran Sean Parnell, who dropped out of the Pennsylvania race in November.

While there is no indication that Barnette has mischaracterized her service, it is standard practice for a campaign to substantiate a candidate's claims with such government documents.

Barnette's campaign manager, Bob Gillies, ended a phone call with the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday when asked whether she will release her DD form and did not respond to subsequent text messages requesting it. Those exchanges come in the wake of a Washington Examiner report that Barnette's campaign declined to provide the document, gave vague answers about Barnette's service record, and declined to make her available for an interview.

Barnette has surged in the polls in recent days thanks to a brutal battle between the race's two frontrunners, Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick. She has made her compelling personal biography the centerpiece of her campaign, saying she overcame a hardscrabble upbringing to spend 10 years in the military and graduate college. "My life is a clear example of what is right with America," she says on her campaign site.

Barnette has posted photos of herself in military uniform on social media while disclosing few details about her service and, at times, mangling basic terms. Barnette has said in some places that she served in the U.S. Army Reserves but has also referred to her service in the "Armed Forces Reserves," a branch that does not appear to exist. Barnette has touted her acceptance into Officer Candidate School but has not said whether she actually attended.